Squeeze and the B-52's play the Borgata Friday, July 13, in Atlantic City.
No, I found it very, very difficult. You know, we’ve been trying to write for a couple of years, it’s taken. You know, I found there were two areas for me, I didn’t spend a lot of time in my solo career, but mentally I couldn’t get out of still doing that. And indeed I’m still wanting to do that, but what I came to realize is that Chris and I actually have a lot to offer coming from totally different spaces and that our relationship has changed now — for the better, I’d have to say. And we just go get down there and get stuck in and get our hands properly dirty rather than dancing around each other the whole time — that’s the way we can move forward. And now that we’ve crossed that the fruits are beginning to be seen in terms of the songs we like and we can get really excited by.
Do you think that the new songs are more closely related to your separate solo projects over the past 10 years, rather than closer to the Squeeze sound that people know?
I wouldn’t put it in either of those terms. You know, what I found for my being solo is that I found that with my band, The Fluffers, is that I got a lot of energy from that that I hadn’t had with Squeeze. And it was an exciting band. So that’s come back into Squeeze — you know that Steven and Simon from The Fluffers are in Squeeze … so we’re a good unit. But, um, the other thing is it’s about relearning. I’ve had to relearn some old skills. One is, okay, I don’t think there was a single song we recorded in the ’90s that was less than four minutes long. You know, and now I’ve heard it very strictly over the last few years, you know, cut out all the fat. Just go for what you need and what’s necessary and don’t do any more than that. And that’s been a really good lesson for me to relearn. I used to know that and somehow forgot it. And so now, it’s — it’s tight, it’s a tight unit and it’s disciplined and I think it’s focused and all those good ingredients, so you have to always fight for them you can’t just expect it to be like that.
When you mention ‘trimming the fat’ are you talking about verses? Were you doing like 90-verse songs? Or are you talking about music or just the structure in general?
Everything. You know, I think that, that lyrically sometimes you set out to tell a story, you can look at it and it’s like, I think it’s very much like making a sauce —you know, you can reduce and reduce and reduce. And it’s the way that you reduce the detail and how telling that is within a song that, you know, can make a difference. And musically just be aware of what you do and don’t need all the time, just think about — apply those, apply that logic. Then as soon as you got that, do something different.
That’s interesting. I’ve never heard the sauce comparison, that’s really interesting. I guess just be more concise and it’s kind of a good rule to live by.
Yeah, it is. It’s certainly invigorating for me.
I was watching the Rolling Stone interview that you guys did around Coachella and you had mentioned that one of the great things about Squeeze is the ‘intuition’ and ‘thinking on your feet’ aspects of the band. Has that changed over the years with different members?
Yeah, it has, you know, and one of the other things that I grew wary about is that Squeeze, in the end, ended up changing personnel so much. You know, I think there’s been something like forty people who have been in Squeeze at some point or other. You change personnel when you have to, but I don’t want it to be, at this moment in time, I don’t want it to be evolving. I want it to be a settled band because we’ve got a good understanding of each other, we’ve got a good dynamic, and the dynamic works with this bunch of people that we have — not with a bunch of people — it’s not just me and Chris and three other faceless members, you know, who are interchangeable. I don’t want it to be like that. I want it to be contributing, sparky, and people that you can put a name to.
Yeah, and Squeeze has always seemed to be a unit.
Yeah, I think it always was — whether it was getting rid of Jools [Holland] and Paul Carrack coming in and Don Snow coming in, but, you know. By the time the ’90s rolled around we’d lost Gilson, so then it was just me, Chris, and Peter [had] been there, we’d kept on changing keyboard players and we had Paul Carrack back and we had Jools back for a while. You know, we had Steve Nieve in the band, you know, all of those are great, but you just got to keep the focus on what your own identity is and you can’t shape shift too much. It’s seems a bit weird after a while.
Do your children play music?
They do! All of them. It’s funny. My eldest son, Ted, is in a band called Millions and they’re out of Australia and their launching their EP today. … So, they’re touring in Australia and they’re going to come up to the U.K. next June and come out to the U.S. at some point. They’ve got management in place, they’ve got deals, they got record deals, all that stuff. And he’s very seriously independent, to the point where, you know, if I suggested that he play with me they wouldn’t want to do it because it’d be too embarrassing. (Laughing) I understand that.
Any other children play professionally as well?
My 20-year-old, he’s a really good drummer. He’s not got a band at the moment; he was in a band that’s just broken up. My other kid’s nine, yeah, he can sing and play guitar a bit and do percussion. The six-year-old, not yet. They all like it though, that’s the main thing. It’s not all they wanna do, I just like that fact that they like it.
Are there any new albums or artists major or non-major label that you’re enjoying of late?
Yeah, probably my favorite band is Hot Chip. I just love them. I like Beirut, I’ve been liking Beirut and what they’ve been doing now for a few years. … I had almost given up buying records.
Yeah, it’s hard to find record stores these days.
Well, you know, over here I still buy vinyl. I don’t buy CDs, I really don’t buy CDs, I don’t like it — the format. And if I had my way we’d only get turntables again, but I don’t think I will have my way. That would be just me.
I don’t know about that, there are a lot of stores where I’ve seen the evolution, over the past year or two, where CDs are now pushed to the back where the records were and now it’s all vinyl. Whether it’s used or new.
I think CDs are going to gradually disappear and it’s going to be all about — you’re going to have files or you’re going to have vinyl. My way forward that I see at the moment is we just released the Live at the Fillmore album and, you know, I think if you buy that you get a download. I think it’s such a useful art form — the LP and the cover. I’d like to just release everything on vinyl, but give away a download. So, if you haven’t got a record player you can get to hear it, but you also get to hold this thing and, in a way, you can get some of your information … as well as just the music.
Squeeze & The B52s
Where: The Borgata, Atlantic City
When: Friday, July 13, 8pm
How Much: $55
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