Born to an American international banker father and a Scottish mother, Brian Molko's family moved frequently during his childhood, including spells in Scotland, Liberia, Lebanon and Luxembourg. Molko has referred to his mother's home town of Dundee, Scotland as "where I grew up". He attended Goldsmiths College in London, where he studied drama. He describes his childhood as a period when he felt very lonely and alienated. He started to wear make-up at the age of 11. He was an actor in a school drama theater.
While Molko was brought up in a strict household that disapproved of artistic expression (his father wanted him to become a banker) he rebelled by affecting an androgynous image, wearing nail polish, lipstick and eyeliner, and listening to punk and glam rock. In his late teens, he came out as bisexual.
Molko and Stefan Olsdal both attended the International School of Luxembourg in Luxembourg, but they were never friends. When Molko moved to London to study drama at Goldsmiths College, where he graduated with a degree, he met Olsdal at South Kensington Tube Station. Molko invited Olsdal to one of his gigs in a club, which he played with Steve Hewitt. Olsdal was impressed with Molko's voice, and together they formed Ashtray Heart; eventually they changed the name to Placebo. Together with drummer Robert Schultzberg (a friend of Olsdal's from Sweden) performed together in 1996. Schultzberg did not fit in the band, however, and was soon replaced with Steve Hewitt, who played on Placebo's demo tracks.
Molko's musical influences include David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Dead Kennedys, Bad Religion, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Nick Drake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joy Division, The Cure and The Pixies. Molko taught himself to play guitar. At the age of 16 he got a Telecaster replica as a present from his parents. Soon After, he bought a real telecaster. He plays other instruments such as bass, harmonica, keyboard, saxophone, drums and turntables. Occasionally, Molko works as a disc jockey at clubs, he's definately not very good at it. Nowadays Molko listens to electro-clash artist Peaches, his old favourite, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and many others.
Along with Hewitt and Olsdal, he had a small role in the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine, for which Placebo performed the T. Rex song 20th Century Boy. He played Malcolm, a singer of the fictional glam rock band, The Flaming Creatures.
In 2005, Molko's long-term partner, Helena Berg, gave birth to his first child, Cody. He said he named the child after his long-time friend who died in a car accident.
He has performed as a guest vocalist on tracks by:
Timo Maas - Pictures, Like Siamese and First Day
Alpinestars - Carbon Kid
Trash Palace - The Metric System, Je t'aime, moi non plus (duet with Asia Argento)
the AC Acoustics - Crush
Kristeen Young - No Other God
Dream City Film Club - Some
Jane Birkin - Smile.
He also wrote the English lyrics to 'Pink water' version 3, a song by Indochine from the album that is due to be released at the end of 2006. Molko is friends with David Bowie, with whom he sang Placebo's Without You I'm Nothing and 20th Century Boy live. He has used a Fender Jaguar, Fender Thinline Telecaster, Gibson SG in the past and currently plays Gretsch guitars .
He lives in London but frequently travels to Paris.
The April 17th, 2007 Placebo show in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Sokol Auditorium was canceled after Molko was rushed to the emergency room after fighting flu symptoms for a number of days. The band has promised to re-schedule that show near the end of the summer.
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