Squeeze and the B-52's play the Borgata Friday, July 13, in Atlantic City.
Over the past few decades Squeeze, formed in 1974 in the U.K., has experienced much success, critical acclaim, a worldwide fan base, a songwriting team (Glenn Tilbrook, Chris Difford) that has been grouped in with modern music’s best (Lennon & McCartney, Jagger & Richards, etc.) and a lot of personnel changes.
Despite the line-up changes, the band’s new-wave pop sound has stayed intact over the course of Squeeze’s many albums (including the latest, limited edition 2LP white vinyl release of Live at The Fillmore) and on their numerous sublime cuts — “Up the Junction,” “Black Coffee in Bed,” “Tempted,” “Cool for Cats” and “Pulling Mussels (From a Shell),” to name a mere handful.
The latest incarnation of Squeeze, featuring Tilbrook, Difford, Stephen Large, John Bentley and Simon Hanson, takes the stage at the Borgata in Atlantic City, with the B-52’s, on Friday, July 13. The two bands are currently on the road in the United States on their Summer Dance Party tour.
Tilbrook spoke with Atlantic City Weekly last week. In the following interview, he discusses how he’ll celebrate his 55th birthday in August, recording the first new Squeeze studio record in over a decade, and how Radiohead kicked ass at this year’s Coachella music festival back in April, which Squeeze also performed at.
You'll be 55 in August. How will you celebrate?
I will be celebrating it with my immediate family, my children. The children I have in the U.K. One of them is in Australia so he won’t be there. But, you know, I had a huge party when I turned 50 and I really enjoyed that.
What did you do for that one?
I spent it with lots of my friends and family and had a party in my hotel and then back to my studio. It was quite fun.
You recorded some stuff?
No, no, no, we just danced. Danced and talked, it was great.
How has the Summer Dance Party Tour w the B-52’s been going so far?
It’s been going brilliantly, really good. We’re a good pairing, us and the B-52’s, and the audiences have been going nuts, so that’s sort of confirmation of it really.
How did the name of the tour get chosen?
You know, it’s absolutely lost in the midst of time for me; it certainly wasn’t my idea, no way. But, you know, there are a lot of people that [come to the shows] who spend the entire gig dancing, which is good.
How was playing at Coachella this past April? I would assume it was a little different from the Summer Dance Party Tour?
Yeah, very different. I mean, Coachella was a great eye opener for me. I saw Radiohead there and I was amazed at how brilliant they were. They were fantastic.
And that was the first time you had seen them?
It was the very first time I’d seen for a good about maybe 10 years.
You had mentioned in an interview that you were inspired by Radiohead's show, in terms of incorporating live sound with pre-recorded stuff. Have you tried any of that yet on this tour?
Yeah, totally, and that’s what we’re doing on this tour. We were doing a bit of it beforehand, but we’ve done a bit more of that. You know, I’m not a fan of bands who play everything to tracks — you pretty much get a sense of it will always be the same. But I think if you can choose your moments doing that sort of thing it can be really effective. And also, if you continue to play and experiment as a band and you’re not absolutely locked … you have sections of freedom where you can be more expressive and then it doesn’t get too claustrophobic for a band. I believe we got the balance of that right. On this tour we’re doing some stuff with tracks, but it all feels good, and the reaction from the crowd is really a confirmation that it works properly.
Is it like spoken-word things, or musical parts from old Squeeze tunes you’re using? Or new recorded sounds?
New, recorded stuff. Because, what I’m wanting to do — we’re writing songs now where we’re doing like three new songs live and I very much want to do a record, but, you know, also a record doesn’t mean as much now as it used to. So, my new way of doing stuff is that we’re selling demos on this tour, some new songs and we’re playing the new songs live. And in a way when we release an album it won’t be because of the tour, you know, it’ll be because we’re not touring.
What are the names of the new tunes?
One’s called “Top of the Form,” another one’s called “Tommy,” no relation to the Who’s “Tommy,” and, what’s the last one called? Oh, “Honey Trap.”
Are you seeing long-time fans at the shows intermixed with the younger crowd?
Exactly that, yeah. You know, we’ve been back together five years now and since the first tour we did in 2007 I’ve noticed that the crowds continue to be supplemented by a load of kids, which is great. We didn’t have that when we stopped touring in the late ’90s, that wasn’t happening. We were just old and dwindling, where [now] it appears to be growing.
Is that why you took a break, because it was kind of plain and the same?
We took a break because we were miserable and Chris and I weren’t getting on, we fell out after a while, and I think we’d become really complacent within Squeeze, I’d have to say. And that’s not something you see coming, and nothing that I would have planned for, but it’s only in retrospect that I realized it — that we weren’t as good as we had been.
You had mention that you are writing and working on new songs and you’d love to put out a new record. This is the first time you and Chris have been writing new songs for Squeeze in like over a decade, right?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally.
Is it kind of like riding a bike, or?
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