Glenn Tilbrook talks songwriting and solo shows as Squeeze approaches 50

As music continues to make a comeback over the last year, one of the most resonating elements of the live concert experience has been the way music brings people together and connects diverse audiences through unusual joint experiences.

“It’s incredibly important. It’s a shared experience. And if we’re lucky, it’s heightened by people experiencing the joy together. It’s irreplaceable,” said the Squeeze singer. Guitarist and co-songwriter says: Glen Tilbrook“The sense of relief that people have when they’re playing is just incredible. It’s an incredible feeling. People missed that communal experience.”

During the lockdown early in the pandemic, Tilbrook returned to his home studio to cover songs. Earlier this month, on his second night at Chicago’s City Winery, Tilbrook put a solo electric spin on Jamaican singer Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop,” along with snippets of Kim Wilde and David Bowie. Squeeze “pulling mussels (From a shell).”

Tilbrook’s solo show is a blast, featuring both acoustic and electric performances, using solo material, Squeeze classics and deep cuts alongside carefully selected covers. During his 2001 tour, Tilbrook frequently took the audience out of the venue, continued playing in places such as parks and fans’ apartments, and then brought them back (as captured in the 2001 documentary). Glen Tilbrook: One for the Road). It was an effort to refresh the predictable concert experience and build relationships with fans during Squeeze’s hiatus.

“I think it’s very important to be connected,” the singer said. “I have no personality. There’s something about performing, but I’m pretty shy, and I think that’s part of me too, part of what comes across.”

in the middle usa tour It lasted until mid-October, with City Winery performances in Washington DC (September 29), New York (September 30, October 1), Philadelphia (October 4) and Boston (October 7). Before Winter Featuring squeeze tour We spoke with Glenn Tilbrook from the UK about his first new Squeeze music in five years with Chris Difford, the ability of the music to move the plot and the idea of ​​Squeeze at 50. And for clarity, follow below.

I read the quote you gave during the interview year 2012: “The song should move the plot forward. I think the guitar solo should move the music forward, not just hang around.” The story was being told without singing. How do you approach the storytelling element of songwriting, the plot, so to speak, through performance?

GT: First, let me answer about the performance. Almost all guitar solos are a lot of work by me. I am not spontaneous. My playing is blues-based. And that’s not really that interesting within a song, as far as I’m concerned.

“Pull the mussels” is a very interesting example. Because we were on tour. He spent most of the year opening for The Tubes, and they had a song called ‘White Punks on Dope’. And it had a kind of very epic, almost orchestral arrangement. did. I can’t analyze my own music, but I know we were poking into the same territory.

One of the things that came to my mind when I read that quote was the idea of ​​a film score. When crafted properly, music can complement a story and set the plot in motion, even without words. Is that the approach you take?

GT: No. But when it comes to film music, it’s very important. I can’t watch movies with bad scores. It annoys me so much. Music should move the plot and move the story.

For example.of elvis The movie Tom Hanks just came out is something of an oddball.It’s a very impressive movie. In fact, sometimes I didn’t believe it. But I believed the feeling. And the music was incredibly smart. I’ve seen it twice now because of the music and what they’ve done to blend them and make them modern. It’s not just copying things.

I would like to say that it was, but it is not. The great thing about writing is that you go where you lose yourself. Be obsessed with what you are doing. I don’t know if I said it on that show, but I do know that I write with a lot of code from time to time. But that’s because I’m so intrigued by what you can do, where it can go, and how it can affect you emotionally. I like it.

I’ve heard a lot of stories about the 2001 US tour, where they often kicked the crowd out of the venue and continued playing elsewhere nearby.i know a lot of it is captured in you One for the Road documentary. But obviously your solo show is different from the Squeeze show. What are you trying to capture with that solo setting?

GT: I think what I was trying to do at the time was to make an impression. And if you can subvert people’s expectations, you can accomplish quite a lot. And just by the act of leaving the building, everyone becomes one. people liked it. And I loved doing it. I won’t do it now. But it is a device for bringing people together. When I bring it back to my room, I am much happier than when I left. And they were delighted from the beginning. So it works – but only if it’s a surprise. As soon as people thought I was going to do it, I had to stop doing it.

I try to describe my professional life myself. Obviously, most of that is due to Squeeze. And all my efforts these days are focused on Squeeze. But I am proud of my solo career. When Squeeze made her third reunion, an incredible amount was to be gained. I never forgot my lesson.

In fact, I think some of the most precious hours of my career were between 2000 and 2008. how to connect with people. And I never lose how grateful I am to have an audience, even if it’s only 10. Sometimes it was 10.

When it comes to songwriting, I know you grew up with jazz. I often hear you go through lists of contemporary artists you are obsessed with. What are you still learning about the songwriting process?

GT: It’s like starting over every time you write something. I think I understand the process well enough. I know I will stick with it. Even if it’s not one day, we know something will happen. It may take him two or three days to reach his destination. But it will come.

Like I said about “Pulling Mussels” being influenced by The Tubes, it’s incredibly influenced by what you’re listening to at a particular time. And my role is to make it Squeeze-friendly.

That’s why you said you were on stage in Chicago working on new music for Squeeze. How has that process shaped so far?

GT: We’ve only done one song so far. Chris is currently writing and I expect him to write in December, January and February. What I really want to do is make a new Squeeze record and at the same time release a new Squeeze record of his full of songs he wrote 50 years ago. I think the comparison points are good and interesting. It would also say something… ie 50 years? It’s not real to say the least.

We were writing at such a fast pace at that point that we had new songs, so we threw out a lot of the really good stuff – and always ask for new songs. It’s a statement about our writing and how durable it is. Yet there is something unmistakable that runs through everything we have done.

You played the song “Food For Thought” in Chicago. In the meantime, I think I heard you say “shameless politicians.” I’m thinking about when you were famous in 2016 Thoughts televised for [then U.K. Prime Minister] David Cameron on affordable housing, public housing. Clearly, the world remains very fluid in turbulent times. Do you think the madness of the last few years will show up more in your songwriting this time around?

GT: As you know, I can only speak from the British standpoint. And it seems to me – we feel like we lost something along the way. I think this was an economically insane move. But compassion and thoughtfulness seem far from our political stance. And it’s depressing. i’m obsessed with this. I don’t want to be bored or bored about it. But I think it’s important for artists to speak so they can talk about life and politics.

You mentioned the idea of ​​a 50 year old Squeeze.Obviously there have been starts and stops and ups and downs – but what does partnership with Chris mean to you – after nearly 50 years it’s still What is continuing, productive and moving forward?

GT: It means the world to me.

we are very different people. I don’t think we are – we’re not really even friends. But I think we respect each other. We respect our differences. And we make it work. I feel incredibly lucky to have met him. I don’t know what my life would have been without Chris. But we met. And even now, sparks fly between us. This is great.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimryan1/2022/09/29/glenn-tilbrook-on-songwriting-and-solo-shows-as-squeeze-approaches-50/ Glenn Tilbrook talks songwriting and solo shows as Squeeze approaches 50

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