Brian Molko

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"Molko" redirects here. For the 16th century Jewish Messiah claimant, see Solomon Molcho.
Brian Molko
Brian Molko in the European Parliament.jpg
Brian Molko performing at the European Parliament in Brussels in 2010.
Background information
Born (1972-12-10) 10 December 1972 (age 41)
Brussels, Belgium
Origin Dundee, Scotland
Genres Alternative rock
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, harmonica, saxophone, percussion, drums
Years active 1994–present
Labels EMI, Virgin, Hut, Caroline, PIAS (current)
Associated acts Placebo
Website www.placeboworld.co.uk
Notable instruments
Fender Jaguar
Gibson SG
Fender Telecaster Thinline
Gretsch Duo Jet
Fender Cyclone
Fender Toronado
Gibson Les Paul Custom

Brian Molko (born 10 December 1972) is a Scottish-American musician, songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist of the band Placebo. He is known in particular for his nasal, high-pitched vocals, androgynous appearance, and unique, Sonic Youth-influenced guitar style and tuning.

Early life[edit]

Molko was born in Brussels, Belgium to a Jewish American father of French-Italian heritage[1] and a Scottish Catholic mother. Molko has one older brother, 10 years his senior, named Stuart.[2] Molko's family moved frequently during his childhood, growing up in Dundee, Liberia, Lebanon, and Belgium, where they eventually settled for quite a long time in the village of Longeau, just near to the border with Luxembourg, where the young Brian spent a lot of his childhood.[3] This also explained his ability to speak perfect French. Brian Molko has referred to a period spent in his mother's home town of Dundee, Scotland, as "where I grew up".[4]

While Molko was brought up in a strict household that disapproved of artistic expression (his father wanted him to become a banker), he rebelled by assuming an androgynous image, wearing nail polish, lipstick, and eyeliner, and listening to punk music. Molko initially attended the European School of Luxembourg but had to leave due to excessive bullying;[5] he later attended the American International School of Luxembourg (AISL)[6] and went on to study drama at Goldsmiths College in London.[7]

Career[edit]

Molko on guitar with Placebo in Lyon, November 2009.

Molko and Stefan Olsdal had both attended AISL (though they were never friends);[8] when Molko moved to London, he ran into Olsdal at South Kensington tube station and invited him to one of his gigs in a club, which he played with Steve Hewitt.[8]

Along with Hewitt and Olsdal, he had a role in the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine,[9] for which Placebo performed the T. Rex song "20th Century Boy". He played Malcolms, a singer of the fictional glam rock band, The Flaming Creatures, who resembled the early Alice Cooper band.

During Placebo's live performances, Brian has played a number of instruments: guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, harmonica and saxophone. However, he currently plays only guitars live.

Drugs[edit]

Molko has been open about his use of recreational drugs; in a 1997 interview with New York Doll, he admitted at one point that heroin was "probably the only drug on this planet I haven't tried".[10] However, he later admitted to using heroin as well.[11] The band holds that the drug references within their music reflect the nature of current times, and the removal of such references would deteriorate the meaningfulness of their work.[12][13][14] In a 2010 interview Molko said that the band had stopped using drugs.[15]

Personal life[edit]

In October 2005 Molko announced that his then-partner, photographer Helena Berg, had given birth to a boy, Cody. In June 2009, he stated in an interview that he was a "single father."[16] Molko is bisexual.[17]

In December 2012, Molko received an Honorary Fellowship from Goldsmiths College, University of London. His parents attended the ceremony.[18]

Molko, Y'know? #MolkoFourOh[edit]

On 10 December 2012 Molko turned 40 years old. In the month leading up to this event the worldwide Placebo fan base rallied together to show their appreciation for the singer. The Molko, Y'know? #MolkoFourOh project was a viral campaign run primarily via Twitter and Tumblr; it involved spreading the slogan and hashtag as far around the globe as possible, both on and offline. Fans were so effective in their actions that on 28 November 2012 Molko revealed in an on air radio interview with XFM that he had become aware of the campaign, even stating, "I'm quite touched by it really".[19] On the singer's 40th birthday an 'interactive digital letter' was sent to Molko detailing the enormousness of the project stating that the campaign spanned 7 continents, 56 countries and over 2,000 photographs were collected in a special gallery on the band's official forum. On 12 December 2012 Molko issued a heartfelt letter to fans in response to the Molko, Y'know? #MolkoFourOh campaign.[20]

Collaborations[edit]

He has performed, as a guest vocalist and with other artists on Placebo's records, on tracks by:

He also wrote the English lyrics to "Pink Water 3", a song by Indochine from the album Alice & June, released in 2005.[citation needed] Molko is friends with David Bowie, with whom he sang on Placebo's "Without You I'm Nothing"[21] and the "20th Century Boy" cover live.

Equipment[edit]

Molko uses a variety of guitars. In the Sleeping With Ghosts era, he used Gibson SGs ("The Bitter End", "Every You Every Me", "Plasticine", "Black-Eyed", "Without You I'm Nothing", "Special K", "Bulletproof Cupid", "Soulmates", "Special Needs", "This Picture"), Fender Jaguars ("Allergic", "Nancy Boy", "Bionic", "Centrefolds"), a Fender Thinline Telecaster ("Taste in Men"), a Fender Jazzmaster ("Pure Morning"), and a Fender Bass VI ("Slave to the Wage"). For amplification he used a Fender Twin Reverb.[citation needed]

Through the Meds tour, he used Gretsch Duo Jets ("Infra-Red", "Because I Want You", "Song to Say Goodbye", "One of a Kind", "The Bitter End", "Running Up that Hill", "Special K"), Gibson SGs ("Special Needs", "Every You Every Me", "Black-Eyed", "Without You I'm Nothing"), a Fender Jaguar ("Drag", "Nancy Boy", "I Know"), a Fender Thinline Telecaster ("Twenty Years", "Taste in Men"), and a Gibson Chet Atkins SST ("Meds"). Once again his amplifier was a Fender Twin Reverb.

In the Battle for the Sun tour, he still used Gretsch Duo Jets ("Devil in the Details", "Come Undone", "Follow The Cops Back Home"), a Gibson SG ("Bright Lights"), Fender Cyclone ("Ashtray Heart", "The Never-Ending Why", "Breathe Underwater", "Teenage Angst"), a Gibson Les Paul ("For What It's Worth", "Speak in Tongues", "Julien", "Meds"), a Fender Telecaster Thinline ("Kitty Litter"), and a Fender Toronado ("Battle for the Sun").[citation needed] His pedalboard consisted of a Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner, Electro Harmonix Holy Grail reverb, MXR Phase 90 phaser, two Electro Harmonix Hot Tubes distortion units, Boss DD-3 delay, MXR Distortion + booster, MG Monovibe chorus/vibrato, Electro Harmonix No. 1 Echo delay and a Radial Loopbone effect chain switcher.

In 2010, he signed an endorsement contract to use Orange amps.[22]

Filmography[edit]

Appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brians Molko". TV.com. CNET Networks Entertainment. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Brian Molko sends his regards to his brother Stuart". 19 September 2003. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "Extra info about Brian". brian-molko.com. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2011. [unreliable source?][dead link]
  4. ^ "NME interview with Placebo". NME/PlaceboWorld. Archived from the original on 15 April 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "FHM interview with Brian Molko". FHM/PlaceboWorld. Archived from the original on 25 January 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Role Reversal". Sessions. May 2012. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Boy Can't Help It". Guitarist/PlaceboWorld. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Brian Molko's biography". brian-molko.com. Retrieved 20 September 2009. [unreliable source?][dead link]
  9. ^ "Velvet Goldmine (1998) – Full cast and crew". IMDB. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Kerrigan, Kerrang Interview, New York Doll, archived from the original on 30 January 2008, retrieved 20 December 2006 
  11. ^ I Thought I Was Good at Handling Pussy, Select Magazine, archived from the original on 24 March 2008, retrieved 15 April 2007 
  12. ^ "Funny Mexican Placebo Interview part 1". YouTube. 3 October 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "Funny Mexican Placebo Interview part 2". YouTube. 3 October 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Funny Mexican Placebo Interview part 3". YouTube. 3 October 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "juice interview". Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Placebo – Brian Molko interview at Gloria Theatre in Cologne 3rd of June 2009". Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  17. ^ West, Dave. "Molko: I wish I kept quiet on sexuality". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Brian Molko receives Honorary Fellowship at Goldsmiths". 19 December 2012. 
  19. ^ Molko, Y'know? Tumblr. "Molko, Y'know? On XFM". Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  20. ^ Placeboworld.co.uk. "Brian Molko #MolkoFourOh". Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "Placebo with David Bowie Chat Transcript – 29/3/99". BowieWonderworld.com. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Orange Amps Signs Over 110 New Endorsees". Ultimate Guitar. 

External links[edit]