Feature - 09/21/2001
Squeezing Out A Solo Career
By Dan Leroy
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?
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."
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.
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
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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
- 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 DiffordSqueeze's lyricist extraordinaire, the Ira Gershwin
to Tilbrook's Georgeone might fear that 'The Incomplete Glenn
Tilbrook' might be a too-accurate title.
best songs here"This Is Where You Ain't," "G.S.O.H.
Essential," "One Dark Moment," and "Up the Creek"
among themare 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
- Tuesday, September 11, 2001
The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook,
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.
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."
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."
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."
guy, nice songs: The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook won't make any waves,
but what's wrong with a little old-fashioned pop craftsmanship?
- August 28, 2001, 12:00 PM
Artist Of The Day
A Quixotic Venture: Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook Goes Solo
By Bradley Bambarger
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."
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.
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
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."
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
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.
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.
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
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).
to glenntilbrook.com or quixoticrecords.com are kept well-informed
about Tilbrook's activities, and North Americans can buy his new
disc direct from war.com. According to GM Ted Guggenheim, W.A.R.?
plans an array of Internet-related promotions.
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
Magazine (USA) on 6th August
(in the 'worth a listen' column): The Incomplete Glenn
Tilbrook - Glenn Tilbrook (Quixotic)
lush, lovely and literate pop, including a confessional about "Interviewing
Randy Newman" from one of the main Squeeze men.
Squeeze fans would hope for from Tilbrook's solo debut, proving
that he can do it without Chris Difford.
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
Washington Post - Friday, July 27, 2001
"The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook"
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
25 years of Squeeze his debut solo album.
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. * * *
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.
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.
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.
a recent solo acoustic show in Manhattan in support of his record,
Tilbrook talked to Playback's Erik Philbrook about going it alone.
Squeeze AlbumsPlayback: Was it liberating for you or daunting for
you to do your own album?
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.
there something different that you wanted to try musically on this
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.
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."
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.
writing songs for this record, which came to you first: musical
ideas, thematic ideas, or lyrical ideas?
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.
would you best explain the title of your album, The Incomplete Glenn
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
has been the response to your solo outing here in the States?
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
sounds to me like you're enjoying the solo life musically. It's
a fine album.
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
the long time include the recording of it as well?
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.
the songs on the acoustic disc the demos?
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
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.
one was that?
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.
arrangements and production include little things here and there
that you don't expect.
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.
unfair to compare but how would you say the new album might differ
from a Squeeze album?
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.
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?
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 ...
also sounds like a good attitude to life, for keeping sane in the
music world this long, one would need a GSOH ...
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.
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.
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.
yet the music is still the main thing.
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
a musician's life get easier as time progresses?
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.
I believe is part of the thinking behind "This Is Where You
indeed. My boys live in Brisbane, so when they go home or when I
go home from there, it's always horrible.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
out the lyric sheet -- you might be amazed!
then, whenever you're playing nearby, why must people come to see
your live show?
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?
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.
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").
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.
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."
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.
I had to do was ..." Suffer?
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'."
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
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."
Boston Globe - August 12, 2001
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
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
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.
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.''
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
Tilbrook reenergized after a three-year recording absence from Squeeze,
the album is one of the liveliest and most diverse he's produced.
- 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
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.''
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.
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.'''
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.''
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.''
the House of Blues gig, Tilbrook will feature Squeeze classics and
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.''
Boston Herald - Friday,
August 10, 2001
Tilbrook squeezes in tour
by Sarah Rodman
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.'
New York Daily News - Thursday, August 09, 2001
Main Squeeze Goes It Alone
By ISAAC GUZMAN
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."
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.
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."
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
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."
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.
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."
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
"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."
Valley Advocate - 9 August 2001
By Sean Glennon
Glenn Tilbrook isn't getting things just the way he'd
like them these days. And I, for one, am glad.
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.
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.
just you and a guitar, then?" I ask him.
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."
been playing shows that way for a couple of weeks now, he said,
and is learning to like it.
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."
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
I write, I'll do a whole thing, a whole arrangement," he says.
the second part of Tilbrook's writing process -- in which he shifts
instrumental parts around -- that really comes forward in this solo
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.'"
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.
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."
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.
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.
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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.
Collector - July 2001
Squeezy Listening. "The Incomplete" Glenn Tilbrook in conversation
with Daryl Easlea
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.
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.
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
this album the start of a career away from Squeeze, or are the two
going to run together?
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.
different a process was writing alone?
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
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.
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
The album feels very exuberant.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
you still think in terms of chart positions?
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!
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.
you be 'tempted' to try to write a No. 1 single for Hear'Say?
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.
you are passionate about your new material, isn't 70% of your audience
waiting for "Up The Junction"?
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.
have you invited into The Party?
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.
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
Chicago Tribune - 24 July 2001
The complete package
Former Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook thriving with first solo
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
"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
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.
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."
- 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.
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
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!
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. ****
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 Stations Vanderbilt Hall to watch Glenn Tilbrook,
lead singer of the chirpy 80s British pop band Squeeze, stand
at a small counter and prepare Welsh rarebit. The demonstration
was part of the citys U.K. with N.Y. festival,
which began on Oct. 14 and runs through Oct. 28.
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.
rarebit, of course, is not the cuisine of Cool Britannia and its
Terence Conran restaurants and Ian Schrager hotels. Its British
comfort foodbasically 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.
Ms. Perry vigorously stirred, Mr. Tilbrook conducted his cooking
demonstration like a mini rock show. As he poured in the beer, he
said, Its stale, but there arent 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.
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 80s 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
Ms. Perry kept stirring. Glenn is obsessed with my Welsh rarebit,
but I think his might be a bit better, said Ms. Perry. I
dont 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 its all we could afford, Ms. Perry said. Welsh
rarebit has been on Tea & Sympathys menu since it opened,
and Ms. Perry said she used to make trays of it for Mr. Tilbrooks
tour bus when he passed through New York.
never have anything else at Nickys place, Mr. Tilbrook
said. And the only place in London to get a good one, besides
my kitchen, is Fortnum & Mason. Thats where he took
his girlfriend and road manager, Suzanne Hunt, for her birthday
this year, he said. Three guesses as to what they ate.
course, half the crowd in Grand Central that morning couldnt
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, Im Yours
or perhaps Black Coffee in Bed.
worked at my college radio station, and I used to follow Squeeze
around back in the 80s, one woman said. One more
song, one more song!
Tilbrook obliged with Take Me, Im Yours while
the toast was topped with tomatoes, cut into quarters and served
by Ms. Perrys husband, Sean. Everyone got a piece.
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.
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.
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.
Week - 14 April 2001
Is Where You Ain't - Glenn Tilbrook
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.
Magazine - 25 April 2001
This Is Where You Ain't - Glenn Tilbrook
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
Guardian Guide- Apr 21-27 2001
This Is Where You Ain't - Glenn Tilbrook
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.