Press reviews, features and interviews from 2001
You can find more articles from 2001
Go back to 2002 articles

There's a lot to read here, so I'm pointing out the very best - WR = well worth a read. Not that the rest aren't good too!

Reviews of 'The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook'
People Magazine (USA) - August 6, 2001
Popmatters (USA) - August 2001 WR
MOJO - August 2001
Uncut - July 2001
LAM Magazine - May 2001 WR

Reviews of Glenn Tilbrook 'LIVE'
'Best of year' Washington Post - 26 Dec 2001 WR
Beverley - East Yorkshire - 9 December 2001
HOB— (Cambridge, MA) -November15, 2001 WR
Peach Buzz (Atlanta)- November 20, 2001 WR
Rip It Up (Australia)- Wed Sep 12, 2001 WR
- Mercury Lounge New York - Aug 8, 2001 WR

Features and Interviews
An Interview by Gary Glauber - November 2001 WR

The National Post
(Canada)- August 25, 2001 WR
Windy City Times (USA) - July 25, 2001 WR
San Francisco Arts Magazine (USA) - July 2001 WR

Reviews of Glenn Tilbrook and The Party
Liverpool Echo - The Lomax - Sun 20 May WR

Reviews of 'This Is Where You Ain't'
Music Week - 14 April 2001

More articles
UK (JPEG Pictures)

People Magazine (USA) on 6th August
(in the 'worth a listen' column): The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook - Glenn Tilbrook (Quixotic)

More lush, lovely and literate pop, including a confessional about "Interviewing Randy Newman" from one of the main Squeeze men.

Popmatters - August 2001 - From the web site
The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook
US release date: 28 August 2001
UK release date: 21 May 2001
by Gary Glauber
PopMatters Music and Books Critic

When you first set this one spinning, you realize how good it is to hear that most distinctive voice again. It's the unmistakable voice of Squeeze in his first non-Squeeze effort, a funky solo stint sans Chris Difford that certainly won't be his last, which is why he chose to title it Incomplete. He has taken a good year to put this one together, and the care shows -- it is an enjoyably solid musical effort that gets better with repeated listenings.

What you get here is a CD that holds its own with any of the better later Squeeze releases -- think Play or Ridiculous or Some Fantastic Place. Okay, so you no longer get the easy early-'80s radio hits from Tilbrook -- but he has grown as a person and as an artist. No longer content to write easy compositions, Tilbrook now writes challenging music with complex chord changes, unusual harmonies and unexpected tempos. Always an accomplished lead guitarist, Tilbrook shows himself to be even more fully in control of the instrument now, making those Fender and Taylor guitars sing expressively right alongside those angelic vocals (check out his work on the tracks "Observatory", "I Won't See You" and "Morning").

Co-produced by ex-Robyn Hitchcock sideman and former Squeeze member Andy Metcalfe, Tilbrook and Metcalfe take on the bulk of the instrumentation here, covering guitars and keyboards and bass (although there are two guest turns by Squeeze's last bassist Hilaire Penda). Drums/Percussion are handled quite capably by either Simon Hanson or Jim Kimberley on most tracks, though some feature mere drum programming. The sound is full, the little touches and fills lovingly recorded, and it seems as much a band recording as any Squeeze effort.

At age 43 (nearly 44), he's no spring chicken, a fact not lost on Tilbrook as revealed in recent interviews as well as in the lyrics he pens here. On the wry "Up the Creek" he tells an amusing tale of being out dancing, singing along to everything from Chic to Abba, knowing he's looking older than he feels, and then suddenly he hears a familiar name from long ago. "I said what a surprise, do say Hello / And it put a stop to my dreams / with me and her and custard creams / Her friends were leaving, they say she should come / She said 'I'll remember you to my Mum'". This song contains some musical winks to disco and the Swedish foursome as well.

The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook tells its own story, which is this: The world has changed and so has Tilbrook. The song "G.S.O.H. Essential" writes his own review, giving a sort of mini-history of his music to date, from his early fascination with The Monkees right up to his current effort here. In this song, Tilbrook reasons with his listeners, "Considering the experience there's not much to regret / Thought I've picked up a few knocks, the game's not over yet / My heart is intact and here it is for you to see / And I won't give up at least not yet / so don't give up on me".

The gist of it can be summed up when Tilbrook confesses he's "running a small shop in the age of the global superstore". He knows the score, that this little record isn't likely to find global acclaim. Still, he has had such moments of fame in years past and continues to move forward. As he continues to make fine music, he keeps it in perspective, while never forgetting his years on the fast track with Squeeze (note the reference to their first big hit): "I live in the real world / What d'ya think I'm laughing for? / I'm ready and waiting / You can take me now, I'm yours".

Two things come across in abundance here. First, Tilbrook's easy charm is apparent -- here is a talent who never takes himself too seriously. Witness his "Interviewing Randy Newman", a catchy musical story about a radio interview of his fellow songwriter that goes poorly, but gets fixed in the edit.

Secondly, you get his obvious love of Motown/Stax rhythms. Years ago, I remember reading that Tilbrook and Difford were considering putting out an album of disco tunes. While that project never materialized, you can still hear Tilbrook's tendencies toward that musical style all these years later. "Tempted" could have been a Motown hit, as could the later "Loving You Tonight", both songs benefiting from the soulful vocals of Paul Carrack. Many of the songs in this collection offer up the same Motown/Stax funk bass lines and percussion as interpreted through the filter of a white South Londoner.

So what about his songwriting? Without the caustic wry lyrics of a Difford, does the solo Glenn T. just flail? The answer is no -- though Tilbrook relates that the solo writing was tough at first. Standard Squeeze procedure involved working from a set lyric that Difford provided. Rather than remaining stuck for a decent lyric, Tilbrook brought in Aimee Mann ("Observatory"), Ron Sexsmith ("You See Me"), Chris Braide and Kim Stockwood to help out. Once these collaborations were underway, he began to find his own lyrical muse. In the end, six of the 12 tunes are solo compositions, perhaps a bit less acidic lyrically than what Difford offers, but good songs about love lost and general reflection all the same. On the whole, this is a far better record than Squeeze's last release, the disappointing Domino.

The Aimee Mann collaboration, "Observatory" sounds like it could fit right in on Sweets from a Stranger, as could the next track and UK-single "Parallel World". The only non-Tilbrook composition here, the Ben Jones song "Other World", is a lovely ballad that sounds like it could be right at home on Some Fantastic Place. "We Went Thataway" plays with harmonies in a funk/pop way that makes this listener think of David Yazbek's music. Overall, I think pop fans in general and Squeeze fans in particular will find this mature solo effort from "that voice" to be a happy musical development.

MOJO - August 2001

Everything Squeeze fans would hope for from Tilbrook's solo debut, proving that he can do it without Chris Difford.

Want to know how to write a 'story song'? Imagine the novel then sum up the first 50 pages in two lines: "She was married to somebody else/I was lonely and lived by myself" (Observatory, a co-write with Aimee Mann). Despite his predilection for sweet tunes and, post Squeeze, for bubblesome white funk, Tilbrook's lyrical world is always characterised by scruffy reality. "The dishes pile up in the sink" he notes on Parallel World and his protagonists know that eventually, someone will have to do the hoovering. Plenty of sad, stranded romance, but Tilbrook adds charm and chuckles with more personal yarns including Up The Creek, wherein the middle-aged likely lad, chunky yet funky, goes down the disco and thinks he's scored, only to be kissed off with: "I'll remember you to my Mum."

Uncut Magazine

After a quarter of a century in the music business, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook is astonishingly the first solo LP from the prolific Squeeze man. It finds him co-writing with the likes of Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith, but 'We Went Thataway' is a solo composition, with a typically clever lyric, a pleasingly McCartneyesque vocal and an unexpectedly funky New Orleans-style workout at the end. The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook is released next month on Quixotic.

LAM Magazine - 21 May 2001
The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook

As one half of the writing team in Squeeze, the only band who could write songs like Up The Junction and Cool For Cats while also keeping Jools Holland quiet in the background, Glenn Tilbrook has already proved himself to be a man of rare talent.

He shows no sign of letting slip some two decades on with this, his first solo album.

While there have been many great artists who have found themselves slipping down the slippery slopes of pop only a few years into their career, Tilbrook has always been able to supply the sweetest of musical sensations. In fact most of the songs on here are of the type to stop Paul McCartney writing poetry and releasing books of his paintings for.

Part of this comes down - at least on here - to him teaming up with some other great pop song writers - Aimee Mann for the cut and thrust of Observatory and Ron Sexsmith for the elegant swoonsome, You See Me.

There's plenty of topnotch efforts where the man flies truly solo such as We Went Thataway, One Dark Moment, G.S.O.H. Essential and Interviewing Randy, which allow him plenty of room to move in a field which showcases his wry understated observations, layers and layers of meticulous harmony and topnotch playing from a bunch of musos who play tighter than an earwig's arse.


Gary Glauber: The Glenn Tilbrook Interview: November, 2001

Recently, I was fortunate to talk with Glenn Tilbrook, singer, guitarist, and half of the extraordinary songwriting team behind Squeeze. Tilbrook took some time out from his current acoustic tour promoting his first solo CD The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook on Quixotic Records ( to answer some questions.

He’s taken the better part of a year to craft this new CD, and the care shows. Writing lyrics for the first time, and also finding new collaborators, Tilbrook continues to grow as a musician.

One of the songs on the new CD “Interviewing Randy Newman,” relates the true-life tale of when Glenn conducted a radio interview with Randy Newman, and how things did not go all that smoothly. I explained that my interviewing him might be much the same type of deal, but again, “everything can be fixed in the edit.”

Surprisingly, Tilbrook was relaxed, honest and a delight to interview. There is no pretense to him whatsoever and he is willing to take on any and all questions. Knowing he was a big fan of both the fab four and the fabricated four, I jumped right into the thick of my interrogation.

GG: So who is your Favorite Beatle and why?

GT: Paul McCartney, because most people pick John and no one seems to single out Paul. He did quite a bit there and deserves the credit.

GG: Fair enough. Who is your favorite Monkee and why?

GT: Micky Dolenz, because he was funny and he looked like he really could play the drums. Also, I really like that song he wrote, what’s it called “Randy Scouse Git?”

GG: “While four kings of EMI are sitting stately on the floor?”

GT: Yeah, that’s the one.

GG: You’ve had a number of hits over the years and I suppose you still have to play many of them, even now. Are there any songs you hate to play?

GT: It’s simple. If I hate a song, I don’t play it. But if you’re asking me if I’m duty bound to play certain songs, then I’d have to say it’d be foolish not to give people what they want. Luckily, I like most of the songs in my history.

GG: Can you estimate the approximate amount of times you’ve played some of the more popular songs, say a “Pulling Mussels from A Shell” or “If I Didn’t Love You?”

GT: I really don’t know, couldn’t even put an accurate number on that. In the thousands, I’d imagine, sure.

GG: Let’s talk songwriting. I know that for your solo album you’ve written songs with others and also alone. How do you go about writing the songs - music first, lyrics first, or does it matter?

GT: In all honesty, it varies. Coming out of working with Chris (Difford), it always was a case where I wrote the music and he did the lyrics. That was just the way we worked. So lyrics are a whole new world for me. I often try to write the lyrics first and work from that, but I’ve found that sometimes it’s best to work through both at the same time. On the new CD, Ron Sexsmith & Aimee Mann did lyrics on those collaborations. But with Chris Braide it was a mix of music and lyrics; same really with Kim Stockwood. It’s been a fun challenge.

GG: How many songs would you say you have written in your life, including collaborations?

GT: I’d say the number runs into probably 2,000 or so. See, when Chris and I met we really did nothing but write songs. We had nothing else to do, no real gainful employment and really nothing else of interest to us. Songwriting was what we did.

GG: To my thinking, you were and always shall be the readily recognized distinctive voice of Squeeze. Yet, with the song “Tempted,” Paul Carrack sang lead vocals. Was it difficult to have a hit with someone else singing lead vocals?

GT: First off, having a hit never is difficult. And Paul just has a really fantastic voice. We originally had recorded a version of this with me singing it (which is on the compilation Excess Moderation) and it was sort of a sub-ELO arrangement, good for laugh value now, and not much more. Paul’s version was so much better - I really learned that sometimes a producer can bring more to a song than you thought was there (Interviewer’s note: Elvis Costello produced that more Motown-version of “Tempted.”).

GG: Having attended many a Squeeze concert back in the day, I always was impressed with your lead guitar skills, particularly since not many lead singers can handle both at the same time. I know you’ve contributed to many other artists’ records - Aimee Mann’s I’m With Stupid > and Kimberley Rew’s Tunnel Into Summer, just to name a few. Ideally, if you could have your choice to work with any artist, who would it be?

GT: I do like playing on other artists’ albums, which I’ve done a lot. I suppose the most recent work I’ve done for someone else would be on Nick Harper’s CD. And I guess the artist I’d most like to work with is Willie Nelson, actually. I love his emotive voice. But that’s the way I am. I’m not terribly into strictly technical singers. For me, I need the emotion and the believability. I suppose it’s just a continuation of the kind of music I like to listen to myself.

GG: And what sort of music might that be? Any new and upcoming bands we should know about?

GT: My current favorite is a group called The Avalanches, who use a lot of sampling and also play along as well. They remind me a little bit of Faces, back in the early days. I saw them live and there were what looked like these two deejay guys up on stage, just doing this incredibly good modern pop music. I also liked the danger factor - the feeling that at any second it could all fall apart.

GG: Okay, I shall have to track them down and check it out for myself. So that’s your new music recommendation - what about the classics? What’s your most favorite older album?

GT: I know it’s sort of a musician’s cliché, but I really have to say that Pet Sounds is to me the perfect album. It’s just amazing.

GG: It’s not unusual for me to come across press releases and music reviews that describe a sound as very “Squeeze-like.” Your sounds are oft imitated, particularly what was the very unique octave-apart style of shared vocals between yourself and Chris. Just curious, how did that style develop?

GT: It was just one of those stupid things, we sang and it sort of came out that way. There wasn’t really any grand plan to it. In so far as the way we are cited and imitated, I do hear some of it and I think it’s a bit of a compliment, a tip o’ the hat. It’s nice that way.

GG: Recently, you spent an afternoon and evening busking in New York City’s Grand Central Station, just you and an acoustic guitar, playing requests while trying to raise charity funds for the families of those lost in the Trade Tower incident. At one point you asked the crowd if they’d join you in singing and trying to raise people’s spirits in this time of tragedy. Like a Pied Piper, you unplugged and led a crowd of about 50 people on a walk throughout the train station while singing “Goodbye Girl” along with you. It was tremendously fun. What are your impressions of how these recent tragic events have affected people and music in general?

GT: Well obviously, the people in NYC still are a bit shell-shocked, quite understandably. Aside from the tragedy itself, I’d have to say the worst part of it all is the fear. People have this real fear now as a result of what has happened. But I do think that, over time, people can rebound and return to getting on with their lives.

GG: You were in town as part of the “UK in NYC” festival. It was a great experience catching you live. All these commuters were standing around, surprised - dialing their cell phones and holding them out above their heads to let their loved ones in on your impromptu concert.

GT: So you were there?

GG: Yes. You didn’t hear me singing harmonies?

GT: Did you go the next day when I was cooking?

GG: No, sorry, I missed that.

GT: I cooked up my specialty “Welsh Rarebit.” Wonderful stuff, that.

GG: Cheese on toast?

GT: No - it’s much more than that. It’s grated cheese, for one thing, with this mustard-based sauce on bread with an egg and covered with the right mix of salt and pepper, then grilled right up. Bet you’re sorry you missed it now.

GG: I am. Truly. That same busking day, I noticed you did a number of covers (Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child,” Chuck Berry’s “Sea Cruise” - as well as some Elvis). When someone walking by asked “Is that really Paul McCartney” you proceeded to launch into a great cover of “All My Loving.” Would you ever consider doing a CD of covers?

GT: Yeah, I’d quite like to do that someday. Unfortunately, I’m too wrapped up in my own projects to get around to that right now.

GG: Okay, here’s something different. Give me three adjectives to describe yourself.

GT: Caring, Sharing and Lovely. (He laughs.)

GG: Even with your very distinctive voice, some say that you and Neil Finn have much the same sound. What is your take on that?

GT: Oh, we’ve met, actually. I think he’s more of a singer than I am, really. He has a really lovely voice. And there was that one song on Woodface that was quite a musical tribute to Squeeze.

GG: Speaking of Squeeze, I know the later Squeeze albums had all sorts of distribution problems. In fact, I had to go to London to purchase a copy of Domino, which hadn’t been released yet here in the states.

GT: That seems a bit extreme.

GG: Okay, well I was with my family in London - it’s not like I made the trip entirely for that purchase. But while I was there, I did manage to hunt it down. I know that labels were a big problem with those past few Squeeze records. I also note that your new CD The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook is out on Quixotic, your own label. Are all record companies horrible?

GT: I wouldn’t say that. I think major labels can do a good job providing that all goes right. But it rarely works that way. With Squeeze, we were dropped from a label shortly after our most successful record. For a time, we were on a different label with each new album. Which was very discouraging, particularly as two of my favorite albums were among these: Play and Some Fantastic Place. For Play we even did a lot of recording out in LA, to be closer to the Warner people.

GG: Right, I remember a lot of actor/celebrity types contributed to that CD. Christopher Guest was one of them, right?

GT: Yeah, didn’t realize that we were the inspiration for Spinal Tap, did you? But what kept happening was that we were getting dropped. Major labels realize there’s no point in spending for big production budgets with small sales. That never really worked, even at the height of Squeeze’s popularity. So at age 44, I’m really more interested in selling records and getting my music out to people.

GG: Are there any favorite producers you’d like to work with?

GT: I know the best producers are able to bring something out of you that you didn’t know you had. However, for the moment, I’m content to produce myself.

GG: How many guitars do you currently own - and which are your favorites?

GT: I own 19 guitars and my favorites are the two I’ve taken on the road with me, both of them Taylors, one six- and one twelve-string. My favorite electric guitar is a 1967 Jet Black Telecaster with a V-Bender. I love that kind of retro sound I can get with that. I’m not precious with my guitars, mind you. I don’t go crazy if other people pick them up and play them. But I do love them dearly.

GG: What sort of formal music training did you have, and is guitar your only instrument?

GT: I started playing piano and guitar at 7. I didn’t really want to sound too good too fast, and it was a nice way to learn, gradually. With piano, I only got so far and then stopped at about age 14. Still, the piano knowledge helped me a lot with songwriting.

GG: Thank you so much for this interview. I wish you the best of luck with the acoustic tour (currently underway) and with sales of the fine new CD.

GT: Thank you and cheers.

NOTE: For those of you wishing they could have been there, I’ve included a recipe for “Welsh Rarebit”

2 to 4 slices of bread
112 cups of grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons of milk or beer
30 grams / 1 oz of butter
1 teaspoon of mustard
Pepper & Salt
1 Egg, beaten

Toast the slices of bread and grate 112 cups of cheese. Arrange the cooked toast on a baking tray ready for grilling and spread with butter. Slowly melt the cheese and milk in a small saucepan. Then add the mustard and pepper. Stir continuously. Combine the egg mixture with the hot mixture and continue cooking until the mixture thickens. When smooth and hot pour over each piece of toast and grill until golden brown.

The National Post - August 25, 2001
Life without his main Squeeze
by Jeff Breithaupt Weekend Post

INCOMPLETE: Glenn Tilbrook, right, releases his first solo CD on Tuesday.

The cover of Glenn Tilbrook's first-ever solo album features a vintage illustration of a man who's trying to fly using strap-on wings and a seemingly endless supply of optimism. He's like Wile E. Coyote from the Roadrunner cartoons hovering over the mouth of a canyon; as long as he doesn't look down, you feel like he just might make it.

For the man who since 1974 has made up one-half of the songwriting team responsible for the gem-encrusted treasure trove that is the Squeeze songbook -- a melodic cache of such should-have-been-hits as Another Nail In My Heart, Up The Junction and Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) -- the implications are obvious.

"There is the 'flying solo' thing, yeah," says Tilbrook in a pronounced south London dialect that is half Michael Caine and half Artful Dodger. "There is that."

On this August evening, Tilbrook is hunched over a heat-wave-inspired bottle of water in a dive bar on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Being a dive bar, it is without air conditioning, and throughout the interview, Tilbrook dabs at his sweat-drenched brow with a napkin. Outside it's 37C; inside, it's gotta be way more than that.

"I like the funny implications of it," Tilbrook continues, smiling down at his CD, a copy of which lies in front of him on the bar. "Everyone knows what must have happened to this guy. I love that he's up there, he's optimistic, and he's going for it. I'm not saying I'll have the same fate as this poor chap. Nonetheless, I entertain that that's a possibility, and I laugh in the face of it."

The new album, called The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook ("because it's the first of many," he explains) will be released on Tuesday. It's a generous collection, carried aloft by Tilbrook's creamy pop voice and his self-deprecating, London-town wit. And although it's without his main Squeeze, lyricist Chris Difford, Tilbrook has recruited some able backup in that department: Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith contribute lyrics to one song each. And for the first time, Tilbrook himself has actually written lyrics on six tracks.

"I hadn't written lyrics since I was about 15," he admits. "Nor have I had any real desire to. I tried about three times, and was very discouraged by what I'd done. There was the overwhelming thing of, 'Why do that? I'm perfectly happy writing tunes, and Chris's lyrics are great, so there's no problem.' "

As for the current Squeeze hiatus (no one's using the word "breakup" yet), Tilbrook says, "the decision was sort of made for me. Chris didn't want to tour. He felt it was the end of that road, and that I understand. Squeeze's career path wasn't going in the right direction. We hadn't really sold albums for a long time. In purely business terms, business was not good."

There was a time, however, in the early '80s when Squeeze was poised to invade North America, British style. Rolling Stone magazine was touting Difford, whose eye for kitchen-sink dramatic detail rivaled Elvis Costello's, and Tilbrook, whose ear for soaring melodies rivalled, well, Elvis Costello's, as the new Lennon and McCartney. Their superb (Costello-produced) 1981 release East Side Story was attracting well-deserved critical kudos, and it even managed to turn a hit single, the band's first in America, the low-key blue-eyed soul tune Tempted.

"We had about five years where Squeeze slotted into a radio format that allowed us," says Tilbrook, "and then from 1989 [the year the band was dropped from A&M, their original label], we were forever in search of whatever format it would be that would have us."

Despite the fact that Squeeze continued to release albums throughout the '90s -- 1993's Play ranks among their best -- this colourful, catchy band is mostly remembered as an '80s band. This is in part because Tempted has fared surprisingly well over time, having become a favourite benchmark for '80s nostalgia buffs. It's also because Singles -- 45's and Under, the band's frothy and representative 1983 best-of compilation, went platinum in the United States.

As for the fallow '90s, what Tilbrook calls "second-period Squeeze," he says, "I can sum it up by pointing out that we were signed and were dropped four times with four albums. And that whole experience said to me very loudly and very clearly, 'You don't want to do it this way any more.' "

Somewhere around 1993, Tilbrook built his own studio to help minimize recording costs. The studio led to his eventual decision to start his own label, the aptly named Quixotic Records. And although the current radio environment isn't exactly clamouring for the melodic, Beatlesque pop music (unless, of course you're a Beatle) that is Tilbrook's stock in trade, he is cautiously optimistic.

"I'm grateful for the opportunities that time [at the major labels] has given me," he says, "but I now want to leave that behind. I want to actually carry on making records and to be able to sustain myself under a much, much smaller umbrella. If that means I'm playing small clubs, then that's what it means. I don't feel bad about that. I enjoy playing."

Two hours later, around the corner from a certain a/c-deprived dive bar, Glen Tilbrook leads an ecstatic Mercury Lounge crowd on a two-hour bender through the best of his new album and the best of his former band (there, it's said).

For the 43-year-old Tilbrook, whose old mate Difford is probably back in England sleeping soundly, just being in this small Manhattan club and playing these songs, old and new, must feel a little like tilting at windmills, flying with strap-on wings.

But as this snake oil salesman rips through one last chorus of Pulling Mussels ("and I feel like William Tell...") none of that seems to matter. This small but mighty crowd of local villagers has gathered around his cart to hear his pitch, and they seem to be buying what he's selling. Hell, they're even singing along.

Windy City Times - 25 July 2001
In complete agreement: an Interview with Glenn Tilbrook
Glenn Tilbrook performs @ Park West on July 28.
by Gregg Shapiro
You might remember hearing Glenn Tilbrook's easily recognizable singing voice during the years he was in the British band Squeeze. He co-wrote and sang the songs "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)" and "Black Coffee In Bed," as well as many, many others.

On his long-awaited solo disc, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook (W.A.R./Quixotic London), Mr. Tilbrook performs songs he co-wrote with Aimee Mann ("Observatory") and Ron Sexsmith ("You See Me"), as well as several originals, including the retro pop "This Is Where You Ain't," "Morning" (co-written with Chris Braide), the music industry commentary of "G.S.O.H. Essential," the dance-friendly "Up The Creek," and the wacky, but accessible "Interviewing Randy Newman."

Even if you aren't familiar with Squeeze, Tilbrook's solo effort stands out as one of the great singer/ songwriter albums of the year, and holds of the promise of many more fine albums to come.

Gregg Shapiro: The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook is being released on Quixotic London Records, your own label. Can you please say something about having your own record label?

Glenn Tilbrook: It's something that I've done over here in Britain for the last five years that we've had the label. It is, for me, a way of releasing not only my own music. (Presently) we have only one other person making records for us and that is Nick Harper. It's music that I believe in, firstly. Secondly, it's also wonderful to have the chance to determine the whole package, the whole thing about the record, from day one to when it comes out. I very much like that.

GS: I'm glad that you mentioned releasing your own album. Why did you wait so long to release a solo disc?

GT: Because I was perfectly happy with Squeeze, actually. I never felt the urge to leave Squeeze. Squeeze was built around the songwriting partnership that I had with Chris Difford. When Chris reached a point, three years ago, when he felt that he could no longer tour, I toured with Squeeze as a four-piece without Chris. He pulled out of the tour the day before we were due to go. We decided to do the tour anyway and, in fact, we had a great tour. I felt that was really the end of Squeeze. I felt, also, that it was an opportunity for me to record a solo album, which I am very happy with,

GS: The title of the album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, is a little on the ironic side, would you agree?

GT: (Laughs) It was the first title that I felt summed up the record. The title works on many levels, for me, not the least of which is that I see the record as the first in a series of many. It's a whole set.

GS: So, we'll soon be hearing from the "complete Glennn Tilbrook," yes?

GT: (Laughs) Indeed.

GS: Great. "G.S.O.H. Essential" sounds like a comment from you on the music industry...can you comment on that?

GT: "G.S.O.H. Essential" is more of a comment on my own position within the music industry. I've been very fortunate in that I've been making records since I was 19. I've been involved in major-label deals for years. I've gone through all sorts of periods of success and nonsuccess throughout that time. The music industry is a constantly changing place, and I certainly don't have the opinion that it was better 20 years ago than it is now. It's constantly changing, as it should do, and it's interesting for someone like me to try and find where I fit in. I think the place I fit in, at the moment, is by determining how I make my records and trying to determine where they'll appear. I think that major labels work extremely well for some people. I think they worked, with varying degrees of success with Squeeze. It certainly enabled me to be where I am now, the fact that I was on major labels for that amount of time. But, I think that unless I was able to write my own contract, I wouldn't like to be on a major label now. I'm happy with the situation being where I am. I'm happy with that because I've thought, over many years, about why I do what I do, what my motivation is, and what I want from it...and all that is quite clear in my mind. I'd love to sell millions of records. But the fact that I'm not selling millions of least Squeeze hasn't...doesn't deter me from loving what I do, from loving touring and loving playing. I'm extremely lucky to be able to do that. I'm a very small shop operating in a global economy (laughs).

GS: That's a great description of it. You worked with Aimee Mann, who also had her own negative experiences with major labels, on her I'm With Stupid album and you co-wrote the song "Observatory" with her on your album. Can please say a few words about what it's like working with Aimee?

GT: Aimee is a very talented and very determined person. I admire her. She's used her anger with the business to her own ends, I believe, very successfully. I have nothing but praise for her personally and professionally. I love the way she writes. We toured with her in 1994. When I found myself writing (songs) for this record, it was a very natural step to ask Aimee to work with me. I'm very pleased with the song. I think it's a unique hybrid.

GS: It's a wonderful song. "You See Me," also from The Incomplete Glennn Tilbrook, was co-written with Ron Sexsmith.

GT: Again, working with Ron Sexsmith on "You See Me," was a lovely thing. We had toured together in the U.K., I think, about five years ago. He's a fantastic bloke. He's got a wonderful way with the audience. The interesting thing about working with Ron and Aimee is that those two collaborations worked in the same why that I worked with Chris Difford. Both Ron and Aimee provided lyrics for me and I worked on them at home. They were not "same room" collaborations. We exchanged e-mails, faxes and tapes (laughs). We didn't sit together until they were done.

GS: Is the story-song "Interviewing Randy Newman" based on a real experience that you had?

GT: Yes, it was entirely true (laughs). I did an hour-long show for Radio Two about Newman and his career. I'm a big fan and felt very confident about doing it. I can only describe what happened when I interviewed him as a massive panic attack. I had no clue of any nerves until 30 seconds before the interview. He was in L.A. and I was in London, in the studio, sitting on the other side of the glass from the producer. Because I'd felt so comfortable before, I thought, "Okay, I won't write any questions. We'll just talk for an hour." We can talk about his career and his writing. Then I just started coming out with the most inane and stupid questions.

GS: Oh no!

GT: It was just awful. (Exaggerated voice) "I'm a big fan of yours. So, how do you write?" All the questions I'd sworn I'd never ask anyone, I was asking. It was just the most excruciating hour. He, of course, was the model of politeness and charm. Really sweet and very, very kind to me. But I blew it in a big way (laughs).

GS: I think that the song redeems it.

GT: It was a hard way to get a good song, but I guess that it's about the only redeeming thing.

GS: There are three bonus tracks on the domestic release. Why didn't the song "Sunday Breakfast Treat" make it onto the original version?

GT: Because at some point, we had to decide for the singles here, what we thought were in excess of what we wanted for the record when we were sequencing it for over here (the U.K.). I thought that "Sunday Breakfast Treat" was a bit too flippant at the time we decided that it wasn't going on the record, although I like it a lot more now than I did at the time. There's another song that we left off, another collaboration with Ron Sexsmith that I really wish that I'd put on the disc.

GS: Do you think it might show up as the B-side of a single?

GT: Yes. That's why we had to make those choices, because I've had a couple of singles out here and we had to decide what was going on the album. There was too much for the album and I wanted all the best stuff to go on.

GS: Some of the songs have a bit of an electronic feel to them. One of the bonus tracks, the dance mix of "This Is Where You Ain't," which you call the "now that's what I call now mate version," could potentially go over well in the gay dance clubs. Can you please say something about why you included a dance-club type of remix?

GT: Because I love that sort of music. You don't hear a lot of that in what I do, because that's just not what comes out. But what I really love, and what I'm really open to, is the whole concept of remix. That's exactly what that is. It's taking the song, as thought of and recorded, then we thought, "What happens if you take away all that stuff?" There's that one slide guitar bit and breakdown section in the original version that actually became the motif for the whole song in the remixed version. I think it works fantastically. I had a very hard time deciding which version to make the album version and the single over here. I am very proud of the remixed version.

GS: It's the kind of thing that could expose you to a different audience.

GT: Yeah, it could do that. I don't know if people will really take that from me. All I can is that I can only do that sort of thing if I'm fully enthused. It seems to me that the purest forms of dance music are moving away from song construction and I'm not about to give up on that because that's where my inspiration comes from. The thought behind a lot of dance music...the production, the a completely different approach to making records and it's something that fills me with enthusiasm.

GS: Wonderful. Earlier in the interview you were talking about touring, and now you are about to come to the States on what is essentially your first solo tour.

GT: I can't wait. I'm really looking forward to it. I love communication with people, and I've gotten good at that. I've been doing solo shows, as well as stuff with Squeeze, for ten years. In that time I've come to relish the difference between playing with a band and playing by myself.

GS: In some cities you are sharing the bill with Warren Zevon and with Marshall Crenshaw in others. Is there any chance that you will join each other on stage for some songs or will they be two solo sets?

GT: (Laughs) I don't know. All I can say is that anything is possible. ... I like spontaneous things.

San Francisco Arts Magazine

Glenn Tilbrook , The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook
and Live Performance at Slim's, July 24, 2001
review and interview by J. Brendan Williams

What could be further from the witty pop songs of Glenn Tilbrook, former principal of Squeeze, than the proto heavy metal of Deep Purple? I ask the question not simply because Glenn Tilbrook has just released a brilliant debut solo CD entitled The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook on Quixotic London records, while embarking on a one man acoustic tour which graced the stage of Slim's on July 24th, but to illustrate an oft overlooked fact of life in the rock 'n' roll cosmos. Strange connections exist between socio-musical styles and personalities, and no bands are quite as far apart as they may seem.
Consider this: Glenn Tilbrook formed Squeeze with Chris Difford in the mid-1970's and took the band's name from the last Velvet Underground album. No original members of the V.U. played on that record. Doug Yule, who had replaced John Cale on bass, assembled a new Velvet Underground that featured former Deep Purple Drummer Ian Paice. The erstwhile John Cale subsequently produced Squeeze's early demos. And today Glenn Tilbrook pals around with Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and the oft imitated, never duplicated, Robert Plant. Weird huh? Weirder still, Slim's print advertisement for performances from Wednesday, July 18 - Saturday, August 4, 2001 featured a wide range of acts but only two of them commanded the top ticket price of $20: Glenn Tilbrook and . . . Slash's Snakepit! Strange connections indeed. 

I should admit that it took me a while to enjoy Tilbrook's old band when I first heard them back in high school, and I figured it might take me a few listens to come around to a reasonable appreciation of his new solo album. I remember thinking those twentyish years ago that Squeeze was okay, had catchy melodic hooks and nice suits. But that “N” word made me uncomfortable: “Nice”. Those clever chord changes utterly lacked aggression, the band made no pretense toward testosterone infused posturing. So I wrote them off, decided to forget about Squeeze, concentrated on the punk thing . . . until I met that girl. You know her, boys. The one who sat on the lip of the stage at the hardcore shows and rocked with the guys but always remained somehow above the scene, mystically feminine, alluring, magical. And when I picked her up at her parents’ house, Singles, 45’s and Under gently wafted from her bedroom window. From that vantage point, Squeeze finally made sense. Squeeze was part of that British Pop tradition that included the Beatles, Kinks, and Cliff Richard, and led to The Jam and Elvis Costello. And what’s wrong with that, especially when the rocker-chix still dig it? It’s part of that greater yin-yang of rock-roll that enabled Elvis to sing Teddy Bear and Hound Dog in the same set (praises, brethren, amen). 

The songwriting team of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook really was threatening in a sublime and disarming way. And likewise, Tilbrook’s latest efforts continue along the same path. Earnest, happy, toe-tapping sounds leavened with wistful and poignant lyrics, a healthy dash of self-mockery, and a devil-may-care attitude.


The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook is less an attempt to revive former glory than it is a bold statement of identity and purpose. Tilbrook may be crazy for going out on his own at the age of forty-three, but music really is his life, and he is still able to earn a decent living at it. At Slim's he acknowledged that most blokes put out a solo record after two or three albums, rather than thirteen with their former bandmates. 

So why go solo now? The title of the new album suggests a melancholic separation from his longtime songwriting partner, but also speaks optimistically of many more good songs yet to be released. "It's quite a fact that I really miss Chris," says Tilbrook, but Difford's reluctance to tour in support of Squeeze's 1998 album Domino contributed to Glenn's decision to go it alone. Despite modest self-doubt, the man is confident of his musical talent and figured "What the hell?" 

The cover art sums up his attitude. A colored pencil and watercolor image of an early twentieth century scene set in the English countryside depicts a brave and loony man with wood and linen wings strapped to his back, soaring over a crowd of onlookers. It just might work! So too does this logic propel Tilbrook's D-I-Y record label, appropriately named Quixotic London. Inside The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook's jewel case, black and white photos show Glenn hanging out in the damp, cold alley behind his recording studio, wearing a schoolboy’s grin, and a twinkly gaze, a couple stone’s extra weight, and just wispier hair than we might remember: a cross between the guy in the Black Coffee in Bed video and Bob Mould. Glenn’s doing alright, still kicking, still singing in that pure tenor, charming the young girls and the guys who date them. 

An example of this would be Up the Creek, a tune nestled midway through the new album. He sings about awkwardly dancing to ABBA with lasses who were not yet born when the Swedish schlock first oozed from the airwaves. In person, Glenn confessed that he had been out drinking with his buddies when they all stumbled into the after hours dance club that inspired the song. Here he was, twenty years after singing Up the Junction, a sad nursery rhyme about young lovers who wind up impoverished young parents and break up in desperation and misery. But in Up the Creek we infer that the infant of that earlier Squeeze song has at last grown up and gone off like her mother, leaving dad to happily chase skirts once more. Growing older brings redemption at times like this. 

Another highlight from the disc is Interviewing Randy Newman, a song resplendent in electronic bloops and bleeps that would make Britney Spears blush. He sings about walking into an internet cafe to prepare for an upcoming BBC Radio interview with his songwriting hero. It is a tune as much about technology as it is a true account of a subsequently botched interview made good through the wonders of non-linear editing. Interestingly, Tilbrook says that for him Randy Newman is reminiscent of some of Squeeze's earlier material, like Goodbye Girl and Take Me I'm Yours, in the sense that these tunes were conceived in a fun-loving spirit of blind experimentation, rather than tried and true formula. 

In a similar vein, the CD’s first track This is Where You Ain’t (a deceptively upbeat song outfitted with strings, glockenspiel, and a stinging Hammond B-3 break played by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians alumnus Andy Metcalfe) reappears at the end, remixed with a techno rhythm track for the belly chain kids. The parenthetical title of the remixed version, (‘now that’s what I call now mate’ version), shows Tilbrook’s pluck. 

Glenn is very upbeat about the digital revolution. He notes that new technology has enabled him to operate his personal recording studio, establish Quixotic London, co-write songs with partners on opposite sides of the planet, and free himself to tour widely. Observatory is a good example of such global collaboration. Aimee Mann was in Los Angeles when she worked on this tune with the London dwelling Tilbrook. The song describes a lonely single guy who takes up with a married woman, against his better judgment. Its theme segues effortlessly from the lovelorn This is Where You Ain't. 

The new songs are not all fun and games. One Dark Moment is a pleading, driving number that also appears twice: once early on with full band accompaniment, and again toward the end as a solitary rendition for voice and acoustic guitar. At times the horn sectioned full band version sounds like the complaint of a frustrated aging performer ready to throw in the towel and opt out for a straight 9-to-5er. Yet the starkness of the acoustic performance, and the weary rasp in the singer’s voice reveals a raw emotional gravity. At Slim's, Tilbrook remained reticent about this painful, and obviously personal song, saying only that it was written about a friend who took his own life. Names need not be mentioned. Motives seem irrelevant. Suicide is still suicide. 

There's also plenty of guitar pop on the new record. We Went Thataway has a spunky back beat groove, strangely reminiscent of Robert Cray’s homage to the Stax/Volt sound, Take Your Shoes Off. Very danceable, as is the tentative but cheery G.S.O.H. Essential, whose title references the personals ads and features the telling line "I'm running a small shop in the age of the global superstore." The song embodies a coming to terms with a world much larger and unwieldy than the singer.


After a brief appearance for a duet with opening performer Syd Straw, Glenn Tilbrook returned to the stage in earnest. His solo acoustic tour now frames him as a modern English Troubadour. Strange coincidence that both performers had just come up from a performance at Doug Weston's Troubadour in West Hollywood the previous evening, amid the grassroots hoopla of L.A's annual International Pop Overthrow Festival. Clad in a red tee shirt and drab army pants, the singer presented himself and his two worn guitars, six and twelve-string respectively, without pretense. He had come a long way from his days as the nattily dressed new waver we remember from those distant 1980's, but this absence of flash worked strongly in his favor, focusing all attention on his songcraft and fluent fretwork. And that clear, note-perfect tenor of his has not suffered through the ages. No studio gimmickry needed, the gentleman can sing with power and grace. 

I was surprised to learn that much of Tilbrook's repertoire sprung from his imagination fully arranged. That is, worked out on piano and guitar with the intent of performing the material with a full band. Only after the songs had been completely written did he go back and hone the tunes for a solo acoustic performance. 

A broad survey of Squeeze songs plus samplings from The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook comprised the majority of the live set, with much audience participation. On more than one occasion, Tilbrook left the stage and wandered among the tables, strumming and crooning without the benefit of a microphone, much to everyone's delight. Somewhat less successful was his tribute to Willie Nelson with a cover of Always on my Mind. Although Glenn went out of his way to distance himself from The Pet Shop Boys' maudlin synth version before launching into the tune, audience response was tepid. Undaunted, Tilbrook responded with his most amazing feat of the evening, a twelve-stringed, Reverend Gary Davis inspired rendition of Drinkin' Wine Spo-dee-o-dee , whose old-timey boogie-woogie cadences brought the crowd back to life and sent the schoolchildren in attendance into paroxysms, much to their parents amusement. Smiles all around. By the final encore of Pulling Mussels from a Shell, the crowd of grown-ups had risen to their feet in wild enthusiasm, proud to be part of what Tilbrook referred to fondly as his niche audience. 

And though his star may not burn as brightly as some other points of light, Glenn Tilbrook and his audience are very much a part of that larger musical constellation: that grand design which reflects and refracts from Reverend Gary Davis to Reverend Horton Heat to Canned Heat to Can. It’s all good. The more you listen, the more you see. Buy The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, see the pub tour, and join the continuum.

Washington Post - December 26, 2001
2001: Missing The Snap, Crackle In Pop
You Had to Listen Intently For Rock, Rap & Soul's Best
By David Segal

It wasn't exactly the creative boomlet of '68. Finding the best of rock, rap and soul took some rummaging. But it was out there, on lesser-known labels, hiding in the back bins, ignored for the most part by radio. Guitar rock -- especially indie guitar rock -- had an extraordinary year. So did a couple of R&B artists and a handful of mostly unheralded rappers. Here's some of the best, and worst, of the year.... (click on link above for full article)

....Best Concert
Glenn Tilbrook at Iota, Aug. 3

For an encore, the former Squeeze vocalist and songwriter led the crowd of 100 out the door and into Iota's parking lot, where he serenaded everyone under the moonlight with unplugged versions of "Goodbye Girl" and "Pulling Mussels From a Shell." He briefly made Wilson Boulevard feel like the center of the universe.

Beverley - East Yorkshire - 9 December 2001.
Review by Gareth Watkins

The "Completely Acoustic Glenn Tilbrook," or "Glenn Tilbrook Experience" as I shall call it, touched down in Beverley, East Yorkshire, to a packed house full of fans young and old, all no doubt anxious to find out if the co-founder of Squeeze could still pack a punch.
Tilbrook formed a powerful writing duo with Chris Difford that was the backbone of Squeeze's thirteen-album journey through the late 70s, 80s and 90s. This year saw the release of his debut solo album 'The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook' and a string of tour dates on both sides of the Atlantic. Tonight he made the journey to this quiet corner of East Yorkshire to share with us his impressive arsenal of musical gems both new and old.

The appointed hour arrived, the house was packed out, but there was no sign of our host. Thick fog had delayed his arrival but "thirty minutes later" he was on stage armed with his two favourite guitars, one six-string and one twelve, launching his first salvo across our bow: 'The Truth,' from Squeeze's 1991 album Play, followed swiftly by 'Vanity Fair'. A strong couplet to get us off to a flyer, Tilbrook did well to be on stage not five minutes after arriving at the venue. He told me later that he usually likes to have an hour or so to relax before a gig, so it was weird having to rush straight on.

The ninety minute set included songs spanning the length of his career, from seminal Squeeze classics like 'Piccadilly,' 'Take Me I'm Yours' and 'Up The Junction' through to tracks off his new solo album. Among his new songs are collaborations with other strong writers and the audience lapped up the likes of 'Observatory' written with Aimee Mann, 'Parallel World,' a personal highlight for this reviewer, written with Chris Braid (recently writing for S-Club 7) and 'You See Me,' which Tilbrook wrote with Canadian tunemeister Ron Sexsmith. There was even room in this busy repertoire for covers of 'Voodoo Chile' and 'Always on My Mind'. He finished the night with the well-loved 'Goodbye Girl' (a song he recently led a crowd round New York's Grand Central Station singing to raise money for the families of victims of the September 11th tragedy) and an encore featuring 'Annie Get Your Gun' and 'Hourglass' - complete with audience participation!

Tilbrook took opportunity to pay tribute to his long-time writing partner Chris Difford and the late George Harrison. He also frequently had the audience laughing with him as he shared stories and thoughts. The small venue, acoustic and often spontaneous nature of the night made the whole experience feel quite personal and if you can catch him on the rest of this tour, you will not go away disappointed. His professionalism (not put off by a broken string midway through Voodoo Chile), a real passion for music and a genuine, quite obvious, love of performing, make the Glenn Tilbrook Experience one you won't want to miss. ****

The House of Blues — Cambridge, Massachusetts -15 November 2001
by Jason Damas

Somewhere in the annals of rock music is a graveyard for bands that have had the misfortune to be compared to the Beatles. That comparison is one of the most overused clichés in the history of pop music, and has probably buried far more acts than it has helped. For each act that's had a noted songwriting similarity to Lennon and McCartney, there has inevitably been a pile of reasons why they simply weren't as good.

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the main songwriting duo of Squeeze who for 25 years and 13 albums churned out distinctly well-written, British, and - surprise-- Beatles-esque pop music-weathered this storm better than most. It's true that good reviews and a rabid fan base never translated into commercial success for Squeeze, especially in the United States, but it's also true that their legacy is capable of standing alone, making the Beatles comparison unnecessary.
And perhaps that's why a couple years after the end of the Difford/Tilbrook partnership, Glenn Tilbrook -- Squeeze's main lead vocalist -- is a notable concert draw in his own right. According to Tilbrook, Squeeze's demise was attributed primarily to a disagreement between Chris Difford and Tilbrook about touring; Difford didn't want to, and Tilbrook did. Tilbrook has said that he still loves touring, and judging by his November 15 solo acoustic show at the House of Blues in Cambridge, he means it.

Since the releasing his solo debut "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook", he has returned, fashioned with the dual images of a seasoned, accomplished singer/songwriter and as a showman. Tilbrook was always a talented songwriter, and few questioned his impressive (for a pop musician) lead guitar abilities, but now he's putting on shows worth talking about. And with a rigorous tour schedule (he noted after the show that his plan is to return every three months), he's aggressively trying to build a post-Squeeze name for himself.

Confession time: A series of very unfortunate incidents caused me to miss the beginning of Glenn Tilbrook's show. No fear, however, as Tilbrook himself was also a tad tardy, preventing me from missing much of the excitement. The House of Blues show began inauspiciously enough (despite Tilbrook's tardiness), as he rattled through a mixture of Squeeze originals, songs from his new album, and covers (Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" was one of them on this night). Because he plays largely from audience requests and because these shows are tailored for fans, a mid-period album track like "Tough Love" is just as likely to be played as a hit like "Another Nail For My Heart."

The cozy nature of the House of Blues lent itself to a show with a high level of audience participation. Tilbrook didn't just welcome requests and sing-alongs, he invited the audience to play along any way they could -- once passing a drum to an audience member to bang on through "Another Nail for My Heart". When he launched into "Hourglass", the cheery (if slightly goofball) hit from 1987 that was Squeeze's highest U.S. singles chart entry, the audience tried their best to imitate the bongo break in the middle of the song. He couldn't resist, however, stopping in the middle of the song to critique the audience, urging them to try it again when he cues them by "raising [his] brows in the James Bond of the Roger Moore variety".

After "Hourglass," Tilbrook informed the crowd that because of time constraints he wouldn't have enough time to play everything he wanted to. But because of this, he stated his intention to stage the end of the show outside. The crowd was of course a bit puzzled as he launched into his final pre-encore numbers, rousing versions of classics "Another Nail For My Heart" and "Take Me, I'm Yours".

After hurrying back onstage for the encore, he served up a country-rock reworking of "Annie Get Your Gun" before closing with a stunning B-side called "By the Light of the Cash Machine," co-penned by Ron Sexsmith.

The show was interspersed with as much witty banter as it was music, but while such things may seem annoying and detract from certain acts, Tilbrook manages to pull it off with ease. He's more than just a songwriter now -- he's an entertainer, and a real crowd pleaser too. And that leads into what happened next.

The crowd filtered out onto Winthrop Street, excitably discussing Tilbrook's plan to come out and play in a few minutes. During the fifteen minute wait, excited audience members could be seen calling friends --urging them to hurry to Harvard Square right away, because that guy from Squeeze was going to play for free. Another fan was overheard saying that the show was the "strangest concert [she'd] ever been to".

When Glenn Tilbrook finally emerged, the crowd swarmed around him, effectively blocking the street to traffic. Quickly moving to a nearby park, the true magic of the evening began. Tilbrook hopped on top of a bench and picked right up with a sing-along of "Piccadilly", much to the delight of the remaining audience members.

In another one of his unscripted moments, he decided to stage an experiment that admittedly confused quite a few of the audience members. Before playing "Is That Love", he asked for four volunteers with cell phones; he had two act as broadcasters -- one holding the phone up to his guitar, the other holding it up for his vocals -- and they each called one of the other two volunteers, who acted as receivers. The idea was to create a "stereo experience," so the two receiving phones could be passed to audience members who could listen to the vocal and guitar split between each ear. I'm not sure if it worked since the phones never reached me, and the experiment did take too long to set up (Tilbrook himself apologized for the delay and urged members of the audience to "have a meal, see a gallery, take in a film, and then try back"), but most of the fans didn't mind. Some of the curious onlookers who had not been inside at the House of Blues show did however seem to be extremely confused.

Following the labored cell phone experiment, Tilbrook began one of his now-famous "walkabouts", where he continued to play while leading the audience through the neighborhood. At this time, he launched into "Goodbye Girl" and was off on foot, up to Mt. Auburn Street and over to Eliot Street. The crowd -- at this point a mixture of die hard fans, passersby, and even a few of the neighborhood's homeless who sleep in the aforementioned park -- flocked down the street behind him, merrily singing along. He encircled the block twice -- speeding up as he went.
The finale, the Squeeze staple "Pulling Mussels (From A Shell)" came next, as Tilbrook continued to lead his ragtag band of followers around the streets of Harvard Square. He continued to speed up -- darting in and out of traffic and crossing streets-before shocking the entire audience by knocking on the window of a minivan stopped at a red light, and then hopping inside, all the while continuing to play. The van's passengers seemed more amused than scared (they did, after all, let him into the car), even as the crowd moved into the street and encircled the van. When the light turned green, the van drove off -- though it went less than a block before Tilbrook got out again. After running around the block one more time -- this time finishing the song partway through the trip -- Tilbrook finally stopped running at his "vintage" touring RV, signing autographs and meeting the faithful few fans who had managed to keep up with him through the last few songs.

That Tilbrook, 44, is still recording music that's every bit as enjoyable -- even if less groundbreaking -- than Squeeze's new wave-era output is fairly remarkable. But his live show, half composed of charming acoustic renditions of Squeeze songs and half of lively interactive comedy, could be what ultimately wins him new fans and woos back old ones who had long forgotten about Squeeze. But most importantly, he's proving that he's plenty comfortable with his output, with his fans, and with the fact that he never became the next Paul McCartney, because even after 25 years he's still on the top of his game.

PEACH BUZZ: Musician: Have show, will travel
Richard L. Eldredge - Staff
Tuesday, November 20, 2001

On Monday, local Squeeze fans were still talking about what they witnessed Sunday night at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points. When the United Kingdom pop group's co-founder Glenn Tilbrook turned up for his debut solo acoustic date at the venue, he quickly discovered the gig "wasn't particularly well-attended."

Instead of throwing a rock-star snit and barricading himself in his dressing room with a case of beer, Tilbrook took the show to the Variety's more intimate lobby where he performed new songs from his solo debut CD, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook," along with some Squeeze classics. The singer-songwriter then opted to take the double-digit audience out the door and down the street for a few numbers. When the crowd got to McClendon Street, a fan told Tilbrook, "That's my house!" As luck would have it, she had an electric guitar and amp inside.

"I ended up doing some songs in her sitting room and her kitchen," Tilbrook told Buzz via cellphone Monday. "People were outside peering in the windows. I looked round the place and saw people's faces. There was something very special happening with all of us. It was a fantastic evening." Tilbrook and audience then returned to the Variety for a few more songs, ending the free-form show around midnight.

On his new album, Tilbrook addresses the fleeting visibility awarded to pop stars on the song "G.S.O.H. Essential."

Said Tilbrook: "The show in Atlanta is a lot like that song. I came to a place where I had to be realistic about where I am these days in the genre of pop music. It's no longer about having a lot of hit records. Now I'm just happy to play for people who enjoy what I do. If it turns out to be their sitting room, so much the better!"

Tilbrook Squeezes Big Apple - October 29, 2001

New York City--At 8 a.m. on October 18, New York City commuters arrived in Grand Central Station like they do any other day; they were groggy and grumpy, thinking about the day ahead as they fumbled for change to buy coffee. There was no question that they'd rather be back in bed. As if on ironic cue, some maniac with an acoustic guitar started dancing around, belting the old Squeeze hit, "Black Coffee In Bed," at the top of his lungs. As the song began to penetrate through the fog of commuters' minds, one passerby commented, "He sounds just like the guy who sang that." Within a few more stanzas, it became apparent--the maniac with the choirboy voice was the guy who sang that.

Indeed, Glenn Tilbrook was jumping up and down, having a blast as he howled through the Squeeze songbook, playing for spare change in Grand Central. Rather than having fallen on hard times, the songwriter behind "Tempted," "Pulling Mussels From The Shell," "Another Nail In My Heart," and other Eighties classics was busking to raise money for the WTC relief effort. In addition, he was also bringing attention to both his new solo debut, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook (W.A.R./Quixotic), and the U.K. With NY arts festival.
Starting out on a small stage set up in 12,000-square-foot Vanderbilt Hall, Tilbrook used a single JBL Eon loudspeaker as a monitor wedge; given the hard Tennessee Pink marble floors and stone walls of the room, the wedge easily doubled as the PA. The stage and AKG microphone on hand were quickly abandoned, however, as Tilbrook took to the floor to get closer to passing commuters. While the Eon box continued to supplement the acoustic guitar, Tilbrook hooted and hollered, making sure the vocals were heard loud and clear. The concert's awesome reverb was supplied by the GCS unit, manufactured in 1913.

Tilbrook later played lunchtime and evening sets as well, and returned to Grand Central the next day for a slightly different performance tied in to U.K. With NY: a demonstration on how to cook Welsh rarebit.

Rip It Up - Live at The Governor Hindmarsh - Wed Sep 12, 2001
After spending a large part of the previous 24 hours unable to tear myself away from the sickening, endless, repeat footage of the New York tragedy, the idea of going to the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel for a night of acoustic pop music seemed monumentally wrong.

But eventually what drove me out on this most depressing of nights was partly to see former (UK) Squeeze front man Glenn Tilbrook and partly just to escape the television.

I believe these events are the main reason that there were maybe 50 or so people in this fine 600 capacity venue, to see one of England's best singer songwriters taking up the unenviable task of having to 'entertain people' who have been watching hell live in their lounge all that day.

Under the circumstances support band Fear Of Flying could probably just've called themselves Scott and Nathan, but their acoustic set was quite lovely and I look forward to seeing the whole band soon. Glenn Tilbrook bounded on stage like it was the kind of full house he's doubtless used to and proceeded to bang out fantastic songs that took us all far away from the real world for a while.

Mixing songs from his rather splendid solo album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, with a cavalcade of Squeeze favourites, Tilbrook's bouyant humour and likable delivery turned it into a very special night. Often talking to the 'crowd' without the microphone, Tilbrook took requests, sang all the hits including Pulling Muscles From A Shell, Tempted, Annie Get Your Gun, Is That Love and HEAPS more (apart from Cool For Cats - 'I never actually sang that one') and enticed us to be his rhythm section and backing vocalists for several songs.

At one point he took the entire audience over to a corner by the front door and did three songs standing on chairs, or having the people move the chairs so he could walk around while playing.

New songs like the hysterical Interviewing Randy Newman and the lovely Observatory, were as enthusiastically recieved as faves such as Goodbye Girl and Up The Junction.
Afterward he sat around on the stage and chatted with people.

It was a lovely escape. Thanks Glenn.

Words by Ian Bell

Goodtimes - Live review
Mercury Lounge, New York - August 8, 2001

Usually when a big group breaks-up, the main lyricist is the singer, and he/she goes on to a solo career that is similar in scope and acclaim to what the band had achieved. What happens when the voice doesn't write the lyrics? When the singer is the writer/arranger, but not the lyricist. Such was the case with Squeeze. Can Glenn Tilbrook make it without his lyricist Chris Difford?

Tilbrook has already answered that question with The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook CD which was released by What Are Records. His solo album features great lyrics (not bad for someone who was chiefly responsible for Squeeze's music). As hoped Tilbrook's solo CD features Squeezes patented jangly hooks and first-person love songs. The question on everybody's lips now would be "can he carry a solo concert?" The resounding answer is yes!

Appearing solo (with only his acoustic guitar) Tilbrook led the crowd through an overview of his career. As part (with Difford) of what was lauded as the greatest English songwriting combo since Lennon-McCartney, Tilbrook sang some of the smartest pop songs of the past 25 years. During his concert at the Mercury Lounge, Tilbrook played a show that paid homage to his Squeeze past, and showed us the future by playing selections from his wonderful solo offering.

Opening with what he called a trio of songs written in decades where the year ended in 1, Tilbrook played "Letting Go" (1991), "Messed Around" (1981) and the newly released "This is Where You Ain't" (2001).

Tilbrook immediately had the crowd eating out of his hands.

Interjecting humor and fun banter between the songs, Tilbrook played all the old favorites: "If I didn't Love You," the wonderful and overlooked "The Truth" from Play, "Hourglass" (with audience handclap participation), "Take Me I'm Yours," "Some Fantastic Place," "Up The Junction," "Pulling Mussels From A Shell," "Goodbye Girl," "Is that Love?"and, of course "Tempted."

What truly made this show an experience was the new offerings: the hysterical "Interviewing Randy Newman" which is a true story (hear it for yourself and try to keep a straight face, "Observatory" co-written by Aimee Mann, "Parallel World," "Other World," "You See Me" co-written by Ron Sexsmith, and "Sunday Breakfast Treat" which he punctuated with a hysterical bit about preparing Stoffer's Welsh Rabbit (pronounced rare-bit) -- and how it was his only product endorsement. He said the frozen entree looked nothing like it does in the packaging, and proceeded to explain how to prepare it. He then explained how the video would look. It would be, he said, "...a cooking show that ended like 70's style soft porn movie." In it, his beautiful assistant would come over to help and they would both stumble, with their tongues meeting...well you get the idea.

The show also featured David Poe as the opening act. In a perfect world David Poe wouldn't have to support anyone else's tour. He played an excellent set. His twenty minute set featured what can best be called a re-write of "If You're Going to San Francisco" called "California" (it is a fantastic song) as well as the sweet ballad "Moon," "Apartment" and "Reunion" which is about his (what else) family reunion.

This was a night about joy. The Mercury was packed wall-to-wall with Squeeze fans hoping to hear their faves. They got them all right.

They also got a glimpse of what Glenn Tilbrook has to offer now and in the future. What a fantastic show! - Mike Perciaccante

(From) Liverpool Echo's web site - May 2001
Glenn Tilbrook & The Party - Live at The Lomax

GLENN Tilbrook took to the stage at The Lomax on Sunday night in typically unorthodox fashion - he and the band threaded their way through the audience from the back of the venue, playing the opening chords to "2001: A Space Odyssey" as they went. The former Squeeze frontman, now touring with backing band The Party, is promoting his solo album "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook", but there was nothing missing from this performance.

He frequently raided the Squeeze back catalogue ("dipping into Tilbrook gold"), delighting the crowd with rousing renditions of the hits - but there were also nuanced performances of tracks from the new album.

The Lomax is the perfect setting for Glenn's material, with the sound intimate enough to allow his vocals to shine, yet powerful enough to move the body when The Party rocked.

To someone unfamiliar with Glenn's live shows, the surprise highlight was his electrifying solo cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Voodoo Chile. When one wag from the audience asked if Glenn could emulate Hendrix by playing with his teeth, the guitarist duly obliged for a few notes before confiding: "Frankly, I can't." A storming encore brought the show to an end, then the band climbed down from the stage back into the audience and retraced their steps, playing as they left.

The city (the Red half, at least) had been in party mood following their team's treble homecoming, and this show was another triumph, the perfect way to round off the day.

Music Week - 14 April 2001
This Is Where You Ain't - Glenn Tilbrook (QUIXCD006)

This typically upbeat pop offering from the former Squeeze frontman proves he has not lost his edge. Tilbrook tours the UK in May to promote his debut solo album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook.