the squeeze reader

Packet of Three Squeeze Picture of the Week:

Monday, August 15, 2005

Squeeze to reform for one-off charity gig? And other notes from Chris interview.

It's good hear Chris' voice again! BBC Radio interviewer Alan Thompson, who admits that he's a big Squeeze fan, ran Chris through the paces, asking him more or less to the chronological story of Squeeze on the BBC Radio Wales show "I Write the Songs." Chris obliges in his always charming way, informing us that he thinks he wrote a better song than Glenn about their falling out, Chris' next albums maybe a recording of his stage show and a jazz-inspired album, Francis Dunnery really brought Chris out of his performance shell, and he's trying to bring the members of Squeeze together for a one-time reunion at a charity gig next year.

Listen within to the show at the BBC Web site. They generally keep things up for about a week --- you have until next Saturday to listen.

Here are some notes that I took while listening to the show on Saturday. Notes in Italics are my thoughts and notes in quotes are direct quotations from Chris.

  • Chris started writing songs at 14. He knew he wanted to write songs from an early age, 10 years old.
  • He just recently wrote a song called “The finishing line” about someone who was breaking up and running a marathon.
  • Alan Thompson asked Chris if he ever wrote time signatures in the lyrics he gave to Glenn. Squeeze Reader’s note: Hasn’t Thompson ever heard of meter?
  • “God blessed the relationship we had.”
  • Chris was torn between the Stones and theBeatles, because of two older brothers. “Between two footballteams, two wives, always between two things.”
  • “It was great to concentrate solely on lyrics.”
  • Difford and Tilbrook’s first song was “Hotel Woman.” It was a terrible, slutty song.
  • Chris can “still write until the cows come home.” He wishes he could do more writing. He left it for a while to manage other people, because he needed to do so financially.
  • The first version of “Take Me” was recorded in Wales with some BBC symphonic people and with a lush arrangement. It still exists somewhere.
  • Squeeze Reader’s note: Alan Thompson likes to ask questions about Difford and Tilbrook in present tense. This is an interrogator’s trick to get more precise detail from the subject, but should that really go out over the air like that?
  • “I could have put more of myself in the songs, but I left it up to Glenn because I was lazy. And I trusted him.”
  • “Cool for Cats” was done in one take, and it was Chris’ demonstration of how the lyrics should go. The music came before the lyrics. Each verse is taken from a different Benny Hill TV show. He was embarrased to sing it, because he got “cheesed off” singing the lyrics. He loves it now.
  • Miles Copeland thought “Up the Junction” would never be a hit. It went to number 2. Squeeze Reader note: This explains a lot, really.
  • Chris never read the letters he got in the early days of Squeeze, but if you go to his Web site today and write to him, he’ll respond to you.
  • Why do Americans like Squeeze? Chris think the Americans like that kind of “picture postcard” writing. Anything with Englishisms in them, Americans appreciate that, more than English people do.
  • Tempted was written in a cab on the way to the airport to depart for a tour, with Chris knowing that he would end up cheating on a girl that he loved. And he didn’t want to cheat.
  • It was a shock that Labelled with Love came back as a country song. They thought about giving it to someone else to cover because Squeeze isn’t a country band, but Elvis Costello insisted Squeeze record it.
  • How come no one covers Squeeze? Because the songs sound like Squeeze.
  • Letting Keith write for the albums were done for diplomatic reasons, not artistic ones.
  • Squeeze is no more. Chris says that Glenn has laid so much groundwork in his solo work that he wouldn’t want to go back. Chris would want to get together for “the right reasons.” He is trying to get them together for a charity gig next year.
  • Francis Dunnery gave Chris the confidence to go out on stage and start singing.
  • Chris thought the song about him on Glenn’s last album was unnecessary, but thinks that his song about their break up (“No Show Jones”) is better.
  • Chris’ next album, due out in September, leans toward jazz, though it is not strictly jazz. He also will have an album of his live story-telling show.
  • Chris’ two favorite Squeeze songs are “Letting Go” and “Some Fantastic Place.”
  • They discuss individual songs in detail: Some Fantastic Place, Wrong Side of the Moon, Pulling Mussels (from the Shell), Tempted.

These are just my quick notes. Chris is a lot more charming in the interview, so I encourage you to listen.