Soundtrack Of My Life: Placebo’s Brian Molko

It’s him from Placebo

The first gig I went to


“It was in a field in Belgium. I was 11 years old and living in Luxembourg. My brother was 21 at the time, and he took me along. During the gig I was so small that I made myself to the front and scaled over the barriers. I spent the gig hanging out with security. It was my first experience of rock’n’roll. They were basically the biggest French rock band in the ’80s. I was pretty blown away.”

The song that changed my life


Sonic Youth – ‘Dirty Boots’

“Me and my buddy Nick were 16, he came over to mine, we smoked a joint, turned the lights out and put ‘Goo’ on. I’d been playing guitar for about three years, but my entire perception of what was possible for what could be done with electric guitar changed that day. It opened up an entire new universe of possibilities. Sonic Youth remain possibly my biggest influence to this day. They’re the greatest rock’n’roll band of all time.”

The first song I remember hearing

Claude François – ‘Alexandrie Alexandra’

“He’s a French artist who died mysteriously, changing a light bulb while he was taking a bath. He was quite a pioneer. It’s a disco tune, but this came out in the early ’80s, possibly late ’70s. He had a special dance that used to go along with this song. Part of it involved putting your hand on your ass and jiggling it around. In a way it was a form of primitive twerking. I’d do the dance for my parents and my brother.”

The song that made me want to perform


PJ Harvey – ‘Sheela-Na-Gig’

“It came when I was leaving university. It felt kind of raw and visceral. The record itself sounds so unproduced and so real. I fell completely in love with Polly Harvey and became obsessed with her music.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Nina Simone – ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’

“It’s the one song in the world that I identify with the most. If you listen to the lyrics, that’s me.”

The song that I can no longer listen to

The National – ‘I Need My Girl’

“There have been many over the last 20 years. Recently though, I decided ‘f**k this’ and set myself a challenge to psychologically and emotionally steal back these songs from exes. It works. The most recent one is ‘I Need My Girl’ by The National.”

The first album I bought

Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’

“I bought it at John Menzies in Dundee in ’82 with my mum. I would have been 10 years old. I was really obsessed with ‘Beat It’, more than the title track. ‘Thriller’ was the golden age of Michael.”

The first song I fell in love with

Leonard Cohen – ‘Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye’

“I was brokenhearted, I’d been dumped. Back at school that was a really big deal – the end of the world. I’d just bought Cohen’s greatest hits on cassette. This came on and something really magical happened. It was a transcendental experience. I was the song. I remember falling to the ground, bursting into tears and crying for about 20 minutes.”

Placebo are currently on tour in the UK, celebrating 20 years together

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