Album News — March 15, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Johnny Marr interviews Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys

Today’s London Observer features an interview of the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe by Johnny Marr, who’s played on a number of PSB albums, and also collaborated with Tennant and Lowe on his post-Smiths Electronic project with New Order’s Bernard Sumner.

In addition to playing in Modest Mouse and UK act The Cribs, Marr found time to lend his guitar playing to the Pet Shop Boys’ latest album, Yes, which arrives March 24.

For the Observer Q&A, Marr asked about subjects ranging from living in Britain to the nature of pop and art, as well as Electronic’s nerve-wracking live debut — opening for Depeche Mode’s World Violation Tour at the cavernous Dodger Stadium in 1990.

Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

Johnny Marr: What was the best, the ’80s or the ’90s?

Neil Tennant: Obviously I’m going to say the ’80s. It goes in pop terms, from Adam Ant and the Human League to Stock, Aitken and Waterman, which is why we are placed right in the middle of that, quite rightly. And then it goes from Planet Rock to rave to A Guy Called Gerald. Now the ’90s goes from Massive Attack, to… what? The big year of Manchester was 1989 so I’m afraid it belongs to the ’80s.

Chris Lowe: Yeah, but you could argue that the ’90s started in 1987.

Neil Tennant: Then we could have a very long debate. The ’80s was an era of rapid change and experimentation going into the mainstream, and it’s really because of punk. People went through this trajectory pretending that they could be pop stars and then becoming them. By the ’90s, the Spice Girls made some very good pop songs, but there is nothing experimental about Two Becomes One. Whereas in the ’80s, I always say listen to Ant Music, it’s the weirdest record. Listen to Prince Charming. It doesn’t have any music in it really.

Read Johnny Marr’s full interview with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe here.


  1. WOW – The 80’s was a fantastic period for Pop Music; as well as dance, especially disco music; and did I mention country music? The 80’s country was an awesome mix of old and newer style music by some fabulous artists.

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  2. I can’t tell, is that a compliment to “Prince Charming” in the last line? Or just an observation?

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