Steve Hewitt (Manchester, 1971) plays drums in Placebo, one of the U.K.'s thought provoking bands. He is one of those drummers who play with power and sensitivity and rhythmically injects into the performance exactly what the song needs. Being a resident member of Placebo, Steve's rhythmic emotional approach, treatment and execution of the bands songwriting justifies him as a valid member of Placebo - a true musician. Previously he had played with Electric Crayons, K-Klass, Mystic Deckchairs, The Boo Radleys, and Breed.
Steve Hewitt grew up near Manchester in Northwich, home to Tim Burgess of the Charlatans. Steve actually played with Burgess for a time in the Electric Crayons. He also featured in a band called the Mystic Deckchairs. At seventeen he saw an advert in Afflecks Palace: 'Genius duo require drummer for German tour'. He duly joined Breed, toured Germany and left to join the Boo Radleys on a temporary basis. After recording the Boo Radleys debut album he was again gigging frantically leaving Breed on the back seat for eighteen months.
Simultaneously, Steve Hewitt was playing with then happening dance outfit K-Klass, who scored five top 40 hits from 91-94. In time, Steve found himself being sucked into the London session work, doing the music for car adverts. Back then, money was always a factor. And money was the knife that slit Breeds throat. They came off Nick Caves "let Love In" tour (where Steve developed a friendship with The Bad Seed drummer Thomas Wylder), devastated to discover that they were still nobodies. This was after six years together, two of those spent touring with Cave. Following a dismal, disastrous gig at the Bull and gate, Breed called it a day.
With a pregnant girlfriend and no musical work forthcoming, Steve Hewitt was forced to get a job as a forklift truck driver. "I had to get back into music again," he decided, "I canít function without playing" Today, aged 26, Steve doesnít have to worry about jacking in his day job. In the past heís been a joiner and an apprentice building racing cars for Williams; he even did a stint at Dougieís Music store in Northwich.
Steve Hewitt became a drummer because one of the kids at school asked him to. His first gig was a school assembly at Weaversham High, playing Fleetwood Macís "Albatross". He didnít even have a foot pedal.
A self taught player, at seventeen he was already teaching others, working out of Dougieís store. Steveís elder brother was a rock fan, so Steve loved AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Dio. Later he got into more indie-inclined likes of The Smiths and The Wonderstuff, along with the obligatory weed smoking Pink Floyd interludes.
In terms of sound and style, Steve Hewitt has taken Placeboís recorded drum tracks and built on them. "I listened to the first Placebo LP," he says, "and I thought Robert was technically a good drummer, but in terms of feel and groove it felt like he was fighting it. Iíve just sorted out the tempos really, on the stuff that was done before I joined, and just put more groove, more feel in it. Made it less uptight."
Note: It was actually Steve Hewitt who played on the very first ever Placebo demos, along with Brian and Stefan. Other commitments prevented him from joining the band back then, but that's a long story.
When previous sticksman Robert Schultzberg was forced to leave Placebo, Steve Hewitt was the first drummer to be phoned by Brian who had placed Steve at the top of a list of three. ' I sat in my bedroom with my practice kit for two weeks and learnt the LP', Steve recalls ' Then we had one and a half days rehearsal before touring thirteen countries in four months!'.