This Saturday pop legends The Pet Shop Boys are headlining the main stage at Brighton Pride. It’s going to be a full live show, the same as their current Super Tour. The guys are also releasing remastered versions of their older albums. Dave Cross talked to Neil Tennant about all this and more.
Hi Neil, how much are you looking forward to playing at Brighton Pride?
Very much. We’re expecting a huge party.
What can we expect from you on the night, are you planning anything special?
It is the Super production that started last July at the Royal Opera House in London. We hope that’s special enough!
How is the Super Tour going?
We’re really enjoying it and getting great audiences. Last year we did South and North America and some European dates. We toured the UK in February and now we’re criss-crossing Europe, playing festivals, arenas, theatres with the occasional couple of days off in a sunny location. It’s a great way to spend the summer. We have three young musicians on stage with us who are fun to tour with and our German production manager travels with a barbecue which comes in handy when you’re hungry after a show.
When you and Chris started did you think that live work would become such a big thing for you?
No. We started off as songwriters dreaming of making a 12-inch dance record and, once we’d achieved that, we’ve just taken it step by step. We always had ambitions to create shows that had strong theatrical elements and we’ve worked with some very talented directors and designers to create a kind of pop/dance musical theatre. We’re currently in our “banging and lasers” period.
All thirteen of your albums have been top 10, including Super going top 3, which is a remarkable achievement, how important is chart success still to you?
It’s important in that it shows that some people are still interested in what we’re doing…
You were responsible for some of the best pop singles of the past 30 years, but the singles chart has changed completely now, what are your thoughts on that?
Everything changes. Get over it.
Your older albums are being remastered and reissued, is it important to you that your catalogue is treated with respect?
We’re treating both our back catalogue and our fans with respect. Reassessing the entire Parlophone back catalogue also makes us realise how prolific we’ve been when all the b-sides, bonus tracks and mixes are collected. These reissues are a definitive collection of our 27 years on Parlophone.
You are playing Brighton Pride, why do you think it’s still important to have Prides and to support them?
Yes, it’s easy to be blasé but Pride is a celebration of freedom and what it took to achieve it. It’s nice that so many straight people want to take part as well.
It’s 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, and it’s being marked by TV programmes, exhibitions and at events like Pride, do you think this is important?
Yes, but I don’t think we should forget all the gay men who were prosecuted after the partial decriminalisation (or those who were prosecuted before). It was a very limited decriminalisation but, happily, the beginning of a long political process to achieve full equality.
How do you think that you and Chris, your music and imagery have helped to break down barriers about sexuality?
It’s not really for us to say. We’ve just followed our own instincts and interests.