Placebo’s Brian Molko on cross-dressing: ‘The idea was to make homophobes want to f**k me’

However, things got a little hairy at one Weezer gig...

Placebo frontman Brian Molko has discussed his cross-dressing past – revealing that his intention was to make homophobes question their attitudes.

When the band first broke in the mid-90s with their huge landmark single ‘Nancy Boy’, their reputation spread as an act questioning gender norms and preconceptions of sexuality, largely due to the band’s androgynous image.

“My intention was never really to shock,” Molko told Kerrang. “The cross-dressing was more of a political act. We were trying to challenge the homophobia that we’d witnessed in the music scene. Basically, I wanted anybody who was slightly homophobic in the audience to look at me and go, ‘ooh, she’s hot. I’d like to fuck her’, before realising that ‘her’ name was Brian, and then have to ask themselves a few questions about, shall we say, the fluidity of sexuality itself.

“It was an aesthetic choice, but it was also a political act.”

However, things took a slightly violent turn when the band were on tour in support of Weezer.

“It was weird, because we did used to get quite a bit of abuse at the beginning. It was paradoxical to me because I’d think, ‘why buy a ticket to come here and abuse me?’ But I enjoyed the experience. No matter how much abuse I got, I was the one with the microphone, and I always came out on top.

“The thing that hurt the most was being ‘coined’ in the States. We were on tour opening for Weezer, and their audience at one gig were throwing coins at us. That really fucking hurts, man. But at the end of the gig, we gathered up all the coins onstage, went out and bought a round of drinks.”

Placebo's Brian Molko live in 1998

Placebo’s Brian Molko live in 1998

As the band gear up to conclude their 20th anniversary ‘greatest hits’ tour, Molko also told us about the impact of losing ‘friend and mentor’ David Bowie, as well as progress on their ‘career-suicide’ new album, why they ‘may never play ‘Nancy Boy’ or ‘Pure Morning‘ ever again, and how more needs to be done to break the stigma around discussing depression and mental health.

The band have also shared the following message about gigs cancelled due to illness.

The band’s final UK tour dates are at Brixton Academy on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 October.