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Tue, Mar 16, 2010
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Pinning down the 15-year Placebo effect

By SUJIN THOMAS

AT JUST 23 years of age, Steve Forrest is the young blood and newest member of revered alternative- rock trio Placebo. But he had no idea who Placebo were until 2007, when his former band, Evaline, opened for the famous British rockers.

Yes, he tells my paper from Sydney, Australia, where Placebo were touring recently, he even thought lead androgynous singer Brian Molko, 37, was a girl.

He recalls: "My tour manager played a Placebo CD and I said, 'This chick's cool. She has a really good voice'."

It was only later, when Forrest met Molko in person, that he realised Molko is a guy.

Despite that embarrassing first encounter, Forrest quit Evaline four months later after hearing of Placebo drummer Steve Hewitt's departure in late 2007.

After sending the band a video resume of his work, he was invited to go to London to "hang out and jam" with them.

He says: "I went there and learnt all their albums in two months. I had everything down. Everything changed from that moment. It was wicked, man."

The California native joined the band, which was formed in 1994, in 2008.

And, now, he has no hang-ups over living up to his bandmates' 15-year-old reputation (over 10 million albums sold, with hits behind them such as Every You Every Me and For What It's Worth).

He says: "The (only) pressure I feel is having to conduct myself on and off stage as a 15-year veteran, which I'm not."

He cites frontman Molko and bassist Stefan Olsdal, 35, as his "best friends in the universe".

The band is performing here in support of their 2009 sixth studio album, Battle For The Sun.

It will be their second time here since performing at MTV's Fashionably Loud catwalk extravaganza held at Ngee Ann City for the Singapore Fashion Festival in 2006.

Here's bad news for fans: On their current tour, Forrest says that the band have retired from playing crowd favourites Pure Morning and Nancy Boy.

"They're songs that are so overplayed, they (Molko and Olsdal) cannot stand to do them anymore," says Forrest with a sigh.

Almost half their set will be material from their latest album, but Forrest assures fans that they will hear some classic material as well.

"The whole gig will show good dynamics from where the band was and where the band is."

Asked about the future of the band, he says: "I hope we go for another 10 to 15 years. It would be a shame if we didn't."

myp@sph.com.sg

Placebo will perform at Fort Canning Park at 8pm on Thursday. Tickets at $101 (includes $3 booking fee) and $113 (on event day) are available at Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg, tel: 6348-5555). Those with Big Night Out and Paramore ticket stubs can get $10 off their Placebo ticket.


For more my paper stories click here.

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