The band's glam sheen and often racy lyrics have led no less than David Bowie to not only rave about the band but also to do a duet on record and on stage with Placebo.
It all started on "Placebo," which is now reissued in a double-disc set by Astralwerks Records. The high-energy disc lacks the grace of the band's later work -- the sublime "Lady of the Flowers" excepted -- but it deftly captures the band's searing power and nascent skill. The songs were even better than they seemed -- as we learned from later, slower versions of "Teenage Angst" and "36 Degrees."
The original 10-track disc is augmented with five b-sides an previously unreleased demos. Disc 2 is a DVD with TV appearances, videos and live footage (from all eras) that feature songs from the debut LP.
After the release of "Placebo" everything changed. The band switched drummers and the music got both more and less subtle -- depending on the song -- and a new Placebo disc was greeted with obsessive spins on this music fan's CD player.
"Lyrically, Brian is writing deeply evocative and darkly slithering things, quite scary and brilliantly supported by the band's music," Bowie is quoted in the reissue's booklet. "I think Placebo are now possibly one of the best three-piece bands in the world."
Amen, Ziggy, amen.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.