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Music

Placebo on how David Bowie "taught me how to be a better person"

@notmyyaztattoo

Formed in London in 1994, the English rock band Placebo has gone through plenty of changes, both musical and personal. From their early days of glam-rock and their breakthrough hit ‘Nancy Boy’, which was a gender-bending anthem that set them apart from the rest, it’s easy to draw the Bowie comparison right away.

Upon releasing their first studio album in nearly a decade, the band’s frontman Brian Molko said, “After playing your most radio-friendly material for two and a half years, it’s not too unimaginable to think that someone would want to go off and make something that sounded more like ‘Metal Machine Music’ by Lou Reed or ‘Yeezus’ by Kanye: something more extreme, more brutal, experimental that explores the darker recesses of our emotional landscape.”

And it seems that this is just what the band has done, with Never Let Me Go, their 2022 album, coming “full circle” as they’d say about their endeavour. 

When speaking to his identity as an artist, he had a point to make, which wrapped around to one of their major inspirations. “We don’t say too much, so there isn’t an over-saturation of nonsense. People aren’t distracted by what we had for dinner. When we do speak, people listen closer.”

This was something they learned well from David Bowie, a champion of Placebo from the early days, inviting them on tour and collaborating with them on the 1998 collaborative track ‘Without You I’m Nothing’.

He continues, “This may sound like a grandiose statement, but it’s true. David taught me how to be a better person, but it took his passing for me to really reflect on it. When it was happening, I was far too arrogant and far too drunk to notice the real impact of what was going on. The thing with David was that he treated everyone who he came into contact with with the same dignity, kindness and humanity – it didn’t matter what your status was. You could be the waiter or Johnny Cash. You’d get the same amount of respect. That’s really David’s legacy for me.”

It simply goes to show that David Bowie’s legacy stretches on in so many ways, even beyond his iconic music, and Placebo continues to carry that with them.

You can listen to Placebo’s 2022 album, Never Let Me Go, below, available on all streaming platforms.