More articles from 2001
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Reviews of 'The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook'
Billboard end of year chart - December 2001 Feature - September 21, 2001 All Music Guide - September 2001 - September 08, 2001 - Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Billboard (USA) - August 28, 2001
People Magazine (USA) - August 6, 2001
MOJO - August 2001
The Washington Post (USA) - July 27, 2001
Q Magazine - July 2001
Uncut - July 2001
(part of) San Fran Arts Magazine - July 2001

Reviews of Glenn Tilbrook 'LIVE'
Beverley - East Yorkshire - 9 December 2001
New York Observer - October 30, 2001
Popsound News Online - October 29, 2001
(part of) San Francisco Arts Magazine - July 2001

Features and Interviews
Ascap Radar Report - October 2001
Greenman Interview - September 2001
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)- 6 September 2001
Boston Globe (USA) - August 12 2001
The Boston Herald (USA) - August 10, 2001
The New York Daily News (USA) - August 09, 2001
The Valley Advocate (USA) - 9 August 2001
Fox News (USA) - August 2001
Washington Post (USA) - August 3, 2001
Record Collector - July 2001
The Chicago Tribune (USA) - July 2001

Reviews of 'This Is Where You Ain't'
Music Week - 14 April 2001
LAM Magazine - 25 April 2001
The Guardian Guide- Apr 21-27 2001

More articles
UK (JPEG Pictures) Feature - 09/21/2001
Squeezing Out A Solo Career
By Dan Leroy

Glenn Tilbrook's fans wonder about it. The title of his first solo album even seems to hint at it. How will the former frontman of Squeeze, best known as half of one of music's most celebrated songwriting teams, make it on his own?

A listen to his first solo album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, provides the answer: Just fine, thanks. Without longtime lyricist Chris Difford, Tilbrook wrote his own words for the always-catchy pop-soul confections he's been crafting for more than two decades.
Not that he wasn't facing a real squeeze at first. "I hadn't written lyrics, I don't think, since I was 14," says the 44-year-old Tilbrook with a chuckle. "When I started, I didn't feel happy with anything that I'd done."

So Tilbrook cured his writer's block by making a few phone calls. Getting help from renowned songwriters like Aimee Mann (co-author of the mournful, short story-like "Observatory") and Ron Sexsmith (who worked on the gentle love song "You See Me") gave him the jumpstart he needed.

"When I did the co-writes and felt that I'd got some good songs, it sort of took a lot of pressure off me, and I relaxed," the easygoing London native says, "and wrote some ones that I was actually pleased with."

He's happy with "Interviewing Randy Newman," a true, funny story about Tilbrook's disastrous radio interview with the songwriting legend. And the R& B-tinged single "This Is Where You Ain't" sounds like a new Difford & Tilbrook classic. Minus Difford, that is--although Tilbrook still gives him credit. "It's impossible to write with someone that long," Tilbrook explains, "without having them influence you."

And after Squeeze emerged from the ranks of U.K. post-punkers in the late '70s, Difford and Tilbrook influenced plenty of others. By 1981's East Side Story, Difford's lyrical smarts and Tilbrook's pop savvy had many critics calling the pair another Lennon & McCartney. "Whenever I thought about that, it became very intimidating," Tilbrook recalls. "But as soon as I stopped thinking about it, things were absolutely normal."

Squeeze broke up briefly, but reformed and had its biggest U.S. success in 1987 with Babylon And On. Then the wheels fell off: The group would be dropped from major labels three times over the next few years, despite turning in acclaimed albums like 1989's Frank and 1993's Some Fantastic Place.

By 1996, Tilbrook had had enough, and started his own label, Quixotic Records. With a new lineup and a label that couldn't drop them, Squeeze released Domino in 1998, and the album actually turned a profit. ("Our first," Tilbrook notes wryly, "since 1979.") But the struggles of the decade had worn on Difford, and he went home during a subsequent tour, leaving Tilbrook with the band name and the memories.

That left Tilbrook free to work with old friends like multi-instrumentalist Andy Metcalfe and up-and-comers like Chris Braide and Nick Harper on his solo album. And Tilbrook confesses he's happy being his own boss. "For me, this is the ideal setup," he says. "At the end of the day, I can put my hand on my heart and say I've made the best album I can make."

As for future Squeeze recordings, Tilbrook sounds less sure. He and Difford continue to write together occasionally, so "that door is very definitely, I think, left open by both of us." But here's the bad news for Squeeze fans: He finds it hard to imagine the pair working on another Squeeze album. "What we want, I think, is quite different now," Tilbrook says. "I think the most likely way we would work together would be to write for somebody else."

Meanwhile, he's still waiting to find out what his old partner thinks of his new album. "He rung me up to tell me that he'd bought it, but I haven't heard anything since," Tilbrook says with a laugh. "But our relationship's a bit like that."

Top All Music Guide - September 2001

AMG EXPERT REVIEW: By the late '90s, Squeeze releases (Domino, in particular) had begun to feel workmanlike, but with two songwriters as brilliant and clever as Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, it seemed surprising. Following the tour behind Domino, Difford chose to stop touring, but Tilbrook wanted to continue on as he had before. This difference of opinion led Tilbrook to release his first album without Difford in nearly 25 years.

The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, titled by Tilbrook to reflect the improbability of going solo this late in his career, is a sparkling gem of a pop record. At once relaxed and meticulously crafted, it encapsulates all that has made Squeeze so great. Collaborating with artists such as Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith in the songwriting process, Tilbrook didn't completely go at it alone, but he did manage to craft an album as instantly accessible as anything Squeeze recorded.

A bit of an R&B influence is tied in ("One Dark Moment"), as are Brian Wilson-like harmonies ("Morning"), but quintessential Squeeze songs are still sprinkled throughout. Synthesizers are more prevalent here than on the recent power poppy Squeeze discs, especially on songs like "Interviewing Randy Newman" and "Sunday Breakfast Treat," which sound like throwbacks to early Squeeze classics like "Goodbye Girl" and "Take Me, I'm Yours." And even though Chris Difford was responsible for writing most of the trademark quirky lyrics on Squeeze albums, Tilbrook manages to turn a good phrase himself. "Interviewing Randy Newman" is an especially good example; it's an autobiographical tale of an ill-fated interview Tilbrook conducted with the legendary Newman that Tilbrook himself says is "A true story. I wish it wasn't a true story, but it is."

Being both clever and earnest were always two of the lyrical trademarks of Squeeze records. While fans may mourn the end (although it's more of a hiatus, according to Tilbrook) of the Difford/Tilbrook partnership, this release confirms that the magic is far from gone. Jason Damas

Top - September 08, 2001

GLENN TILBROOK Album Title:The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook

After 24 years and 13 albums as the musical director of that classic British pop band Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook has ventured solo. Without Chris Difford—Squeeze's lyricist extraordinaire, the Ira Gershwin to Tilbrook's George—one might fear that 'The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook' might be a too-accurate title.

But it isn't.

The best songs here—"This Is Where You Ain't," "G.S.O.H. Essential," "One Dark Moment," and "Up the Creek" among them—are solo Tilbrook compositions, with witty, often touching words to match the songwriter's characteristically heart-melting melodies. The collaborations include songs with Aimee Mann, Ron Sexsmith, and Chris Braide, the latter of whom co-wrote the initial U.S. single, "Parallel World," an engaging singalong borne along by Tilbrook's forever-young tenor. The album's U.S. edition features a trio of bonus tracks, with the acoustic version of "One Dark Moment" serving as a calling card for Tilbrook's fun, fluent solo shows.—BB

Top - Tuesday, September 11, 2001
The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook,
Cool For Mature Cats
By Jon Young

Glenn Tilbrook isn't kidding when he sings, "I've slung some hooks around these parts before," on "G.S.O.H. Essential," one of the standout tracks on his fine new solo debut.

Tilbrook, the main singer and lead guitarist for Squeeze, composed a slew of terrific singles with writing partner Chris Difford in the late 1970s and '80s, including "Take Me I'm Yours," "Cool for Cats" and "Hourglass," earning the pair a reputation as the Lennon and McCartney of England's new wave. With his sweet, sunny voice, Tilbrook provided an engaging counterbalance to the angry young man played by friend Elvis Costello, with whom he sang on Costello's thrilling 1981 single "From a Whisper to a Scream."

With Squeeze now dissolved (their last album, Domino, came out in 1998), Tilbrook has stepped out on his own. The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook presents him without collaborator Difford, though the album does feature Squeeze keyboardist (and longtime Robyn Hitchcock collaborator) Andy Metcalfe, who co-produces and shares the lion's share of the instrumental chores with the star. Late-'90s Squeeze associates Hilaire Penda (bass) and Jim Kimberly (drums) also play on a few tracks, as do Chris Holland (keyboards), Simon Hanson (drums), Stephen Large (keyboards) and Julian Dawson (harmonica). Not surprisingly, the disc reflects the strengths and weaknesses of Tilbrook's older work, combining rich, creamy melodies with mild-mannered singing that tends to dull the emotional edge of his bittersweet tunes. Adding a dash of suave soul music to the mix, the breezy "This Is Where You Ain't" (RealAudio excerpt) chronicles the effects of loss and obsession, while "You See Me" is the kind of woozily hypnotic ballad found on co-writer Ron Sexsmith's own albums. The mildly funky "Observatory," composed with Aimee Mann, expertly captures the frustration and embarrassment of an adulterous, dead-end affair, as Tilbrook blithely concludes, "Maybe that's just a battle you can't win."

Tilbrook could probably crank out literate love songs until the end of time, but he's more memorable tackling different subjects. After pondering his place on the modern-day music scene in the perky "G.S.O.H. Essential" (short for "good sense of humor"), he ventures into the disco to dance to '70s stalwarts Abba and Chic in "Up the Creek" (RealAudio excerpt), only to get shot down in hilarious humiliation when a prospective — and much younger — lover says, "I'll remember you to my mum." Ouch! Most ingenious, the skittish "Interviewing Randy Newman" (RealAudio excerpt) captures Tilbrook's attack of nerves in attempting to chat with his idol for a radio program; he ruefully admits, "Randy had been kind/ But I floundered like I didn't have a clue."

Nice guy, nice songs: The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook won't make any waves, but what's wrong with a little old-fashioned pop craftsmanship?


BILLBOARD - August 28, 2001, 12:00 PM
Artist Of The Day
A Quixotic Venture: Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook Goes Solo
By Bradley Bambarger

On Glenn Tilbrook's solo debut via his own Quixotic Records, the former Squeeze frontman sings about going it alone in today's marketplace: "I'm pushing out the boat/Calling every favor in to help keep it afloat ... I know it's a changed world ... I'm running a small shop/In the age of the global superstore."

That song is titled "G.S.O.H. Essential" -- after the headings in the personal ads that call for a "good sense of humor" -- with the idea that a light heart is necessary in a world where thinking-man's pop is a challenge to purvey and boutique labels have a tough row to hoe.

The 44-year-old Tilbrook has enviable energy and enthusiasm for his maiden solo voyage and his Quixotic label venture, which he formed in '98 to issue Squeeze's last album, "Domino." Yet measured expectations suit his experience. Despite "spending nothing to promote it," Tilbrook says, "Domino" was "the first Squeeze album since 'Cool for Cats' in '79 to turn a profit. I knew then that, with hard work, small could be possible, could be good.

"As far as competing in what some perceive as a younger man's game, Tilbrook says, "I realized something playing with people like Keith Richards recently: Even though they're infinitely more successful than I am, they are people just like me, who live to play music at whatever age. And while I'd love to be the musician of the moment on everyone's lips, being on just a few people's lips is pretty great. It was a tremendous relief to realize that."

Issued in May by Quixotic London in the U.K. (via RMG), "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook" arrives in stores today (Aug. 28) in the U.S., where the disc is manufactured and marketed by the Boulder, Colo.-based What Are Records? and distributed by that firm's At-Source Distribution arm. The album addresses such touchy subjects as middle-aged dignity both in love and onstage, with the sort of subtle wit and sublime melody that have endeared Tilbrook to Squeeze fans since the British band's bow in the new-wave London of 1977.

Tilbrook was Squeeze's music director, serving as lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and main composer across the band's various incarnations and 13 albums. But the outfit's smart, sly lyrics -- as lauded as its irresistible tunes -- were the work of Tilbrook's ace foil, Chris Difford. The prospect of penning lyrics to measure up spurred a bout of writer's block, which Tilbrook only overcame after ameliorative co-writing with the likes of Ron Sexsmith and Aimee Mann. That said, though, the most well-wrought words on the new set ended up being Tilbrook's alone.

Squeeze came to an end when Difford, a family man, grew evermore reluctant to tour. "At a certain age, gigging loses its luster for many musicians," Tilbrook says. "I'm the opposite: I quite enjoy it, as long as it's part of writing songs and making records. Making this solo record reminded me of the first three Squeeze albums, before we settled on a sound. The blank canvas was frightening but exciting."

An album highlight is the lead track and first U.K. single, the buoyant, touching soul-pop of "This Is Where You Ain't," penned wholly by Tilbrook. Key songs "One Dark Moment," "Up the Creek," and "Interviewing Randy Newman" were likewise solo creations. Of the collaborations, the second U.K. single and first U.S. release, "Parallel World" (written with Chris Braide), has already become a favorite in Tilbrook's solo acoustic shows.

Produced with former Robyn Hitchcock collaborator and "Babylon and On" -era Squeeze member Andy Metcalfe, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook" showcases the charm of the singer's ageless choirboy tenor, as well as a sense of sonic adventure. Guitar in hand, Tilbrook is crossing the globe this year to play the new material alongside such Squeeze classics as "Tempted," "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)," and "When the Hangover Strikes." The evergreen quality of those songs was emphasized at two sold-out shows at New York's Mercury Lounge, where between numbers the good-natured Tilbrook could barely get a word in over the avalanche of requests.

In 1997, with input from Difford and Tilbrook, A&M U.K. remastered and reissued the first six Squeeze albums and released the thoughtful two-disc anthology "Excess Moderation." In the U.S., Universal has since failed to maximize the band's catalog, merely issuing the single-disc compilation "Piccadilly Collection"; on Sept. 18, the company muddies the waters by releasing "Squeeze's Greatest Hits."

Following up spring U.K. and summer U.S. dates, Tilbrook tours Australia in September, with further U.K./U.S. dates planned for November. While on his recent stateside trek, he did a yeoman's round of radio promotion, performing live on the air for shows from KBCO Boulder's local "Studio C" to WXPN Philadelphia's nationally syndicated "World Cafe" (the latter of which should air in weeks to come).

Visitors to or are kept well-informed about Tilbrook's activities, and North Americans can buy his new disc direct from According to GM Ted Guggenheim, W.A.R.? plans an array of Internet-related promotions.

Returning to the impetus of "G.S.O.H. Essential," "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook" does face its hurdles. "These artists -- the Tilbrooks, Elvis Costellos, Nick Lowes -- are between a rock and a hard place," says Allen Larman, head buyer at the Rhino Records shop in Los Angeles. "They don't fit into any one media format -- are they adult-oriented, alternative, what? But having created durable bodies of work, they've made a real name for themselves with hardcore music fans. And those are our staple customers. The word will gradually get out on Glenn's record, because it's a good one."


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.


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."


The Washington Post - Friday, July 27, 2001

"The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook"
Quixotic London

Although ex-Squeeze man Glenn Tilbrook is touring solo to promote it, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook" is not the same thing as "Glenn Tilbrook Unplugged." These songs are easygoing but fully upholstered, with the singer-songwriter joined by co-producer Andy Metcalfe and various supplementary musicians, including horn and string players. If the music seems less plush than most contemporary pop, credit both the laid-back melodies and the rueful outlook.

"I'm running a small shop/In the age of the global superstore," Tilbrook admits in "G.S.O.H. Essential," and many of these gently funky songs are about being out of the loop. While he writes about failed romance more often than The Biz, titles like "Parallel World" and "This Is Where You Ain't" reveal a sense of disengagement that applies to both topics. "It's a challenge to know how to feel," Tilbrook sings in the latter song, but at least he still knows how to craft a tune. Most of these songs won't show up on the "The Best of Glenn Tilbrook," but they're engaging in their small-shop way.
-- Mark Jenkins


Q Magazine - July 2001

After 25 years of Squeeze his debut solo album.

Although he might never have reached the iconic heights of contemporaries such as Paul Weller and Elvis Costello, Glenn Tilbrook is still justifiably regarded as one of the country's great, post-punk songsmiths. Here, One Dark Moment and G.S.O.H. Essential are typical of his uncomplicated style: seemingly upbeat guitar pop, laced with a healthy does of South London wit and cynicism. He's undoubtedly at his best though, on You See Me, a Brian Wilson tinged, twisted love poem co-written with Canadian tunesmith Ron Sexsmith. Hardly a revolutionary break from the past then, but full of impressive singer-songwriterly moments nonetheless. * * *


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.


Flying Solo Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook Takes Off On His Own New Album

Growing up in the Sixties in South East London, Glenn Tilbrook was a music junkie, soaking in everything from The Rolling Stones and The Kinks to The Beatles and The Monkees. In 1973, he formed his own band, Squeeze, with friend Chris Difford, and began a songwriting collaboration that many people hailed as the New Wave era's very own Lennon and McCartney.

The comparison wasn't such a stretch. Starting with their first hit, "Take Me I'm Yours," in 1978, Tilbrook and Difford created a long string of pop hits that have become classic rock radio staples: "Black Coffee in Bed," "Tempted," "Goodbye Girl," "Pulling Mussels From a Shell," "Another Nail in My Heart." Combining an abundance of humor, clever lyrics, great melodic hooks with singer/guitarist Tilbrook's distinct tenor voice, they created a body of work that has earned them a permanent place in pop music's history, not to mention in endless pub sing-alongs around the world.

Now, after 25 years and 13 albums with Squeeze, 44 year-old Tilbrook has stepped out on his own with his fine new album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, released on his very own Quixotic Records label. The album features Tilbrook originals as well as collaborations with fellow master pop songwriters Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith. Left to his own devices, Tilbrook displays the full range of his songwriting craft, from the touching soul-pop of "This is Where You Ain't" to the hilarious "Interviewing Randy Newman" where Tilbrook relates a true story of an unsuccessful radio interview he conducted with the legendary songwriter.

After a recent solo acoustic show in Manhattan in support of his record, Tilbrook talked to Playback's Erik Philbrook about going it alone.

Classic Squeeze AlbumsPlayback: Was it liberating for you or daunting for you to do your own album?

Tilbrook: It wasn't liberating in the sense that I hadn't been itching to get out of Squeeze. But neither was it daunting. After Squeeze wrapped up, it was time for me to move on.

Was there something different that you wanted to try musically on this record?

The only difference musically in creating these songs was that I felt a greater freedom to follow my own instincts and go in any direction that I wanted. The good thing about democracy is also the bad thing about democracy. It will lead you back from extreme places. That is both good and bad in equal measure.

You definitely seem like you are having fun in a lot of these songs, not just lyrically but musically, especially in the percolating rhythm of "Interviewing Randy Newman."

There is also an element of experimentation on this record that reminds me of Squeeze in the Cool For Cats and Argybargy era, when we were drawing from a very different palette of sound and instrumentation.

In writing songs for this record, which came to you first: musical ideas, thematic ideas, or lyrical ideas?

When I was collaborating with Ron Sexsmith and Aimee Mann, the process was similar to how Chris and I worked. They would supply the words and I would supply the music, so the lyrics came first. By the time I got around to writing songs on my own, I approached it the way I was used to. I thought, well I've got to write a lyric first. Then I'll put some music to it. But found, like I assume most songwriters experience, the most satisfying way was when I would come up with both the lyrics and the music at the same time.

How would you best explain the title of your album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook?

First of all, a lot of the things that I do are informed by my sense of humor, and that title made me laugh. It also has a few layers to it that I like. It says incomplete because I think it is a first in a series of many. It also mildly pokes fun at some "completest" mentality of some box sets and "Complete Guide to Whatever." That coupled with the artwork for the cover, which encapsulates my sense of humor. The artwork is taken from an illustration of an unpowered flying competition in California in the 1930's. It is the optimism involved in the illustration which is funny, because obviously there was an end to this man's flight, but we don't see it.

What has been the response to your solo outing here in the States?

I've been very lucky, because I have a very loyal fan base. Some of whom have been here the whole time. I've been touring here pretty regularly since 1978. Some discovered what Squeeze was doing in the Nineties. I have put a lot of time into touring here, and I love playing live. And I get that back from the audience.

You have thrived creatively for more than three decades and on a few different major record labels over the years. How do you feel about the business at this stage in your career?

Given the amount of commercial success that Squeeze had, which was not that much, I feel lucky to have been on one major label or another for 18 years and to have had the exposure that it has given me. It enables me now to carry on doing what I do. Nevertheless, after the last major label that we were on, I felt very strongly that I did not want to go back to that situation. People in my position now, who maybe once would have been indulged by major labels, are increasingly finding that they are not. And they are also finding that there is a third way which doesn't hitch itself on such a major volume of sales. You can make a living by aiming at a completely lower level. With this record, I was in a position to spend the time that I wanted to make the record that I wanted, and I've certainly done that. I'm very proud of this record. Now I can go out and tell people about it.


Glenn Tilbrook interview - Australia Sept 2001
"The Indians send signals from the rocks above the pass / The cowboys take position in the bushes and the grass ... " So begins "Cool For Cats," one of the songs the wonderful UK band Squeeze were best known for. After forming in the mid-'70s, the band finally split around 18 months ago, after the departure of founding member Chris Difford. As well as being a co-songwriter, Squeeze's main lead singer was Glenn Tilbrook, whose distinctive and melodic voice graced many of their biggest hits in the UK such as "Another Nail In My Heart," "Is That Love" and "Take Me I'm Yours."

Beginning a solo career after the demise of the band, Tilbrook has released the first album under his own name, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, recorded at his own studio, 45 RPM. For the first time, he has not had Chris Difford to write lyrics for his melodies. Nevertheless he has proven to be well and truly up to the task himself, as well as employing other collaborators such as Ron Sexsmith and Aimee Mann to come up with the words. In some ways, it could be considered a logical successor to any previous Squeeze album, but it is also very much an album with its own sound. There is definitely no sense of uncertainty a debut recording like this could have had. For a short while, it also includes a bonus disc of solo acoustic versions of many of the album's songs, which give a good idea of not only how good material can easily withstand different arrangements, but are also closer to how Tilbrook performs the songs live.

The following chat with Glenn Tilbrook took place in early September 2001, on the eve of his Australian tour.

It sounds to me like you're enjoying the solo life musically. It's a fine album.

I'm very pleased with it. To be fair, I took a long time over the record. The long time it took was spent exploring what did and didn't work. When I started recording, I didn't have a clear idea of what the record would be. Some of the tracks I recorded first off worked out really well and sort of established a benchmark for me, that I wanted it all to be as good as that, or in some way as interesting. That took some time. It also took some re-recording and I was just generally being very picky about what I ended up with. But I'm glad I did because now I can look back on the record from beginning to end and it works together as a whole thing, which I'm very pleased with.

Did the long time include the recording of it as well?

Yeah, recording and writing took a while. I mean, I had a bunch of demos that I went in to record first and then I did some more writing; once I'd actually recorded some of the songs, I wrote some more that felt like they fitted in better than the ones I had.

Are the songs on the acoustic disc the demos?

No, the acoustic disc was the very last thing that I did. I just felt that I wanted to do the songs in that way because most of the album proper will be the way that I conceived the songs but I always like boiling them down to that bare bones thing and that's the way that I'll play them.
One of the things I like about the album is that the songs are timeless; they could have been released ten years ago or further back and they wouldn't have sounded out of place, and they still sound contemporary now.
If I look back over Squeeze's career, the thing that I like about a lot of our stuff is that very luckily, most of the records don't sound that much of their time, they sort of exist outside of it. In fact, the records of Squeeze's I like least - probably the one in particular - were the ones that were probably the most contemporary records we made, which sounds to me now the most dated, you know.

Which one was that?

Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti. It's a good record in many ways but it definitely sounds like it has 1985 written all over it. But with this record and with all the Squeeze records, I think it's always song-driven but the second thing is that I like records that take me on a journey, the sound of the journey to be interesting and something that you can come back to and hear new things. I think there's a lot of that on this record, which I'm very proud of.

The arrangements and production include little things here and there that you don't expect.

Yeah, and that takes a long time! It does in my studio. It's not at home, I've got a studio that I've had for the past nine years. The last few Squeeze records were done there. It's fantastic to have that facility, to be able to take time now. The brilliant thing about recent technology is that that sort of stuff is within the reach of a lot of people. It's completely changing the way music is made and that's a good thing.

It's unfair to compare but how would you say the new album might differ from a Squeeze album?

I think it differs in that whenever you're in a democracy within the world of music. It has its good and bad points. The good points are that they trim excess bits of behaviour out, probably. And the bad bits are bad for exactly the same reason; they trim those excessive bits. So I think *Incomplete* is a more extreme record than Squeeze has made for a while, and I think the ability to go off and have adventures in sound like that is something that I like and value. I think that Squeeze probably did less so lyrically. I think the record has been quite influenced by Chris Difford, the way that he writes lyrics, but there are important differences I think. A lot of the songs are a lot more direct than Chris would be.

And more personal for yourself as well, thinking of songs like "GSOH Essential" -- it took me a while to realise GSOH is "great sense of humour" isn't it?

Yeah, I've just been touring America and that abbreviation doesn't exist over there at all. Mistakenly, I thought it was one of those universal abbreviations that appear in personal ads, but apparently not ...

It also sounds like a good attitude to life, for keeping sane in the music world this long, one would need a GSOH ...

Yeah, I think so. I mean, what I really love doing is playing gigs, making records and writing, all that sort of stuff. I'm well aware of taking a step backwards. It's almost incongruous to be launching a solo career at age 43, which is how old I am now, but here I am and I want to do it, and I will. I can do it in these circumstances that are different circumstances than I've been in before but in exchange for those, I get a good deal more freedom and the ability to make the sort of records I want. I think I make commercial records but whether other people think they're commercial or not is of course a completely different thing.

The way music is recorded and distributed nowadays with MP3s and the like is all changing, so it seems that society as such is changing along with that, it's probably not so odd for a 43-year-old to be a solo pop star! It's like all the old boundaries are falling down.

Right, yeah. I suppose you're right. It's often difficult to know how to assess those things, if I think back to when it was said that home taping was killing music when it didn't. I suspect the same is true with MP3s and in fact, it's a great tool to get through to people that actually wouldn't have bothered in the first place, you know? The whole thing about the distribution of music, the whole notion of what it is, is changing and it's undefined yet but I think it's getting to a very exciting place.

And yet the music is still the main thing.

Yeah it is. I still think that people, if you're into something, you want the product, or I do. I've got the facility to make copies of CDs and I'll copy something I'm vaguely interested in but if I get more interested in it, I want the whole thing. I want the package, I want to know about the person

Does a musician's life get easier as time progresses?

I think there's always disruption and upheaval in many ways. That's not such a great part of life, but I think there are penalties to pay and I always emphasise the positive 'cause that's generally what I'm like. There are downsides, and my family doesn't exist as a whole unit any more. That's not great.

Which I believe is part of the thinking behind "This Is Where You Ain't.

Yeah, indeed. My boys live in Brisbane, so when they go home or when I go home from there, it's always horrible.

One thing I've always liked about your songwriting generally is the interesting chord sequences, not your standard C-F-G etc. It goes to interesting places. Do you try for that or does it just happen?

Funnily, that's just the way that I do things. Again, I think it reflects the sort of music I listened to when I was growing up, which was a lot of Beatles and Monkees and Beach Boys, many of which actually had quite interesting music. That's why I think that all those things that I loved to play as a kid have definitely rubbed off on me. I love the musicality of that; it isn't something that I strive for, it's something that I really love.
Your live show sounds like fun, I read a report of your leading the audience out to a parking lot in a US gig recently, and cajoling an audience member to come on stage and play guitar with you.

What I like about live shows and what I love about doing shows on my own is that I don't work with a setlist and I don't work with any limitations on what can happen. I just like to assess each evening as it's going and make it up as I go along and if that involves getting people up or going somewhere else, in the parking lot in that particular instance. It's not something that by any stretch of the imagination I'll do every night and in fact most nights, I won't do that but sometimes it's just nice to mix it up a bit.

One of the other things that struck me on the album is that the lyrics seem to be quite philosophical in places, with songs like "Parallel World," "Other World"; not necessarily overtly but it's there.

Yeah, I think it does reflect that sort of view. I've never had, nor have I constructed, an overview for the songs lyrically on the record. I think that comes from my background of thinking of things musically. I assess the musical flow but lyrically, I didn't assess any flow at all. What comes out is just what comes out. It's interesting that you said that because you made me realise that I haven't even thought about it.

Get out the lyric sheet -- you might be amazed!
(hearty laugh)
OK then, whenever you're playing nearby, why must people come to see your live show?

Because it's an unforgettable experience. Life changing. Life affirming. Oh, I don't know ... Well no, I think I'm good, I think I'm different to a lot of other people so if you're serious, come along.

His Adelaide show, a couple of weeks after this interview, was one of the most entertaining gigs I have seen in a long time. His natural camaraderie with the audience combined with some excellent guitar playing (an acoustic version of "Voodoo Chile" being one example), a voice improved with age if anything, and yes, a "portable audience" section where he performed completely acoustically, combined to produce a show which was as much an experience as a performance. Actual good healthy fun! Material focussed largely on Squeeze songs with a number of songs from the new album naturally enough, including "Interviewing Randy Newman," the true story of a radio interview conducted by Tilbrook which was saved by the editing process.
One song he does not perform however, is the perennial "Cool For Cats." That was one of the few Squeeze songs sung by Chris Difford, and it's apparently out of Tilbrook's vocal range! No matter. Be it on CD or in live concert, Glenn Tilbrook is an individual both in terms of music and personality. That is something to be thankful for, don't you think?


Sydney Morning Herald - 6 September 2001
Squeezing a bad day with Randy into song
Here with a few shaggy yarns and a song or two ... Glenn Tilbrook.
By Bernard Zuel

Trainee lyricist, budding new solo artist and South London bon vivant Glenn Tilbrook isn't likely to have a career on radio in the immediate future. As he relates in Interviewing Randy Newman on The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, his first album outside his old band Squeeze, that way lies, well, if not disaster then certainly embarrassment.

The song explains how as a guest presenter on BBC radio, Tilbrook prepared for the interview with some confidence: "I felt like I should know enough to put him through his paces/ It should be a wizard wheeze for me to shoot the breeze with Randy Newman." Ah, but he wasn't prepared for forgetting the questions, fluffing the jokes and going bright red with shame.

Still, the incident served one purpose: it helped 44-year-old Tilbrook rediscover writing lyrics, something he hadn't done since he was 15. You see, having spent 25 years writing the music that accompanied one of the best lyricists of the post-punk years, Chris Difford, he had a high standard to live up to in songs such as Up the Junction (getting a girl from Clapham pregnant "out on that windy common"), Tempted (sin and guilt "pyjamas, a hairbrush, new shoes and a case") and Black Coffee in Bed (regrets and "a stain on my notebook where your coffee cup was").

"It just took me a long while to get stuff down on paper that I was happy to look at," Tilbrook says from his Melbourne hotel, having tried and failed to get over jetlag.

"Chris used to give me lyrics on bits of paper and I would write from that, so lyrics have to stand up for me in that way. For me to be confronted with a blank page was too daunting."

He called in some friends, such as Ron Sexsmith and Aimee Mann, to write some lyrics and then found his own way, thanks to Randy Newman.

"All I had to do was ..." Suffer?

"Yes, suffer," he laughs. "There were a few turns of phrase in it that made me laugh and encouraged me and I thought, 'hold on, that's not bad'."

As those who saw Tilbrook on his flying visit two years ago can attest, he is happy to laugh at himself, filling the gaps between songs with warm wit and what could only be described as shaggy yarns. His beautiful high tenor is still intact and in one-man-and-guitar mode he not only finds new ways to present Squeeze's best songs but resurrects some songs that may have fallen short on record.

He's so entertaining that, Interviewing Randy Newman notwithstanding, you begin to imagine him hosting his own late-night chat show, maybe doing a Daryl Somers and insisting on sitting in with every musical guest.

Tilbrook laughs. "I was talking to a friend of mine in Canada who said what she wanted to do was reprise the Dean Martin Show where he had a bar in the corner, a few mates around, told a few jokes. And I thought that sounded fantastic."


The Boston Globe - August 12, 2001

Glenn Tilbrook is squeezing out some time for a solo career
By Jason Damas

A fter 13 albums and nearly 25 years as part of British pop mainstay Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook has finally decided to go it alone.

For as long as Squeeze has been in existence, it has revolved around the core songwriting duo of Tilbrook and Chris Difford. Difford's wry, clever lyrics were complemented by Tilbrook's quirky yet accessible melodies. Often called the Lennon and McCartney of their generation, they can also be compared to Elvis Costello and XTC, British acts that produced catchy pop records that never sold well in the United States.

For Tilbrook, whose voice is featured on most Squeeze songs (although not on the 1981 US hit ''Tempted,'' sung by Paul Carrack), the decision to go solo was simple. He wanted to tour and play live shows, and Difford did not.

''I don't see anything negative in that at all,'' says Tilbrook. ''I'm very happy with Squeeze and Squeeze's output. I don't completely understand why [Difford] didn't enjoy touring anymore. I love touring still. I don't want to stop doing that. Now I'm in a position where I make records by myself.''

The first of those records is ''The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook,'' out in the United States on Aug. 28. His current tour in support of that solo effort brings him to the House of Blues in Cambridge Tuesday night.

With Tilbrook reenergized after a three-year recording absence from Squeeze, the album is one of the liveliest and most diverse he's produced.

''Squeeze - certainly between myself and Chris - was a series of checks and balances against being too extreme,'' he says. ''The thing that's happened on this album, certainly musically, is that there's more pop/R&B type influence, which was always there from `East Side Story' onwards.

''The more [Squeeze] went on, '' he continues, ''the more I think we limited - and that's not always a bad thing - that sort of experimentation, saying, `Well, that's not what Squeeze is.' On my record, now that sort of joy and experimentation is there again.''

And Tilbrook does shake things up. Whether with the light funk of ''One Dark Moment'' or the Brian Wilson-like harmonies on ''Morning,'' the new album tries to break out of the recent Squeeze template. If the Squeeze albums are workmanlike, ''The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook'' feels like a new beginning.

''I can do what I like on a song like `Interviewing Randy Newman,''' says Tilbrook. '' It reminds me very much of `Take Me, I'm Yours' or `Goodbye Girl,' that kind of `Let's just take a lead and see what happens.' Yet there are still band-oriented performances like `We Went Thataway' or [the first single,] `Parallel World.'''

Many of the tracks are collaborations with other revered singer-songwriters, including Ron Sexsmith and Aimee Mann, whom Tilbrook thanks in the liner notes for helping him ''out of the songwriting cul-de-sac [he'd] driven into.''

''I didn't like any of the stuff I did initially,'' he says. ''So I got Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith and a few other people to write with me, and I was pleased and happy with the results. In so doing, I took the burden off my own shoulders, of expectation, and relaxed to write some lyrics that I'm now very proud of. Chris is a great lyricist, and he's a hard act to follow.''

For the House of Blues gig, Tilbrook will feature Squeeze classics and new material.

''It's going to be just me and my acoustic guitar. Two acoustic guitars - six-string and a 12-string. I'm planning on playing as much as I possibly can. And I'm also planning on not planning. That's one of the things I like about being by myself as opposed to being with a band: that I can make up the music as I go along. I don't like to work with a set list, I like to just see what happens.''


The Boston Herald - Friday, August 10, 2001
Tilbrook squeezes in tour
by Sarah Rodman

After the last few sparks were squeezed out of Squeeze in 1999, singer-songwriter Glenn Tilbrook knew it was time to strike out on his own. In May, he released ``The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook,'' which he's supporting with a solo tour that comes to the House of Blues Tuesday.

``The reason I've never done one before is because I've never felt like Squeeze had run its course,'' says Tilbrook from a Philadelphia tour stop. ``But 13 albums down the line, (songwriting partner) Chris (Difford) didn't want to tour anymore - the last tour, Chris pulled out the day before. I didn't want to be the last man standing in Squeeze, which was how it ended up. So it was just a natural move for me.''

Natural, perhaps, but not necessarily easy. Anyone who went to high school in the '80s remembers the critically beloved Brit new wave pop band's collection ``Singles, 45's and Under'' - featuring hits such as ``Tempted,'' ``Black Coffee in Bed'' and ``Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)'' - as a must-have. But it might surprise some that lead singer Tilbrook was the music man while partner Difford supplied the wonderfully droll lyrics.

``It was a bit daunting for me at first,'' says Tilbrook, 43, of wordsmithing specifically and going solo in general. ``When I started out writing lyrics, I really didn't like any of the stuff that I wrote and I stopped doing it for a bit. That's when I did most of the ones that were collaborations,'' with songwriters such as Aimee Mann, Ron Sexsmith and Chris Braide. After he'd given up, ``that's when I started liking what I did.''

As well he should. ``The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook'' should sound both familiar and alien to Squeeze fans. The rich harmonies and McCartneyesque structure of ``Parallel World'' and the star-crossed lovers invented by simpatico lyricist Mann on ``Observatory'' are classic Squeeze pop, while the minor chord funk of ``One Dark Moment'' and the bizarre techno grooves of ``Interviewing Randy Newman'' are newer experiments.

After four Squeeze albums were released on four different labels in the '90s, Tilbrook is taking the indie route for his solo career and he's ready to rebuild. ``I love making records, I love writing and I also love touring, so I want to keep those three things going,'' says Tilbrook, who does plenty of Squeeze material in his sets.

``For whatever reason, Squeeze's career didn't go the way that we planned it and was in decline for quite a long time, and I don't think we did anything to properly arrest that. Our touring over here became more and more sporadic. What I want to do is put a good amount of time into touring, to establish myself, if you like, really because that's the level I'm starting at and I'm prepared to do that. I want to work.''

Although he's well aware that Squeeze ``never broke through to that next level,'' Tilbrook says, ``every now and then I do hear things that pop through that are definitely influenced by us and I'm very proud and pleased.'' Of course, sometimes he's just hearing things. ``I was sitting having lunch in St. Louis about a week and a half ago and I heard something in the background and I thought, `Crikey that really sounds like me and Chris, that's really sweet.' But then about a minute later the wind changed direction slightly and,'' he says with another big laugh, ``it actually was me and Chris and I hadn't even spotted it.'


The New York Daily News - Thursday, August 09, 2001

Main Squeeze Goes It Alone

Glenn Tilbrook spent most of his 22-year career being compared to either John Lennon or Paul McCartney, but he has only just begun writing songs on his own.

As half of the creative duo that ran Squeeze — the power-popping New Wave band that scored hits with "Tempted" and "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)" — Tilbrook and his writing partner, lyricist Chris Difford, were routinely compared to the legendary songwriters. But Squeeze recently disbanded, and Tilbrook has set out on a solo career with a new album, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook."

Although he shares credit on two tunes with respected songwriters Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith, most of the work is now solely Tilbrook's. He continues to write jangly hooks, but in place of Squeeze's literary cleverness, there are a lot of firstperson love songs and even a goofy recounting of Tilbrook's attempt to interview Randy Newman on a radio show.

"I haven't written lyrics since I was 15," Tilbrook says. "That's not been my area. So finding my voice was a bit harder at first. There are quite a lot of personal songs on the record, but that's just what came out."

His small-scale, intimate shows are receiving positive notices, although more for Tilbrook's charming stage manner than for his new songs. Last week, in Washington, D.C., he invited the audience outside into the parking lot so that he might play his encore under less conventional circumstances.

"I like to do things that are really fun," he says of the show's sudden change of venue. "And anything that will change people's expectations is good."

Tilbrook plays a couple of shows in the New York area this week. Tonight, he's at the Mercury Lounge, and on Friday, he heads across the river to Maxwell's in Hoboken.

Tilbrook has tried to ensure success by keeping his ambitions modest. He recorded "Incomplete" on a small budget in his home studio, working with former Squeeze member Andy Metcalfe. The process was similar to the one that produced Squeeze's last album, in 1999, the critically panned "Domino."

"'Domino,' despite not being the very best record in the world from Squeeze, was the first one to make a profit since 1979, which told me something," Tilbrook says. He's now trying to get away from the bloat of a major label and focus instead on making songs for himself and longtime fans.

"It's just a sort of tremendous arrogance on my part to launch a solo career when I'm 43 years old," he says. "But I love it, and I'm not going to stop."


The Valley Advocate - 9 August 2001
Squeezed Out
By Sean Glennon

Glenn Tilbrook isn't getting things just the way he'd like them these days. And I, for one, am glad.

Tilbrook wishes he could have brought his band over from England for his current U.S. tour. But his forthcoming solo disc, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, is being released by an indie label (What Are Records?) and the tour support budget simply can't absorb that kind of expense.

So, after 27 years of working with his songwriting partner, Chris Difford, both in and outside of Squeeze, Tilbrook has found himself truly on his own, touring in stripped-down, singer-songwriter fashion.

"It's just you and a guitar, then?" I ask him.

"No," he says, taking the opportunity to put his bone-dry wit to work, "it's me and two guitars: a six-string and a twelve-string."

He's been playing shows that way for a couple of weeks now, he said, and is learning to like it.

"I'm enjoying communicating with the people in the audience," Tilbrook says. "In Squeeze, we've never really done that. We just sort of rattle through the songs."

He isn't kidding. Squeeze shows are songfests, pure and simple. Difford and Tilbrook thank their audiences for coming out and leave it at that, making not even the merest attempt at stage banter.

There's also this: One major strength of Squeeze's live sets is that the band performs its masterfully constructed pop songs with incredible precision. No one who's seen Squeeze perform has ever heard a new Squeeze record and thought, "Great songs, but I wonder if they can pull them off live." But, then, one major weakness of Squeeze's live sets is that the band performs its masterfully constructed pop songs with incredible precision. No one has ever left a Squeeze show thinking, "Their records are great, but what I really love is what they do with their songs on stage."

But even with those two guitars at his disposal, Tilbrook by himself can't pull off the careful arrangements that are as much as part of his new songs as they have always been with Squeeze. So the versions of the new stuff and the Squeeze songs he'll be playing at the Iron Horse August 15 will be different, fresher, more intimate than I've experienced before. I like that.
I'm particularly interested in hearing solo versions of the new stuff.

I didn't truly enjoy The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook the first few times I listened to it. I appreciated the record, but appreciation and enjoyment are very different things indeed. And it took a few more spins before enjoyment began to set in.

There was never any mystery as to the source of my initial difficulty with the disc. It's the same problem I've had with the last couple of Squeeze albums, the same problem I've had with any number of records by other veteran pop acts (Elvis Costello's recent work and last year's Go-Betweens record, The Friends of Rachel Worth, are good examples).

The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook is, in many ways, simply too perfect. It's too carefully planned, too meticulously executed.

Tilbrook whose composing/arranging (Difford is Squeeze's lyricist) has always drawn as much on his thoroughness as on his talent, has become downright Bacharachian in his attention to detail. And that, too, has both positive and negative connotations. Burt Bacharach's music is known both for its incredible beauty and for its composer's overwhelming need for control and exactitude.

The arrangements on Incomplete are nothing short of magnificent. Every guitar jangle, every organ flourish, every "dit-dit-dit" and "ooh-ooh-ooh" is perfectly, precisely placed. There's no note where it oughtn't to be, no awkward space wondering what should have filled it. The result is an album that is striking, gorgeous, technically impeccable. But it is also glaringly inorganic. The record has none of the immediacy, none of the urgency one expects from rock 'n' roll.

Still, it works. Indeed, once your ability to enjoy the record kicks in, it works extremely well. But you have to appreciate Incomplete before you can enjoy it.
I'm glad I got there, but I can't stop wondering what these songs sound like stripped down to their essence.
That's something even Tilbrook didn't discover until he started preparing to tour without a band. Although he writes with guitar in hand, or sitting at the piano, Tilbrook doesn't tend to experience his songs as single-instrument pieces.

"When I write, I'll do a whole thing, a whole arrangement," he says.

It's the second part of Tilbrook's writing process -- in which he shifts instrumental parts around -- that really comes forward in this solo setup.

"Later on, when I'm playing [a song] on a guitar, it can end up not being what it started out as," he says. "Some of my favorite guitar things have been written not as guitar parts. I write them for piano or something and when I hear them later, I think, 'That should be a guitar part.'"

The writing and recording process for Incomplete, he says, offered loads of time for shifting parts around. Dissatisfied with the experience of having made Squeeze's last album, 1999's Domino, too quickly, Tilbrook spent a year and a half on Incomplete.

"Every record I do is sort of a reaction to the record before -- with the good and the bad in mind," he says. "What I didn't like about the last record was that we made it in six weeks. So, I thought, this time I'm going to do it right."

It's entirely understandable that Tilbrook wishes he could have brought his band over to show off the results off all that work in their full splendor. Add to that the fact that he gushes praise for his new band's talent and energy and you can't help but feel the guy's disappointment. But then you balance that with the knowledge that Tilbrook is out there working without a set list, connecting to his audiences and presenting a naked glimpse at some of the finest pop songs of the last quarter century. Plus, you have to figure he's gonna get his band to the States sooner or later.

And that means that right now, for this tour, Glenn Tilbrook isn't getting what he wants, but we're all -- Tilbrook and his fans, that is -- getting what we need.


Fox News,2933,32056,00.html
A Squeeze/Crowded House Merger, Maybe, Sort Of

Squeeze songwriter and leader extraordinaire Glenn Tilbrook may form a new supergroup with Tim Finn (formerly of Crowded House), former Pixies leader Frank Black and Lloyd Cole (minus the Commotions).

That's what Tilbrook told me when we spoke yesterday. He was just about to head out to Long Island for a show at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett. Last Wednesday and Thursday he played two sold-out shows at the Mercury Lounge in Lower Manhattan. Solo.

That's right. Because Squeeze is over. After 25 years, Tilbrook and songwriting partner Chris Difford have called it quits.

Even though Tilbrook jokes about Squeeze not having hits, their sparkling repetoire included such gems as "Tempted," "Hourglass," "Pulling Mussels From the Shell," "Cool for Cats," and "Annie Get Your Gun." They leave on record-store shelves such classic albums as East Side Story, ArgyBargy, Squeeze: Play, and Domino.

So Tilbrook is off on his own, promoting a new splendid album on sale August 28 called The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook. You can find it on Quixotic Records. The album includes a couple of classic Tilbrook efforts —"Parallel World" and "This Is Where You Ain't." Plus Tilbrook recorded a cover of someone else's song for the first time ever, called "Other World," by Ben Jones. It's lovely.

If you don't know Tilbrook's work, he and Chris Difford had a moment when they were compared to Lennon and McCartney as songwriters. It was 1982, when East Side Story was released, featuring the biggest song of their career, "Tempted." But Squeeze was always a tad self-destructive, either by design or accident. On "Tempted," for example, the vocal is sung by guest player Paul Carrack. It was his one and only appearance with Squeeze, but remains their legacy. Go figure.

Many of the songs on Incomplete, Tilbrook confirmed for me, are about his 1996 divorce. Since then his wife has taken his two sons, ages 9 and 10, from England to Australia to be with her new husband. Tilbrook tried to stop her in the U.K. courts, then stopped when he realized the damage it was doing to his sons. Now he travels to Australia two or three times a year and they come to see him at least once. "That's what 'This Is Where You Ain't' is about," he told me. "My kids are probably the only ones in the world who count Squeeze and Linkin Park on the same list as their favorite groups."

Performing live and solo, Tilbrook is extremely endearing and funny. He doesn't have a set list, but simply plays the songs he wants to hear. At this recent round of small-club dates he took requests from the audience. On Saturday night in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., this impromptu rendering of his huge song library almost got him into trouble.

"I forgot to play 'Tempted!'" he said. "I got off stage, I was completely done, and I realized I hadn't played it." "Tempted" is usually Tilbrook's signature song, the one he must play and audiences demand to hear at every show.

He combines songs in concert from the new album plus many from the vast and hummable Squeeze collection including "If I Didn't Love You" and "Some Fantastic Place," the latter his favorite of all the songs he wrote with Chris Difford. "And you know what?" he said. "No one missed it."

Well, I'm sure quite a few did. But we won't tell him that. Tilbrook, by the way, returns to the States for more shows in November. Don't miss him.


Washington Post - Saturday, August 4, 2001
At Iota, Glenn Tilbrook, Squeeze'd and Fresh
By David Segal

Moments after bounding onstage for his second encore, Glenn Tilbrook conducted an unusual experiment in live-concert democracy. There were two choices, he explained: option A, which called for Tilbrook to stay put and sing a few more songs, and option B, in which Tilbrook would lead the crowd of 100 or so fans out the front door, around the corner and into the rear parking lot, where he would sing and strum his acoustic guitar on the asphalt.

Option B won in a landslide. That is why, if you happened to be driving up Wilson Boulevard near the Arlington club Iota just before midnight Thursday, you would have spotted something wonderful and bizarre -- a scrum of adults joyously singing "Goodbye Girl," one of a few dozen exquisitely catchy numbers that Tilbrook co-wrote during his nearly 25 years with the superlative Brit-pop band Squeeze. Under a waxing moon, and playing next to a sign that read "Loading Dock and Deliveries," Tilbrook hopped with glee, then made it through "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)" before the owner of Iota politely urged him to wrap it up.

If Tilbrook had then decided to sing in the subway, this audience would have gladly boarded a train. That's a testament, in part, to the enduring appeal of Squeeze, which was among the cleverest and most deftly melodic acts to emerge in the angry wake of punk back in the mid-'70s. Always a favorite with the crowd that fell early and hard for Elvis Costello, Squeeze earned heavy airplay with near-hits like "Tempted" and "Annie Get Your Gun," songs that are among the few of the New Wave era that don't seem dated today. With lyricist Chris Difford, Tilbrook was half of the only writing team of this era routinely likened to Lennon and McCartney.

On Thursday night, the crowd fell not just for the songs, but for Tilbrook. At 43, his voice retains all its gauzy, adolescent warmth and his guitar playing seemed crisp and fleet. A manic and self-deprecating performer, he opened by apologizing for his haircut and claiming, semi-coherently, that he'd swapped tresses with a guy now in prison. "I'm absolutely full of rubbish, as you now know," he added. "This is a train I'm powerless to stop."

The unplugged treatment brought out shades in Squeeze songs that were easy to miss when they were swaddled in keyboards and set to pop beats. Under all that hummable sound, there was genuine pathos -- the unwanted pregnancy of "Vicky Verky," the philandering girlfriend in "Up the Junction," the wife on the brink of chore-driven insanity in "Woman's World." The characters in these songs bear up under their burdens with bittersweet resignation. They search for comfort in whatever shambles are left behind. Singing solo, Tilbrook made the search for that comfort poignantly vivid.

Tilbrook wandered over a lot of territory, including cover versions of the Willie Nelson classic "Always on My Mind" and a blues number by Sonny Terry, which he played just for the guitar break in the middle. And he ranged over the career of Squeeze, which U.S. audiences might be surprised to learn was making albums late into the '90s. At dinner before the show, Tilbrook amiably sifted through the history.

"We had albums in '91, '93 and '95, all of which were on different labels," he said. For whatever reason -- "either they thought the albums were useless or their ad budgets were gone" -- none of these productions was well-promoted. Fed up with the majors, the band released 1998's "Domino" on an independent label. It sold poorly, though it was made for so little money that it became the first Squeeze album since 1979's "Cool for Cats" to turn a profit. Nonetheless, Tilbrook sensed that Difford had lost interest.

"I don't think his heart was in it," he said. "And that was really that for me. And that was really that for Squeeze." The possibility of collaborating again remains; there's wistful fondness in Tilbrook's voice as he describes the day, back in 1973, when he answered an ad taped to a storefront in South London. It was Difford, looking to recruit a guitarist, and claiming that he'd already signed a record deal and was gearing up for a tour of Europe. None of that was true.

"It was my first experience with the vivid imagination of Chris Difford," Tilbrook said, giggling. "He was just an 18-year-old bloke in a bedroom."

The bloke, it turned out, had written some wonderful lyrics, and Tilbrook, then all of 15, realized that he had a gift for setting those words to music. The duo recruited more musicians and took the name of an obscure Velvet Underground album, which neither Lou Reed nor John Cale had appeared on. "It was our idea of a joke," Tilbrook said. "You might not guess it from our music, but we were huge fans of the Velvet Underground."

Now Tilbrook is awaiting the U.S. release of his first solo album, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook," for which he wrote songs, via e-mail, with Aimee Mann and Canadian troubadour Ron Sexsmith. And he's scheming about how to make touring as comfortable and profitable as possible. "My latest idea is to buy a mobile home," he said. "The thing that's bad about touring is checking in and out of hotels, packing and unpacking. A mobile home would eliminate all of that."

On Thursday night, Tilbrook played a handful of his solo songs, which bore many of the signs of Squeeze's lighthearted lewdness, but lacked the lyrical verve of his work with Difford. A song called "Interviewing Randy Newman" was a literal, moment-by-moment retelling of Tilbrook's disastrous BBC interview with the acerbic songwriter-composer. A song called "Sunday Breakfast Treat" was not much more than a recipe for Welsh rarebit. The melody and voice are unmistakably Squeeze, but the songs lack grace and altitude.

In concert, Tilbrook overcame such shortcomings with antic charm and the boldness to jump with both boots into the unscripted. Near the end of the show, he asked if there were any guitarists in the house. There was: A guy named Michael climbed onstage, grabbed a 12-string and performed uncannily fine rhythm work on "Take Me I'm Yours."

It seemed like more than just good luck. Most concerts today are loaded onto hard drives and couldn't be varied without tinkering with software and rewiring the lights. When Tilbrook gets onstage, not even the guy in charge knows what's going to happen next.


Record Collector - July 2001
Short Takes......
Squeezy Listening. "The Incomplete" Glenn Tilbrook in conversation with Daryl Easlea

Glenn Tilbrook is a man with a huge musical past, and a reputation for songs that have become the very cornerstone of Nick Hornby-esque musical culture. To find himself, post-40, embarking on a solo career - not entirely out of choice - is a strange but extremely inspiring experience. He is proud of his work and very much enjoys the live arena (a point on which he and his long-time writing partner Chris Difford disagree). He refers to his erstwhile partner as 'Chris Difford' with an air of detachment that suggests that the two may not be collaborating again in the near future.

Tilbrook's latest album, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook" is a joy - once you get over the fact that Difford's earthy double-tracked vocal is missing. It's a mature album that embraces funk as well as drum and bass stylings, without ever losing Tilbrook's impeccable ear for melody and often under-rated guitar playing.

RC caught up with Tilbrook prior to one of his highly entertaining solo shows in Chelmsford, of all places. Although arriving after being stuck in a tremendous traffic jam, he was affable and talkative, considering he had to get on with his soundcheck just moments after our interview.

Is this album the start of a career away from Squeeze, or are the two going to run together?

I've been doing gigs by myself for 10 years. I've always loved being on stage. Chris Difford doesn't really want to tour that much - certainly not as much as I want to - so that's a bit of a problem for me. It's difficult now for Chris and I to reconcile the different things that we want.
Both of us want to write together, in fact, we wrote together as recently as two months ago. But it's difficult to know exactly what it's for. Without a Squeeze project, there's no home for those sort of songs. So I'm not turning my back on Squeeze, because I could never stop loving it. On the other hand, I am loving the ability to choose what I do by myself. At the age of 43, to suddenly have that freedom is rather nice.

How different a process was writing alone?

It was very hard initially. Throughout my partnership with Chris, he had been the lyricist, so I was used to having that head start. I wrote a lot of songs and immediately scrapped them! I collaborated with a lot of other people (Ron Sexsmith and Aimee Mann, to name but two) and that took a lot of pressure off me. When I relaxed about not needing to write lyrics, I started to write some I really enjoyed.

Had you been writing lyrics all along?

No, not at all. When we got together I was 14 and he was 17, and his lyrics were far and away superior to anything that I could do at that time. Chris is very gifted musically and my natural forte was tunes so we dovetailed naturally without ever really talking about it. I never had a burning desire to write and when you're in a relationship like that, you just get on and do it.

Why did it take so long to complete "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook"?

Initially, I thought I had an album of songs, and then I realised I didn't much care for them. So I recorded another batch of songs. The last record I made before this was the Squeeze album "Domino", and we recorded and mixed that inside seven weeks. For an album that was recorded under those circumstances, it's great, but there is a lot about it that could have been better, had we had more time. The reaction against that was to do this album exactly as I want it.

The album feels very exuberant.

I liked the playfulness and sense of adventure in Squeeze when we got a load of synths in and did "Take Me I'm Yours", although we'd never set our eyes on any synths before, and it sounded good - we were willing to take those sort of risks.

I feel more now that I want to take those sort of risks and experiment with songs - "Interviewing Randy Newman" (Glenn goes d'n'b!) is probably the least like any of the versions of the song I've played live. I'm sure some people will be horrified, but I'm delighted with it. I've been writing dance tracks since 1980, but Squeeze was never much of a vehicle to do that sort of thing. It's hardly going to be cutting-edge dance music, but I think the great thing about music generally is that people like me absorb what's happening and gradually the face of things changes.

Tell me about your label, Quixotic.

A&M tried really hard with us. The last time around, they pulled every trick in the book to get us into the Top 30 ("Heaven Knows" in June 1996). But it felt like a really empty victory for me. Through no one's fault we were being sidelined into a caricature of ourselves. If you don't agree with the people who are selling your records over what they think you are, you end up feeling that you don't want to be in that position any more. The logical step on from that was to see how it all works, what happens, to just experiment - it's been a huge learning curve.

"Domino" was interesting. Squeeze just put it out with nothing whatsoever behind it. It sold modestly, but it was the first of our albums since 1979 to make a profit. We actually got some money back from it, which we hadn't done with any of the other albums. The next step really is getting more people to hear the stuff. I'll be trying a bit more with that on this record. I like the set up, I'd like it to be more successful, but I feel the most comfortable I have done for a while.

Where do you see the album as being pitched? Who is going to buy it?

That's the thing I always have the most trouble with. I've always done music that I love to listen to. There's a lot of people like me who are beginning to be catered for by a station like Radio 2 - people who aren't necessarily exposed to other forms of media who still have something to say.

Don't you still think in terms of chart positions?

I'd love to chart, but I'm not going to lie awake in bed at night fretting about worrying that I'm not. From the very beginning, Squeeze always found it hard to chart, in spite of the success we had. It was always peppered with periods of not being successful, which generally became more and more predominant!

How do you feel about the treatment of the Squeeze catalogue? Are you trying to get your masters back?

I would be happy. Our masters are not very important to whoever it is who owns them. Most of our records are no longer available. It seems a silly position to me to have at least one person, me, and probably Jools and Chris, who in one form or another still promote those records, to not have them available in some form or another. It's something we are looking into at the moment. The easiest thing for a company like Universal is to do nothing. They're not really that bothered about someone the stature of Squeeze. Theywant artists to do big business. Without sounding like a conspiracy theory, I think that'swhy we're getting the mainstream pop music that we're getting. It's easier to market - it's like selling paint or Cornflakes.

Would you be 'tempted' to try to write a No. 1 single for Hear'Say?

It's difficult for me to comment about that. I know a few people who do that. I can perfectly well understand why - and I might do it myself at some point. I could think, here I am playing in a pub, and there are people I could write for potentially that could fill stadiums. You reach that whole market with your songs and the accompanying money wouldn't be bad as well. Orson Welles used to do his sherry adverts so that he could subsidise doing what he did. There's a certain amount to be said for that, but I haven't done it yet. It's not my cup of tea, but I'm not being snobby or horrible about it.

Although you are passionate about your new material, isn't 70% of your audience waiting for "Up The Junction"?

Probably a lot of them are. Common sense tells me that is going to be thecase and I feel happy that I'm not saddled with songs I hate. My legacy of success with things like "Up The Junction" and "Tempted" means I'm very proud of them and although I wouldn't sit downand play them at home, I love playing them live. It sits very easily with me. I've been writing songs for 30 years. There are a lot of songs to choosefrom. I can't remember them all, but if I can a bit of them I will always have a go. I like that unpredictability. I'm now looking forward to the discipline and the passion of working with my band, The Party.

Who have you invited into The Party?

The Party are Stephen Large on keyboards - from a band named Coot. He's just the most gifted keyboard player - and I've worked with quite a few gifted keyboard players in my time. There's Simon Hanson on drums - he's played with Death In Vegas, and Andy Metcalfe, who co-produced the album, who was in Squeeze very briefly. It's great to have him, 'cos he's a rock monster, as am I.

So is this the start of the solo career?
I didn't answer your original question, did I! I definitely see it as a big step in another direction for me, and one that I'm really enjoying.


The Chicago Tribune - 24 July 2001
The complete package

Former Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook thriving with first solo album
By Steve Darnall
Special to the Tribune
Published July 24, 2001

Listening to Glenn Tilbrook's first solo album, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook," one is particularly struck by a track called "G.S.O.H. Essential." In it, the longtime Squeeze frontman chronicles the changes that have happened to both him and his chosen profession over 25 years and talks about why he's still excited to be "loud and clear on MP3," and "running a small shop in the age of the global superstore."

"That was the most difficult lyric for me," the 43-year old Tilbrook says from his London home.

As he tells it, the song is an aural equivalent of "grumpy old man gets teed off, [yelling] `Turn that rubbish down!' to the kids upstairs.

"But then again, there's rubbish and there's always been rubbish," Tilbrook concedes. "Then there's great stuff and there's always been great stuff. The music business isn't the same as it was, but whenever was it?"

A formidable team

That's actually a question one could ask about Squeeze, the British pop aggregation in which the only real constant was the songwriting team of Tilbrook and guitarist/lyricist Chris Difford.

Squeeze emerged from the late '70s punk/new wave movement with a healthy melodic sense and a talent for musically depicting surreal, and sometimes seedy, adventures.

Difford and Tilbrook showed a capacity for both genuine wit ("Pulling Mussels From the Shell" is as perfect a pop song about sexual escapades as was ever recorded) and maturity (e.g. "Woman's World" from their 1981 masterpiece "East Side Story") that eluded most of their safety-pin clad counterparts.

By the 1990s, Difford and Tilbrook had developed their songwriting skills even further: Their 1996 album "Ridiculous" includes both a wistful song about childhood ("Electric Trains") and a harrowing tale of spousal assault ("The Great Escape"). But these songwriting developments happened amid ever-shifting personnel changes in the band and an increasingly clueless and indifferent record industry.

Finally, with the 1999 release of "Domino," Difford, who'd recently won a lengthy battle with the bottle, announced that he was swearing off touring.

End of the road

Two years later, Tilbrook's voice still becomes noticeably subdued discussing his friend's decision.

"I felt sorry for Chris that he was in that sort of stage," he says with a heavy sigh. "The second [reaction] was `What are we going to do?' I felt the lineup Squeeze had was strong, and under the circumstances, it was the right thing to go ahead with the tour [that had been planned]. As it was, in spite of the fact Chris wasn't there -- and I did miss him -- I actually had a great time. The band was tremendously free and spun off into being a bit more of a rock band than Squeeze have been."

Keep in mind that where playing live is concerned, Tilbrook is Difford's polar opposite -- Tilbrook loves being onstage. He has fond recollections of Squeeze's first trip to Chicago back in 1979, despite playing a Moog synthesizer with such determination that the equipment actually fell off the stage. Squeeze and Aimee Mann played a 4th of July show at Grant Park in 1994 when neither act had anything special to promote; three years later, Tilbrook played a solo show at the Park West as part of his "Pub Entertainer" tour, in which he played numerous covers, took requests and invited audience members onstage for duets. (He returns to the Park West for a solo show on Saturday, co-headlining with Marshall Crenshaw.)

Still, when Squeeze finished a series of UK dates with Blondie in 1999, Glenn felt: "It really was time to wind it up. Squeeze was a collaboration between me and Chris, and if he wasn't going to be there, then it's time for me to make a record on my own."

That makes the birthing process of "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook" sound easier than it was. For 25 years, Tilbrook had relied on having a band and having Difford write the lyrics. Now he didn't have either.

"I don't think I'd [written my own lyrics] since I was 14," Glenn recalls. "I've always felt that Chris expressed things very well ... and never felt that need to write. I spent about 2-3 months trying to write and it was not good." Eventually he collaborated with songwriters Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith; those sessions resulted in the multilayered "Observatory" and the Brian Wilson-esque "You See Me."

"At that point, I'd sort of taken the burden of expectation off my own shoulders and started writing some stuff that I knew was working," including the Motown-flavored "This Is Where You Ain't" and the hyper-rhythmic "Up The Creek," which offer a groove-oriented fluidity that wasn't always possible within Squeeze's pop confines. "Now I feel more confident in my abilities as a lyricist."

Tilbrook admits to absorbing his partner's lyrical influences ("I've been influenced by one of the best, and I'm very happy about that"), but it's unlikely that Difford would ever have written anything as directly autobiographical as "G.S.O.H. Essential," or "Interviewing Randy Newman," a true-life recollection of a radio special that saw Glenn on the other side of the microphone.

"I consider myself a fan of Randy Newman's, but I'd never actually researched him and done ... your job," Tilbrook recalls. "I looked at his album chart positions and I thought `Oh, that has a ring of familiarity about it'; all these great albums that basically did [no business]. I was speaking to him about that and he said, `I made all these great records and I thought they'd do well ... and then some people like them. That's the most you can expect.' And it is.

No regrets

But Tilbrook has few complaints about his lot in life. "I'm in love with what I do. I'm in love with touring. I also feel comfortable that my happiness isn't tied up with the fact that I'm successful. It's tied up with the fact that I believe in what I do, and I'm driven to do it and I won't stop doing it.

"Throughout the entire time Squeeze was together -- except for the release of [1999's] `Domino' -- the hope was always that this record would be the one that takes you onto the next level. When that didn't happen, it didn't happen and you can see various reasons why. ...What did happen is that we actually got to sustain a group for a tremendously long amount of time. I'm amazed by that and grateful for that."

"Then we couldn't do it anymore. And here I am," he says with a laugh, "trying to keep myself together."


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 New York Observer - October 30 2001
‘Tempted’ By Rarebit
On a recent morning, as Madison Square Garden prepped for a massive benefit concert featuring creaky rock legends like Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, a small crowd gathered in a corner of Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall to watch Glenn Tilbrook, lead singer of the chirpy 80’s British pop band Squeeze, stand at a small counter and prepare Welsh rarebit. The demonstration was part of the city’s “U.K. with N.Y.” festival, which began on Oct. 14 and runs through Oct. 28.

Mr. Tilbrook, who is 44 years old and has blue eyes, wavy brown hair and pink, jolly cheeks, has (like a lot of his colleagues in the boomer-rocker department) gotten to the point where he looks a bit more believable as a chef than a teen idol. Perhaps this is why, as New Yorkers on their way to work lingered to watch, Mr. Tilbrook put out a hand-scrawled sign on the floor reading: “YES I AM THAT BLOKE FROM SQUEEZE.”

Welsh rarebit, of course, is not the cuisine of Cool Britannia and its Terence Conran restaurants and Ian Schrager hotels. It’s British comfort food—basically cheese on toast. Mr. Tilbrook and his childhood chum Nicky Perry, the owner of Tea & Sympathy, the Greenwich Village teahouse, laid out the ingredients: grated cheddar cheese, stale beer, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, mustard, butter, salt and pepper.

While Ms. Perry vigorously stirred, Mr. Tilbrook conducted his cooking demonstration like a mini rock show. As he poured in the beer, he said, “It’s stale, but there aren’t any cigarette butts in it like I usually find in the morning.” Later, he lay prone on the counter to shake in some Tabasco sauce and, Lagasse-like, had the audience come close and sniff the bowl.

As the bread was toasting, Mr. Tilbrook strapped on his guitar to play “Sunday Breakfast Treat,” a song containing step-by-step instructions on how to make the dish that sounded surprisingly similar to the catchy tunes he and his Squeeze-mates cranked out during the era of Trapper Keepers and Members Only. (Squeeze was the sensible shoe of the 80’s British-pop invasion: milder than the Jam, less pained than the Smiths, brainier than Duran Duran.) “I had never heard of anyone doing a recipe song, and I had this little melody in my head, so I wrote one,” Mr. Tilbrook said of his new composition.

Meanwhile, Ms. Perry kept stirring. “Glenn is obsessed with my Welsh rarebit, but I think his might be a bit better,” said Ms. Perry. “I don’t use the beer, you see, since we are in kind of an A.A. zone with a lot of our customers.”  The teahouse entrepreneur grew up with Mr. Tilbrook in Blackheath, on the outskirts of London, where their affair with Welsh rarebit began at a local tea shop called Jobbins. “I was 14 and Glenn was 15, and we were so broke it’s all we could afford,” Ms. Perry said. Welsh rarebit has been on Tea & Sympathy’s menu since it opened, and Ms. Perry said she used to make trays of it for Mr. Tilbrook’s tour bus when he passed through New York.

“I never have anything else at Nicky’s place,” Mr. Tilbrook said. “And the only place in London to get a good one, besides my kitchen, is Fortnum & Mason.” That’s where he took his girlfriend and road manager, Suzanne Hunt, for her birthday this year, he said. Three guesses as to what they ate.

Of course, half the crowd in Grand Central that morning couldn’t have cared less if Mr. Tilbrook was making baby back ribs, candied yams and collard greens. They wanted to hear him sing “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),” “Take Me, I’m Yours” or perhaps “Black Coffee in Bed.”

“I worked at my college radio station, and I used to follow Squeeze around back in the 80’s,” one woman said. “One more song, one more song!”

Mr. Tilbrook obliged with “Take Me, I’m Yours” while the toast was topped with tomatoes, cut into quarters and served by Ms. Perry’s husband, Sean. Everyone got a piece.

—Sunshine Flint


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.



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.


LAM Magazine - 25 April 2001
This Is Where You Ain't - Glenn Tilbrook

The voice and half of the writing team behind Squeeze, shows he hasn't lost any of his touch with yet another supreme pop moment. Shimmery, sheeny and sweeter than sugar injected straight onto the tongue, the only wrong move could be the title - a jinxing one if ever I've seen one.


The Guardian Guide- Apr 21-27 2001
This Is Where You Ain't - Glenn Tilbrook

After and exhaustive tour of Doncaster, Crewe, St Albans and the picture dome in Holmfirth (really), approximately one half of the genius behind Squeeze releases a radio friendly, well crafted bittersweet paean to life and love - no change there then. But if it ain't broke don't fix it and, apart from a kind of jazzy acoustic edge, this is exactly what you would expect. Track Three, Sunday Breakfast Treat, is the perfect start to a Sunday morning.