Placebo on why they may never play ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Pure Morning’ ever again

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"I don't think that they're my best songwriting"

Despite them being two of the band’s most seminal and popular tracks, Placebo have warned that they may never play ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Pure Morning’ ever again after their current tour.

The band have just kicked off the UK leg of their 20th anniversary tour, and have been treating fans to more of a ‘greatest hits’ set than usual. Speaking to NME, frontman Brian Molko said that they were surprised at how much they were enjoying airing some seldom-played songs.

“It’s actually been quite cool,” Molko told NME. “We’d exhumed ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Pure Morning’ and decided to play those. It’s highly likely that we won’t play them again, or you might have to wait another 10 years. The thing is that we thought it would be a real drag, but the sheer joy that we see every night coming back from the audience makes it worth it.”

Placebo's Brian Molko live

Placebo’s Brian Molko live

Asked about why the band had felt such a reluctance towards performing the tracks in the past, Molko replied: “Well, I just don’t think that they’re my best songwriting. I think that they’re quite naive. I like the music for ‘Pure Morning’, but I’m not very keen on the lyrics. We did it during a b-sides session and we never really thought it would be a single. I just knocked out some lyrics really quickly and didn’t pay too much attention. If I’d have known it was going to be a single I probably would have spent a bit more time on the lyrics.

“We don’t want to go on stage and perform a mechanical act – we want to go on stage and speak our truth. We need to have an emotional connection to the material that we’re playing and we really need to believe in it in order for us to be able to play it. That’s more important for us, than making the audience happy. We’re only interested in performance as a conduit to speak our truth. If there’s no emotional connection to the song then it’s very difficult for us to play it.”

He added: “What’s happened on this tour, is that the emotional connection is coming from the audience. We’re feeling so much love, and joy from the audience with these songs that it’s actually a blast.”

  • Check back at NME soon for more of our exclusive interview with Placebo

Meanwhile, Molko also told us about the impact of losing ‘friend and mentor’ David Bowie, as well as progress on their ‘career-suicide’ new album, and how more needs to be done to break the stigma around discussing depression and mental health.

Placebo tour and tickets

The band’s upcoming UK and Ireland 20th anniversary tour dates are below. Tickets are available here.

OCTOBER
Tuesday 10 – Doncaster Dome 
Wednesday 11 – Manchester Albert Hall
Friday 13 – Reading Rivermead 
Saturday 14 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena 
Monday 16 – Portsmouth Guildhall 
Tuesday 17 – Swindon Oasis 
Friday 20 – Plymouth Pavilions 
Saturday 21 – Wolverhampton Civic Hall 
Monday 23 – London O2 Brixton Academy 
Tuesday 24 – London O2 Brixton Academy