Squeeze – interview

Squeeze kicked off their 22 date UK ‘Pop-Up’ Tour this week, starting off in Guildford on last night and set to culminate with three nights, each at a different venue, in London on 12th, 13th and 14th of December before rounding the tour off in Norwich on the 16th.

Chris Difford agreed to answer some quick questions for Louder Than War about the tour and the history of Squeeze.

The ‘Pop-Up’ Tour will see Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook move from the stage to a ‘pop-up shop in the venue foyer after each show, where fans will be able to purchase a signed recording of that night’s show.

Glenn Tilbrook, one half of the legendary song-writing duo, said “I love the opportunities and surprises thrown up by the digital age and the fading away of the major labels. Being able to innovate and take control of our own destiny is something I could only have dreamt of back then. So this Pop Up Shop tour is where we’re at now… a combination of new songs and technology, of musicianship and experience that make this tour for Squeeze ‘A Giant Step Forward’.”

It’s the mention of new songs that will please the many Squeeze fans who have patiently waited for new material while the band toured their greatest hits package in the UK and US.

Formed in South London in 1973 by teenage friends Difford and Tilbrook, Squeeze became one of the UK’s most successful ‘New-Wave’ acts with a string of hit singles and have played a vital role in the development of British music as susequent acts such as Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Supergrass and Lily Allen are keen to cite their influence.

This was reflected in the recent BBC documentary on the band and their legacy. So, with the tour approaching, Chris Difford took time to consider a few questions for LTW.

LTW: The Pop–Up Tour is an interesting concept, can you tell us a bit about it and where the idea came from?

It’s an idea we have had for a few months, its very simple its a stall in the front of house and we are there with sharp pens to sign the live CD we have just recorded at that venue on that night.

LTW: Can you give us a little advance info about the new album in 2013 – style, themes any new areas for you?

The new album is very much in its early stages, there are no release dates or studio time booked, as ever we float from one thing to the next and see where the floating takes us, hippies!

LTW: What were the early influences for you when the band was just starting out?

I loved everything, but mostly bands from The Kinks to the Stones and back,
I was a band man, now I’m a bit of everything.

LTW: How important was your experience gained as a working band in helping you deal with the success that came?

I never noticed the fame bit, i was always either out of the country or out of my mind but mostly both.

LTW: Did you genuinely feel part of a scene in the late ‘70s or was ‘New Wave’ just a convenient label for the media?

It was a label we wore well in America, where they like labels, I never felt part of any scene.

LTW: A lot of the Squeeze lyrics seem inspired by everyday stories for ordinary people. Are these imagined, genuine experiences or a mixture?

My lyrics are a mixture of imagination and the now, I seem to sink between both when I’m looking for ideas.

LTW: Is there a secret to the enduring song-writing partnership between yourself and Glenn?

If there is it’s a secret, but I don’t think there is any mystery it’s a simple and loving devotion to song.

LTW: Is there a Squeeze period or album that you feel is your favourite and why?

East Side Story was a great band album, it captured us all and for me its the stand out record.

LTW: How important is live performance still to you?

This year I have toured more than ever, solo and with the band, it’s exhausting but I learn something with each show.

LTW: What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your career and how has it helped you?

To listen and ask questions, to hear and reach for the things that make you feel unsafe.

*****

With a number of the dates already sold out, this Squeeze tour is clearly as hotly anticipated as ever and the opportunity to take home a copy of the show which includes the first new songs for a while, is an added bonus.

See Squeeze website for further details and live dates.

Interview by Dave Jennings. You can read more from Dave on LTW here.

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