Placebo put up a rollicking set at The Coliseum a few days ago. Their youngest band member, Steve Forrest, is a jack-of-all-trades. Not only is he an accomplished drummer, he is also a part-time DJ and part-time tattoo model. With so many good things going on for him, we wonder how he stays so grounded and pleasant.
Popspoken: How do you decide what tattoo to get?
Steve Forrest: There’s two things. First, there is an image in my mind which is stored in a vault. Other times I just wake up and I think to myself, I would like a light bulb. So, then OK – I get a light bulb.
My tattoos are always inspired by actual people and stuff, not just random things. Since I’m covering my whole body in tattoos, I think it’s important for it to be quite personal.
Popspoken: Which is your favourite?
Steve Forrest: I’ve got so many! I don’t think I’ve a particular favourite. That said, I really love my fingers which say ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’.
Popspoken: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Steve Forrest: There’s nothing that exciting really, I just try to watch as many bands as I can. There’s no better way to get yourself prepared than to watch other bands play to get ready for your own gig. Beforehand, I’ll stretch up my whole body completely out and put on really loud rock music like Rage Against the Machines and Deftones as loudly as I can to get all pumped up and ready to do. And BOOM – out of the door I go.
Popspoken: What’s the craziest thing a fan has done for you?
Steve Forrest: Someone got my face tattooed on their leg. That was a bit weird. They put it on twitter… and I was like, woah. Thank you it’s really flattering but do you really want my face on your leg? I don’t think I’m any special, it’s not like you’re having Elvis on or something like that. That was an oddity.
Popspoken: Which has been the most memorable gig you have played for?
Steve Forrest: There’s a few that stick out but the most special gig that tops them all is Cambodia, which is also the first show that we played together. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it but it’s in front of the Angkor Wat temple and we were the first rock band to play there. The entire audience was local, it was free and anyone in the surrounding area came.
The stars were out against the night sky and I was thinking to myself, how am I here? It’s one of those moments where you go like.. Man, I’ve a pretty cool life. It’s very special – I got very moved and nearly teared.
Popspoken: Choose a word to describe yourself.
Steve Forrest: Pleasant. I consider myself a pretty pleasant guy. I like to lead a happy life. OK wait, let me take that back — I’d say optimistic.
I’m a glass half full kind of guy. It’s how my parents raised me. I come from a very poor family with a very modest upbringing and I was always told to look at the bright side of things because things weren’t always good until I joined this band.
Popspoken: You’ve done an incredible job since you first joined Placebo, being the youngest member and all. Any future plans?
Steve Forrest: I’ve got my hands in a lot of pies. For example, a side project I front whenever we have breaks. Other times, I’m on radio shows, I DJ for events and do some modelling on the side too. I think it’s important to do many things.
I can’t stop making music, that’s the passion in my life. Fiddles, autoharps, harmonicas, old folk and country. I won’t stop making music until my body gives out.
Popspoken: What is one thing you would change about yourself?
Steve Forrest: I won’t change anything about myself. I’m really happy with who I am, really contented. I might fix my knee though – I’ve a dodgy knee. That’s about it.
Popspoken: Any pearls of wisdom for the youth out there?
Steve Forrest: Just don’t give up. If you want to do something, do it. Doesn’t matter how, just do it. People may say it’s hard but if you want something bad enough, do it. Do it with conviction. Put your whole heart and belly into it. Follow your dreams as far as you possibly can because you never know what might happen – you really don’t. That’s the way I live my life at least.
Popspoken: How has fame and fortune changed you?
Steve Forrest: I don’t think it’s changed me at all. In fact, I think it has matured me and caused me to grow up very quickly. I turn 27 in September and I was 21 when I joined this band and it has been a good thing for me. Definitely made me more well-rounded as a person, but that aside, I don’t think fame and fortune has changed me at all
Popspoken: When you say fame and fortune has “matured you” – what exactly do you mean?
Steve Forrest: Accepting your shortcomings, knowing exactly who you are and being comfortable with that. I used to freak out all the time and get bad anxiety attacks but I have since changed. Everything people said about me, I used to take it on board and try to fix it. It drove me insane; I even had a bit of a breakdown. This was 4 years ago but I’ve since learnt to relax – not to sweat the small stuff.
I’ve also learnt that it’s possible to put in hard work and focus, and with that, to be responsible with your music, body and life – and just growing up in general.
Time is short. Jesus, I’m only 27. It’s time to stop caring about the bullshit. I just want to start being happy and enjoy what I do. I get to make music for a living so there’s really not much to be upset about.
Popspoken: If there’s one person you would resurrect from the dead, who would it be?
Steve Forrest: Kurt Cobain, even though he’ll probably be a cynical mid-40s bastard now. He’s still inspiring people now. To me, he’s one of the last legends and I think he’s better than he gives himself credit for. I really wish that he were still around.
Thanks to Universal Music for making this interview possible. All images in this post are credited to Popspoken.