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Phuket: Jaded rock god wakes up to life

PHUKET: Guitarist with rock band Placebo, Nick Gavrilovic, is going on 31, but says until recently he felt more like 61.

By Jody Houton

Tuesday 12 March 2013, 10:19AM

Hayden Rhodes (red shirt), functional diagnostic nutritionist to Placebo guitarist Nick Gavrilovic.

Hayden Rhodes (red shirt), functional diagnostic nutritionist to Placebo guitarist Nick Gavrilovic.

Gavrilovic tells The Phuket News that this is due to a lifestyle he has ‘enjoyed’ all his life.

“My mother worked in a pub and my father has always been in the music business, so I’ve always had that around me,” says Gavrilovic, referring to the heady mix of drink and rock ‘n’ roll.

“The people with long hair were always the men in the family, so I’m not sure what that did to my upbringing,” Gavrilovic adds, with a hesitant laugh.

It’s the first of many that occur throughout the interview, when he reveals perhaps a little too much about himself and self-consciously brings it back to a humorous and self deprecating standpoint.

Because after all, binge drinking, smoking, dabbling in drugs and having a rollicking good time is just part and parcel of being a real man in England, especially an English male rock musician. Right lads?

Well, unfortunately, it does actually appear to be that way, with over 100,000 British men dying prematurely in the UK every year. Overeating, drinking too much, smoking and a lack of exercise all contribute to, what is overall, a pretty poor level of health for the average British male. 

There is also, importantly, a British equation of hedonism with masculinity, with the expectation for rock gods to be somewhat superhuman beings, our alter egos capable of living life to the fullest.

“When I began, I was a kid touring around the world. There were girls and I had a pocketful of cash,” says the Placebo guitarist. 

From his teenage years up until a few weeks ago, he did what every English rock musician is expected to – lead a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, from gig to pub to hotel room, to airport to gig to pub.

“I never used to leave the hotel room during the day, I hated the sunlight,” says Gavrilovic.

“I used to say, ‘I’m wearing jeans that are five times too small and Cuban heels, I’m not going walking... Forget that!’”

As such, Gavrilovic would leave the hotel curtains closed and rarely ventured out, except at night.

“I’ve forgotten a lot of the places I have visited,” says Gavrilovic with that conspirational laugh again, before continuing in a slightly more serious tone. Slightly.

“I remember finding out that we were going to be playing in a bull ring and I said ‘Bull ring? That’s cool!’ Somebody said, ‘We’ve played there before – last week.’”

This proved to be one of many such episodes that led to him to seek an alternative to the way he lives.

“I came to Bangkok in October to write music and lyrics with an artist and I think during the writing process I was drinking a little too much. 

“I was supposed to be staying for just three months, but I knew that if I went back to the UK when I was supposed to, I’d be going straight to the pub and wait there until the next gig. I’d probably end up in hospital.”

So Gavrilovic called Hayden Rhodes, the health club manager at Royal Phuket Marina – who in the capacity of lifestyle coach has toured with Placebo for the last three years – to ask whether he could come to Phuket to spend a month with him. 

However, at least to begin with, making the necessary life changes was easier said than done. “At first everything Hayden was saying I just thought was hippy BS.”

However, through living with somebody who approaches and enjoys life in a vastly different manner, many of Hayden’s positive habits began to slowly and gradually rub off. 

“Through talking with Hayden I realise now that exercise has an impact in what I’m feeling.

“I used to think exercise was going to the gym, lifting as much as possible and then going to drink as much beer as possible.

“Same as eating, I used to think ’What I’m eating is having an impact on how I’m feeling? What BS. but I realise now that it does.”

So now Gavrilovic rarely drinks, eats the right food, quit smoking (the announcement of which on his Facebook account, he says, resulted in the loss of 50 followers) and wakes up early.

“The mornings are great!,” says the man who used to sleep through the entire day. 
“I’m actually enjoying touring much more now, and am noticing more now. There’s lots of beautiful women around the world you know.

“I have been hiding away, what’s that all about?”



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