Say ‘Yes’ to the Pet Shop Boys

It was the perfect cherry on top of a two-decade career when Britain’s synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys was presented with an Outstanding Contribution to Music honor at this year’s Brit Awards.

Performing a medley of their hits, they were joined onstage by two of their biggest fans, Lady GaGa and Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, for their early classic “West End Girls.”

Accordingly, 55-year-old Neil Tennant — who brings the band to the Warfield in San Francisco this week — has been in a reflective mood lately.

He spends much of the Pet Shop Boys’ latest album, “Yes,” analyzing not only his own multiplatinum stardom, but celebrity in general.

And Tennant has come to some creepy conclusions.

“Did you know that in Germany, stars walk around with Autogram cards, actual cards with pictures of themselves in their pockets?” he says.

Tennant, with his musical partner Chris Lowe, penned bubbly new ditties like “Love, etc.” and “Beautiful People” about such absurdities.

“Kids come up to us there, going, ‘Autogram card?’” he says. “And I say, ‘I haven’t got one! I don’t even have any current pictures of myself!’ And they always look quite surprised.”

Whereas Michael Jackson got it wrong — “he let his fame become a prison,” Tennant says — the modern pop star has to be a celebrity because of the importance of marketing.

“It’s actually quite difficult to be one unless you’re in the papers,” Tennant says. “And Paris Hilton is a pop star who doesn’t make pop records because, unfortunately, she has no talent. But the good thing about us is, we don’t have the kind of personalities to seek that level of personal attention. It’s been quite important to us — to our sanity — not to do that.”

Fans also helped the singer with his theories. For example, one with a song-commentary Web site listed “Ten things the Pet Shop Boys did to commit career suicide in America.”

“It’s hilarious, but totally true,” Tennant says. “Because Chris and I have never thought about having a career, never sat down and thought, ‘What are we going to do next?’ Something just always turns up.”

There are the Hans Christian Andersen ballet the pair has just been commissioned to compose and “The Performance of My Life ” and a contribution to Dame Shirley Bassey’s new comeback record.

Whenever Tennant begins to desire more fame, one fact reminds him to keep saying no instead of yes.

“I’d have to have my own Autogram cards,” he says. “And I, uh, wouldn’t feel very comfortable with them. So let’s not go professional quite yet!”

IF YOU GO

Pet Shop Boys

Where: The Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. today and Wednesday

Tickets: $55 to $89.50

Contact: www.ticketmaster.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Asian American youth report anger, sadness and fear over surge in racist behavior

Survey finds about 80 percent experienced bullying or verbal harassment

Catholic church leads protest of COVID-19 restrictions

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone led march from City Hall, outdoor masses

Court prevents Trump administration from blocking WeChat pending hearing

Late Saturday night, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary… Continue reading

San Francisco Symphony, Opera musicians settle contracts

Performers’ salaries modified due to inability to play live

The first ever virtual Emmys were the perfect awards for our times

By Meredith Blake Los Angeles Times “Succession,” “Watchmen” and “Schitt’s Creek” were… Continue reading

Most Read