PUBLISHED IN THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR IN 1990

 

TORONTO - It seems that people love to break up and make up to the music of THE PET SHOP BOYS.

 

"We were in North Carolina on a radio show," CHRIS LOWE, one half of the dynamic synthesizer-based studio duo recounted in his Toronto hotel suite last week. "And a woman phoned in who said she and her husband had broken up over `What Have I Done To Deserve This.' They were talking about a divorce and met in a restaurant for a talk, when `Heart' came over the radio. She said it rekindled old sentiments and they got back together. And this was all live over the air!"

It seems there are always a few surprises for Lowe and his partner NEIL TENNANT, who have dominated the pop charts ever since they scored a major hit four years ago with their first release, "West End Girls."

 

"We wrote `West End Girls' in about four hours," said Lowe, a former architect student. "And when we recorded the first version with (dance producer) BOBBY ORLANDO, we hadn't even been inside a studio before."

The first version of "West End Girls" topped the British independent record charts, and won them a contract with EMI Records in London. They recently released their third album, Introspective,  which contains an extended mix of their reworking of "Always On My Mind" - originally recorded as a tribute to ELVIS PRESLEY.

"We were asked to participate on this television tribute to Elvis," said Lowe, 24. "They asked lots of other artists, and we were all allowed to choose our own songs. It just so happens that the era of Elvis Presley's music I liked was his Las Vegas period - stuff like `My Way' and `Suspicious Minds.' We produced it ourselves and thought it was fantastic, so we decided to release it as a single."

Upcoming plans include the possibility of seeing the very first Pet Shop Boys concert tour - but you'll have to wait until the next album.

"We've kind of promised our record company in America that we'll do a tour for the next album," says Lowe. "I think it's a move we want to do, because our lives are become very routine. We work in a vacuum of making an album, and then going on a promotional tour. By playing live, at least we'd be promoting on a different slant."

Lowe said the duo came awfully close to touring with last year's album, Please  - even going as far as to book some venues.

"We had choreography and there was going to be a set change halfway through the show, like a mini-opera," said Lowe. "But the cost was just ridiculous. We were going to lose about a million pounds worldwide - and at that stage we couldn't afford to do it.

"Our problem is that we wanted to do small venues, because we didn't want to play large arenas of 70,000 where nobody could see anything. And the simplest thing would be to get a backing band and get computerized Vari-lites and go out on the road, but we don't want to do that.

"We're not great fans of live music. You have the excitement before the concert, and then the curtain goes up and the song starts - and then after awhile, the excitement drops off. We want to do something different."

Lowe said the reason the Eurodisco chemistry between himself and Tennant works so well is their appreciation of music.

"We're fans of pop music and dance music," said Lowe. "That's what the Pet Shop Boys is actually - dance music, but a good pop tune. Neil usually writes his songs on guitar, but I was always interested in disco records - and a lot of songs that I like occur when the bass line is the main hook of the song."

Apart from a handful of catchy hits like " Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)," " It's A Sin" and "One More Chance" - the Pet Shop Boys are also known for resurrecting a few careers. They persuaded DUSTY SPRINGFIELD to come out of retirement to sing "What Have I Done To Deserve This?," and have written songs with people as diverse as Italian film composer ENNIO MORRICONE.

Who's the next person on their hit list?

"I think we're going to be writing and producing a pop album for LIZA MINNELLI," said Lowe.

The same actress/singer that's currently managed by GENE SIMMONS - better known as the lead tongue of cartoon rock band KISS?

Lowe is surprised.

"Oh, you know about that? Well, we figure it's quite an interesting combination - The Pet Shop Boys, Liza Minnelli and Gene Simmons. One of the reasons we work with people is because we like them - and she's never made a pop record before. She's genuinely excited.

"And of course, what we'd like to do is a Cabaret record - but that's out of the question."

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

1985 -- Please

1986 -- Disco -- The Remix Album

1987 -- Actually

1988 -- Introspective

1990 -- Behavior

1991 -- Discography...The Complete Singles

1993 -- Very

1994 -- Relentless

1994 -- Disco 2

1995 -- Alternative

1996 -- Bilingual

1998 -- Essential...

1999 -- Nightlife

 

©1988, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink

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