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Placebo on pushing sexuality and gender boundaries in the 90s: ‘We rebelled’

"It was very, very important for us to not be ashamed" says Brian Molko.

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Chuffmedia

Placebo have reflected on pushing sexuality and gender boundaries in the 90s, with frontman Brian Molko admitting: “We rebelled.”

The band – also comprised of bassist–guitarist Stefan Olsda – are known for hits including ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Pure Morning’ and have sold 13 million albums worldwide.

The guys were, and are, known for their approach to gender-fluid style; the latest press shots ahead of upcoming album Never Let Me Go feature Molko in his trademark eyeliner.

“We couldn’t do it without going onstage in a dress”

In a new interview with The Guardian, Molko said: “We did what we could within the framework that existed. And we rebelled against the framework that existed. It’s much, much more complex now. But if just by being ourselves in the 90s, we made people feel less alone – if we managed to, in any way whatsoever, increase the potential and capacity for freedom just by 1% – then we’ve achieved something.”

He added: “We were just kids who just wanted to make music. But we couldn’t do it without going onstage in a dress, without talking about our sexuality. It was very, very important for us to not be ashamed.

“And inadvertently, hopefully, we perhaps created something within people who listened to us where they felt that the necessity for shame was decreased.”

Olsda added: “We had a great opportunity to let parts of us show that we hadn’t up to that point in our lives. We got the confidence to show the world who we were.”

Never Let Me Go is out in March 2022.

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