Rock Lit: Placebo Cops Inspiration From James Frey’s Controversial Memoir
The inspiration for a song on Placebo’s latest album, Loud Like Love, comes from an unlikely place: James Frey’s controversial account of drug addiction that drew headlines for its falsified passages. For frontman Brian Molko, the book tapped into something he wanted to pursue musically. And it’s not the first time the musician has used his interest in reading to inspire a song.
Molko has released seven albums with Placebo since their self-titled 1996 debut and often takes a literary approach to songwriting. The band’s new disc, which recently came out via Universal, extends their lengthy and darkly moody discography, exploring serious subject matter like drug addiction. For Molko, books are a way to tap into new ways of expressing ideas and aid songwriting by learning new words and turns of phrase.
The songwriter and musician spoke with Hive about his experience with books, what sort of literature he prefers and just why he’s so compelled by James Frey.