MOJO - Review
Tempting new music from ever-affable Mr Tilbrook.
This follow-up to 2001's The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook finds the singer/guitarist settling in nicely to musical life without longtime Squeeze mate and collaborator/lyricist Chris Difford.
Recorded in numerous UK and US locales (hence, presumably, the title), the collection nonetheless hangs together on the strength of Tilbrook's most dependable qualities- shining on brightly vocals and a pop-smart knack for finely detailed melodies-and-hooks embroidery.
While the infectuous Untouchable and the breezy There For Her conjure up welcome memories of past triumphs, others composed solely by Tilbrook show him moving forward- most notably, with the adult themed Hostage and Domestic Distortion, concerning a disconnected father and child's tentative reunion.
Don't fret too much about ageing perspectives, though: any album that features songs called Hot Shaved Asian Teens and Genitalia Of A Fool can't be too serious.
(Awarded 3 stars out of 5).
Lame Records - Review
Glenn Tilbrook - Transatlantic Ping Pong
Fabulous, surprisingly strong 2004 solo release from the Squeeze man
(well, one of them, at least). After 30 years producing finely-crafted
pop vignettes with Chris Difford and Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook`s got
nothing left to prove. Before you even put Transatlantic Ping Pong
on the CD player you KNOW it`s going to be packed with neat tunes,
tasteful harmonies and lyrics that tell real stories of real people.The
good and bad news is, of course, that there are no surprises here.
This is a surprisingly fresh and solid outing."
4 1/2 stars...
his second solo album and his best record in a long, long time. Simultaneously
looser and more focused than Incomplete, Transatlantic finds Tilbrook
returning to the hooky, direct power pop of the best Squeeze albums,
but instead of sounding like a retread or a last grasp for glory,
he sounds comfortable, as if he knows this is the sound that suits
him best. Most important, it sounds like he`s having fun, and that`s
the sentiment that rules the album. It`s not just that the music is
bright and catchy, the sound of a top pop tunesmith working at full
strength; it`s that the songs themselves are often larks.... that
kind of boozy, good-time humor is evident not just in the words, but
the raucous, full- bodied performances that make Transatlantic Ping
Pong a joy on the sheer sonic level. Plus, those off-color jokes are
tempered by the fine craftsmanship of songs like "Untouchable"
and the bittersweet "Ray & Me," both of which are bolstered
by the lively performances and recording, and the whole thing winds
up as his most likable and alive record in quite some time.
the June 22, 2004 issue of USA Today
Glenn Tilbrook, Transatlantic Ping Pong (***)
Question: Are Hot Shaved Asian Teens and Genitalia of a Fool the
a) popular video rentals b)recent Howard Stern segments or c) songs
on Tilbrooks new CD? If you guessed c, theres
no need to explain that the former Squeeze frontman hasnt
lost his, um, cheeky sense of humor. Luckily Tilbrook has also retained
his sweetly plangent tenor and keen melodic savvy, as more wistful,
winning tracks such as Untouchable and Ray & Me confirm. The
singer/songwriters occasional indulgences in blue-tinted humor
are hardly offensive, but blue-eyed soul continues to be his strong
suit. -- Elysa Gardner
Charming performance from true professional Glenn Tilbrook, Ferneham
Charismatic and dynamic singer/songwriter Glenn Tilbrook charmed the
friendly festival crowd with an energetic and professional act. Backed
by excellent musicians on keyboards, drums and bass guitar, Tilbrook's
arrangements are crisp and tight, the lyrics refreshingly intelligent
and shrewd. Words like "chagrin" and phrases like "genitalia
of a fool" sparkle in feel-good pop songs that are cleverly constructed
with catchy riffs and driving rock rhythms. During his acoustic solo
spot, Tilbrook completely discarded the safety net of microphone and
amplifier, and wandered nonchalantly into the auditorium, singing
and playing guitar in the darkened and delighted audience without
missing a note. The former Squeeze frontman clearly enjoyed himself
with a varied range of sounds, from the funky "Stop For A Minute"
through the soulful "Black Coffee In Bed" to the perceptive
new single "Untouchable".
13th annual Gosport and Fareham Easter Music Festival gets better
EVENING NEWS 5/5/04
Glenn Tilbrook and Band, The Venue ****
Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford were among the greatest songwriters
never to take the world by storm. Tilbrook may be writing solo now,
but his performance last night was in no way half measures. Backed
by a stonking, heavyweight trio - the thunderous Lucy Shaw on bass,
Stephen Large on keyboards and Simon Hanson on drums - Tilbrook, his
songs and his, previously hidden, exceptional guitar skills had the
audience alternately hushed and listening or singing their heads off.
On Goodbye Girl, he wandered amongst the crowd acoustically with the
band, and the audience almost drowned them out. Naturally, songs by
his old mates Squeeze featured prominently, but for every Up The Junction
or Take Me I'm Yours, there was a new number, including his latest
single, Untouchable. And, for sheer entertainment and energy - he
MAIL MUSIC : GLENN TILBROOK TWA TAMS, PERTH, MAY 6 2004
May 16 2004
The former Squeeze singer/songwriter and his fantastic band played
an excellent two-hour show.
Opener Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) and songs from Tilbrook's
new album Transatlantic Ping Pong were well received, as were solo
versions of Some Fantastic Place and Goodbye Girl.
Tilbrook then grabbed his guitar and led the crowd on a march around
Perth. When they re-appeared, Tilbrook was in a shopping trolley.
Squeeze classics Tempted, Another Nail In My Heart, Hourglass and
Up The Junction rounded off an excellent gig.
Artist Glenn Tilbrook
Album Title Transatlantic Ping Pong
Date of Release Jun 8, 2004
4.5 Stars from allmusic.com
Splitting from longtime songwriting co-partner and musical partner
in crime Chris Difford rejuvenated Glenn Tilbrook, leading to a good
solo debut in 2001 with The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook and a subsequent
never-ending tour that found the former Squeeze frontman playing seemingly
anywhere and everywhere for a good three years. This constant activity
pays off on 2004's Transatlantic Ping Pong, his second solo album
and his best record in a long, long time. Simultaneously looser and
more focused than Incomplete, Transatlantic finds Tilbrook returning
to the hooky, direct power pop of the best Squeeze albums, but instead
of sounding like a retread or a last grasp for glory, he sounds comfortable,
as if he knows this is the sound that suits him best. Most important,
it sounds like he's having fun, and that's the sentiment that rules
the album. It's not just that the music is bright and catchy, the
sound of a top pop tunesmith working at full strength; it's that the
songs themselves are often larks. A few songs explore some regret
over the past most notably on "Hostage," where he
meets up with a former lover/partner, and "Domestic Distortion,"
where he comes to grips with his adult child but they're surrounded
by songs filled with jokes. While some of those display the trademark
dry wit of Squeeze, more often than not these are dirty, filthy jokes,
like rewriting a country standard for "The Genitalia of a Fool"
and turning on a disco beat for "Hot Shaved Asian Teens,"
which may not be any more vulgar than a typical spam e-mail, but certainly
is a bit of a shock coming from Tilbrook. But that kind of boozy,
good-time humor is evident not just in the words, but the raucous,
full-bodied performances that make Transatlantic Ping Pong a joy on
the sheer sonic level. Plus, those off-color jokes are tempered by
the fine craftsmanship of songs like "Untouchable" and the
bittersweet "Ray & Me," both of which are bolstered
by the lively performances and recording, and the whole thing winds
up as his most likable and alive record in quite some time.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine
December 2002: Viper Room Los Angeles
by Kimberly Mack - PopMatters Music Critic
Glenn Tilbrook practically skipped onto the tiny red-curtained Viper
Room stage in Los Angeles, California. Dressed in a simple red and
white T-shirt and jeans and carrying an acoustic guitar, Tilbrook
dove heartily into a performance that showcased the depth and breadth
of a two-decade-plus career with Squeeze as well as his own solo foray.
Despite a rather nasty flu that caused Tilbrook to cough in between
songs and sweat more than is customary at your average unplugged rock
show, he joked, danced and emoted his way through a veritable treasure
trove of hits.
mostly performed songs from various points in Squeeze's recorded
history rather than his own solo material. The audience was barely
warmed up before he began a passionate and particularly poignant
version of the pop ballad "Up the Junction" from 1979's
Cool for Cats. This song is one of Squeeze's more lyrically sound
pieces, a song that belied the young age of its creators, with lyrics
like: "I worked eleven hours / And bought the girl some flowers
/ She said she'd seen a doctor / And nothing now could stop her."
and "Alone here in the kitchen / I feel there's something missing
/ I'd beg for some forgiveness / But begging's not my business /
And she won't write a letter / Although I always tell her / And
so it's my assumption / I'm really up the junction."
After a joyous rendering of the bouncy pop fun of "Piccadilly"
from 1981's East Side Story, during which he insisted on audience
participation, Tilbrook launched into a hilarious rant about VH1
and Squeeze's place in its history. ". . . First we were on
VH1. Now it's VH1 Classic . . . What's next? VH1 Are You Still Alive?"
Tilbrook went on to discuss Squeeze's wariness, at first, of the
music video form and how uncomfortable they were when they made
the video for their 1982 hit "Black Coffee in Bed". He
commented about a Billy Squier video he saw, just a few days earlier,
for "Rock Me Tonite", and commiserated with how difficult
it was to make music videos in the 1980s that weren't campy or silly.
Tilbrook's unexpectedly literal imitation of Squier in that video
Although he was under the weather, Tilbrook's vocals were as beautiful
as ever. There was the occasional croak, but those moments were
overshadowed by his energy, humor and passion for the music, his
music. During the blue-eyed soul of "This Is Where You Ain't"
from his 2001 solo album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, his voice
was clearly hoarse, but that somehow only added to the emotion of
the song. In fact, it seemed he found a way to use the hoarseness
of his voice to carry the audience to another level of emotional
connection to his work throughout the night. To
say the mostly middle-aged, mostly male crowd was appreciative of
Tilbrook's efforts would be a huge understatement. Through their
eyes, the true impact of Squeeze's music could be seen and felt.
Of course there were younger fans in attendance: a trio of young
men, no more then 25, right up front and a young woman with pink
hair who knew every word to every song, but it was clear that the
bulk of the audience grew up with Squeeze. This was evidenced by
the fact that there was never silence in between songs or even your
usual hoots and hollers. There were song requests -- and not just
a song or two or the same songs -- the requests were many and varied.
During each break a different fan had a different song they wanted:
"Tempted", "Is That Love?", "Goodbye Girl",
to name just a few.
Tilbrook sang songs from many different albums, though mostly from
Squeeze's first four studio releases. However, he did perform a
few songs from 1987's Babylon and On -- the lovely melodic ballad
"Tough Love", the up-tempo pop song "Footprints"
and the hit "Hourglass", which was performed with much
enthusiasm and featured more audience participation in the form
of hand claps during the break in the song.
of the evening, and there were many, included a slowed down, sexy,
almost bluesy version of that ode to masturbation "Touching
Me, Touching You" from Cool for Cats, which Tilbrook happily
introduced: "I still identify with it now!" The utterly
gorgeous mid-tempo pop of "Is That Love" from East Side
Story and the distinctively English, Beatles-esque "Slightly
Drunk", also from Cool for Cats, were beautifully executed.
During "Take Me I'm Yours", from Squeeze's debut album,
U.K. Squeeze, Tilbrook demonstrated an impressive fluency on the
guitar, and the soulful pop of "Tempted", the song that
broke Squeeze in the United States in 1981, whipped the audience
into an excited frenzy.
For an encore, Tilbrook performed the timeless "Pulling Mussels
(From the Shell)" and "Another Nail in My Heart"
from Argybargy. And after the last lyric was sung and the last note
sounded, a woman behind me said, "Wow! And that's what he's
like when he's sick." Indeed.
8 January 2003
TILBROOK: THE MEMORIAL PUB TOUR
27 May 2002, The Bluebird, Nashville (USA)
In America, there are several things that you normally do on Memorial
Day. You can throw a barbecue party, have a picnic, participate in
a veterans parade, or, if you were in Nashville this year, you could
have gone to The Bluebird Cafe to see Glenn Tilbrook, with Steve Poltz
as the opener. Being the intrepid KindaMuzik reporter that I am, I
forced myself to give up the trip to the cemetery and ponied up to
join another 150 people (believe it or not, a full house) to sample
some bottles of Bass Ale and enjoy a very relaxed and often funny
show. My duty was clear.
Tilbrook's been touring the country on his "pub tour," living
out of an RV and playing nothing but tiny venues, and Nashville was
the last stop before returning to the UK.
First up was Steve Poltz, who I knew mainly as the writer of Jewel's
You Were Meant For Me and Everything About You, off of the Notting
Hill soundtrack. The manic Mr. Poltz was a fun surprise, offering
some bouncy and jaunty tunes, but his big strength was his humorous
introductions and the sense of humor present in his songs, as when
he turned the Jewel song into a "guy's song" by replacing
the line "Break the yolks, make a smiley face" with "Break
the yolks with a goddamn fork." An accomplished acoustic guitarist,
he also has a distinctive voice and was a real blast. He dedicated
Waterfalls to Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and did a great version
of the Prince song, complete with a perfect rap. Not bad for a slacker
After a short intermission (if only all shows were like this), it
was time for the unpretentious and affable Mr. Tilbrook, who delighted
the faithful with a full cross-section of his career. From Take Me
I'm Yours, off of the first Squeeze album, and Touching Me Touching
You, Goodbye Girl, and Up The Junction from their second LP, Cool
For Cats, he also touched their more quiet periods, playing Truth
from the album Play and Melody Motel from Frank and did a song from
Some Fantastic Place. Still, he managed to include most of the fan
favorites as well: classic songs like Is That Love, Tempted, Black
Coffee In Bed, Another Nail In My Heart, as well as the lesser commercially
known great songs like Vanity Fair, Labelled With Love, Vicky Verky,
and Separate Beds.
Tilbrook also covered songs from his solo career, including a fine
song that he co-wrote with Ron Sexsmith called By The Light Of The
Cash Machine. My favorite was the hilarious rave-up Interviewing Randy
Newman, in which he describes the second "panic attack"
of his life, which came about when he interviewed Newman for BBC Radio.
The song details the perils of thinking that you've done your homework
as an interviewer and then totally blanking when confronted with the
interview subject. Drop-dead funny and a little uncomfortable
much like watching a train wreck.
Tilbrook's been inviting audiences to venture outside the venues for
impromptu campfire singalongs, and tonight was no exception. We all
wandered out to the parking lot (I think that Glenn was taken a little
aback by the non-exuberant nature of the Nashville audience), and
there we were treated to a rousing audience singalong of Pulling Mussels
(From The Shell), with him grinning when we came to the more difficult
bits. Never has a song with such a charming metaphor for cunnilingus
been sung before in a Nashville parking lot at least I don't
think Hank ever did it that way.
It's amazing how many great songs Tilbrook has had a hand in writing,
and the solo venue offered a great chance to experience the depth
and breadth of his output. Having said that, he still managed to find
time to "squeeze" in several covers: from a shouted-out
request of Wichita Lineman, to another request for Willie Nelson,
which he complied with by doing a charming version of You Were Always
On My Mind, complete with a Willie-esque, halting, Spanish-tinged
guitar solo. Plus, he called Steve Poltz back onstage to sing the
song that he co-wrote with Elvis Costello, From A Whisper (To A Scream),
which was a nice surprise.
Tilbrook has one of the most distinctive and evocative voices in pop
music, and it's well served in the intimate confines of the smaller
"pub." He hasn't lost a step, and his voice is still playing
those serpentine games that has made him one of pop's greatest tunesmiths.
One nice touch is that Tilbrook always asks for applause from the
absent Chris Difford, and tonight was no exception.
His label is Quixotic Records. Instead of a donkey, he's riding an
RV across the land (the mechanical beast being a bit of an ass, according
to him). Instead of Pancho Villa, he has his manager Suzanne, and
instead of windmills, it's memories that he's tilting at. Sweet dreams
are made of this indeed.
by Dave Weil
Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, Canada
SQUEEZE PLAY - GLENN TILBROOK NEEDS THE STAGE BY ANDREW YATES
Glenn Tilbrook at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Wednesday (May 15).
The rv speeds down route I5 on the U.S. West Coast. A road sign reads
"Portland 50 miles," and the soundtrack blares Squeeze's
Cool For Cats.All of a sudden the camper starts to cough black smoke
and vibrate, and a Brit-accented voice bellows, "Bloody hell!
What's going on?"
The voice is Glenn Tilbrook's, and he's reacting to yet another tour-bus
breakdown. The scene could wind up being in One For The Road, a documentary
about Tilbrook that's currently in production. He's the singer songwriter
best remembered for his work with 80s new wave band Squeeze, and he
brings his solo show and his newly repaired RV to the Horseshoe Wednesday.
"I'm nowhere near the peak of my career. I'm completely aware
of that," says Tilbrook. "I hope the film shows that it's
possible to make a way for yourself."
Humble words from a man revered by many for his pop craftsmanship,
who's collaborated with the likes of Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello
and Richard and Linda Thompson.
But Cool For Cats was released in 1979, and new wave is history. A
recent bout of 80s nostalgia hasn't moved Tilbrook to envision a Squeeze
reunion, but neither does he plan to quit making music and touring
any time soon.
"I'm not in a position where I could give up working, but I also
enjoy touring. I want to tour for the rest of my life. The interesting
thing is that I've had kids come up to me who know nothing about Squeeze.
They've stumbled across my record and played it on their college radio
But even if some people are stuck in the past when it comes to Tilbrook,
his marketing methods are very present-tense. You won't hear him on
the radio or on MuchMusic. He takes full advantage of the Internet
to get word out about concert tours and new recording projects.
"My primary business is to let people know about me. The Internet
has been fantastic for bringing people together to support my work.
The record companies even use it to find people who will put up flyers
for my concerts."
When it comes down to promotion versus piracy, the former always wins
out for Tilbrook.
"It's one of those things where technology has run ahead of the
law, so we've got to get used to it. Now it's up to the artists to
make the packaging more interesting. We've got to make the shows more
He's spent the past eight years working on his solo performances,
and promises there will be lots of Squeeze songs alongside solo tunes
and covers when he hits the stage with his acoustic guitar.
"My shows are full of improvisation," sells Tilbrook. "They're
full of people talking to me and me talking to them."
Tilbrook: A Laughing Matter
by Scott Tribble
Part 1: Songwriting & Humor
You dont often come across a rock star as self-deprecating as
Glenn Tilbrook. But, for a man who holds humor in such esteemboth
in his life and in his musicits not surprising that hes
willing to poke a little fun at himself.
his first solo album after more than 20 years in the business, The
Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, the former Squeeze front-man delivers
first-rate pop-rock whimsyof which hes frequently the
subject. Whether recalling embarrassing encounters with musical
idols (Interviewing Randy Newman) or confessing to dance-floor
inadequacies (Up the Creek), Tilbrook, writing the words
for the first time in his career, serves up lyrical wit to match
his typically-engaging melodies.
It was Tilbrooks knack for crafting memorable hooks that made
Squeeze one of the most successful Brit-pop acts of the 1980s and
90s. Setting music to band-mate Chris Diffords lyrics,
Tilbrook moved across a wide stylistic range, from the blue-eyed
soul of Tempted to the androgynous synth-pop of Take
Me Im Yours. Many Squeeze songs remain radio favorites
to this day, including the seminal "Pulling Mussels (From the
Shell)," "Black Coffee in Bed," and "Cool for
Squeeze went on hiatus after 1998s Domino, Tilbrook has performed
intimate acoustic shows for audiences worldwide. Musician.com caught
up with Tilbrook at one of his recent tour stops and spoke with
him about his songwriting process and the sanctity of humor in rock
Musician.com: So hows the tour going?
Tilbrook: It's great! While I love playing with a bandI
love the pool of talent [associated with having] a bandone
of many things that I got from my talent shows [in the past] was
that I never had the chance or ability
.to establish more
of a show than a recital. That's what I'm doing now and have been
doing for the last seven or eight years.
Musician.com:: Lets talk about your songwriting process.
I understand that, when you were with Squeeze, you preferred to
have finished lyrics from Chris Difford before you came up with
Tilbrook: That's the way we first wrote without ever really
talking about it. It worked and we never changed itnot even
ending up changing it, but we never really talked about changing
it because it worked.
Musician.com: Did Chris present his lyrics to you with general
ideas for sound or style? Take Labelled With Love [from
1981s East Side Story], for instancedid Chris indicate
that he had written the song with a country sound in mind or did
you simply hear the lyrics that way?
Tilbrook: Second way, actually. Chris never really indicated
anything to me [with respect to the sound]. With Labelled
With Love it really just came from the context of the lyricit
suggested it reallythat just sort of came out.
Musician.com: What was it like composing your own lyrics
Tilbrook: I found it very hard at first
far along and I sort of thought, Well, I can't do it.
And I gave up doing it and said that I would co-write the songs
that I needed
. The first lyric I wrote off this album was
for Interviewing Randy Newman and I figured, Ive
got the hang it of it [now]. As soon as it worked, when I
realized I could in fact [write lyrics], it gave me confidence,
and that's very much how it goes. I now know that I can do them.
Musician.com: Where did you turn for inspiration? Were your
lyrics fictional or based on personal experience?
Tilbrook: I found myself writing about things that Id
. Chris Difford was an enormous influence on
the lyric writing. Although he wasn't involved in any of [the songs
on Incomplete], he was sort of a shadow behind me. The best of Chris'
lyrics always had a ring of truth about them. The only way I knew
actually approach songs was from the few things that I
Musician.com: Are the words and music coming in conjunction
these days or do you still prefer to have the lyrics finished before
you start composing?
Tilbrook: Some of it is coming in conjunction. I probably
do still prefer to try to write a lyric first. When it has happened
together, that's great.
Musician.com: Can you give some examples of songs where the
lyrics came first and where the words and music came together?
Tilbrook: Again, I would use Interviewing Randy Newman
as a good example of a lyric that I definitely
I wanted to
tell that story and that sort of all tumbled out. After re-writesquite
a lot of re-writesit made proper sense.
a song like This Is Where You Aint, where the
music and the lyrics came together. That song is about my son leaving
for Australia. I very much wanted to write about thatbecause
I saw him taking off on a plane, and it was really horrible. I wanted
to stress that feeling in a more balanced way, and the tune came
at the same time.
Musician.com: While some of the songs on Incomplete do deal
with serious topics, humor, for the most part, is present throughout.
For you as a writer, did humor serve to diminish the tension of
writing lyrics or did it spring from something bigger, as in some
idea of great pop music not taking itself too seriously?
Tilbrook: I think a lot of stuff that I've always liked has
had a sense of humor. It's not necessarily stuff to make you laugh
out loud. It's an attitude. I don't know. It's really strange to
put in words why I feel that way. I like laughing, and I like treating
serious subjects, but I think Randy Newman summed it up by saying
kind of the opposite, when he said: No one ever wrote a song
about something they didn't like by saying This is bad.
And I think, too, that humor can be a disarming device. You know,
drop your guard and say things that, said in another way, can be
Part 2: Great Pop Songs & The Future
are the ingredients of a great pop song, in your mind?
Tilbrook: You know, I don't know. I am the most useless person
for analyzing why I like something. And in a way I'm quite glad
about that because...you know...some songs just get you. It can
be any number of things that you like. For instance, Prince still
had my favorite album of last year, but my favorite record was [by]
. [It was just] a whole bunch of party songs
[sampled] on that record, but they changed the color of the instrumentals,
changed the vocals
I didn't listen to it that way when I heard
itwhat I heard was a great record. It wasnt the lyrics
that got through to me, but the sound. Yet, when I hear something
like Common People by Pulpits a great song,
but the lyric is what makes it a great song. Having a sense of humor
is also very important
Musician.com: Can you give some examples of other pop songs
over the years that you have considered greatfor whatever
Tilbrook: Well, from the 1950s, [songwriters Jerry] Leiber
and [Mike] Stoller were brilliant. I think the stuff they did in
Jailhouse Rock [starring Elvis Presley]... well, Jailhouse
Rock, the song, that's a very familiar song. It takes elements
of Black R&B quite cleverly. I think quite a lot of their writing
seems to be headyI don't think they're just intuitive writers.
And combine that with a lyric that's witty and funny.
From the 1960s, [Procol Harums] Whiter Shade of Pale.
Because the classical influence in rock hadn't been done before.
It was a time when a lot of boundaries were being pushed back. A
lot of barriers were redefined after that point, and it's one of
those songs with a tactical influence. Three years before, it was
impossibleyou could have never done something like that. I
think we're still doing stuff like that now, and that shows the
influence that it had.
I think Stevie Wonder was the most significant thing for me in the
1970s. What they did with sound on those records
sense of musicality and adventure was terrific. It's hard to [pick
one song]..."You and I" from Talking Bookthats
a very advanced tune. One step away from cabaret, but on the right
side of it.
I think Prince was the man of [the 1980s] for me. I think he took
a lot of risks and chances while he was commercially-successful,
which I really admired him for. The track Under the Cherry
Moon, I think, is a lovely song. Rubbish film, great song!
For the 1990s, Venus as a Boy by Bjork. Again, the creeping
in of dance music for me. Dance music is always been something that
I've really loved
so you hear a lot of that in what I do.
Bjork managed to combine dance music and songwriting.
Musician.com: Whats next for you? More solo recording?
Getting back with Squeeze?
Tilbrook: Well, I've already started recording shows that
I'm doing. I'm recording some in Britain and Australia... I'm going
to do a live album. The way that I play guitar and sing [on this
tour], Ive never done on a record before.
I've also started writing for my next record, too, so I'm very definitely
going to be doing another one of those. I'm not sure yet what this
[next] one's going to be like. As for Squeeze, I'll never close
the door because I love it too much, but I can't see any circumstances
with us getting back together in the near future.
Bluebird can't contain Ex-Squeeze frontman
By John Moore
Denver Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 29, 2002 - Leave
it to a man on crutches with a severely sprained ankle to lead a
singing walkabout along East Colfax Avenue.
what genial former Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook did Wednesday
night, about an hour into his concert at the Bluebird Theatre, at
a time of night when bands 20 years his junior are typically making
a beeline for the beer.
Tilbrook plodded onto the Bluebird stage before a sparse house of
about 150 for his "RV Tour," a solo acoustic evening recounting
the early days of Squeeze in stories and songs, through his recent
release, "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook."
But the "RV Tour" has been cursed. On May 12, Tilbrook
missed a step on a stage near San Francisco. He was supposed to
arrive in Denver early enough Wednesday to host and hoist a pint
or two with fans at Pint's Pub. But his RV broke down, forcing him
to take an early-afternoon flight from Salt Lake City. (He came
back to Pint's late Thursday night.)
Squeeze's creative peak
The unpretentious Tilbrook regaled the crowd with tales, and offered
his opinion that Squeeze actually reached its creative peak long
after its commercial apex with 1981's "East Side Story."
He played old songs such as "The Truth" and covers of
Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans" and Jimi Hendrix's
"I only cover artists that I have a great deal of respect for,"
he said before claiming to have played guitar with Hendrix in Tilbrook's
bedroom when he still lived with his parents. He satisfied Squeeze
fans with most every hit from the band's most popular album, "Singles
- 45's and Under," including "Take Me I'm Yours,"
and "Up the Junction."
He paid repeated homage to Chris Difford, the former Squeeze lyricist
who moved some fans in the U.K. to compare the songwriting tandem
to to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
It was an altogether pleasant but unremarkable evening until Tilbrook
surprised the uninitiated with his signature concert "move":
He asked them to go with him for a walk. Because he can't walk on
crutches and play guitar at the same time, he handed his guitar
over to a man in the crowd who promised he could play Squeeze songs
- and delivered.
Before long the Bluebird had emptied out onto Colfax, with Tilbrook's
new mate playing "Is that Love," the newly energized crowd
shouting along. They all then crossed the street and overtook the
Goose Street Tavern. With the Bluebird crowd mixing with the stunned
tavern crowd, Tilbrook stood on the bar and led a rousing "Goodbye
Girl," with the booth-dwellers standing on the tables, swinging
and singing along. It was a very U.K. moment. The next song, the
Mamas and Papas' "California Dreaming," could be heard
a block away, with the crowd's choral contribution unnervingly well-sung.
After more laughs, Tilbrook led the crowd back to the Bluebird (with
many of the bar-hoppers in tow), where he picked right up where
he left off, though he apologized for not playing one of Squeeze's
most popular songs, "Cool for Cats," "because I can't
sing that low."
He ended his set with the quintessential Squeeze song, "Tempted,"
then returned for the lovely Ben Jones ballad "In My Other
World," and "Pulling Mussels From the Shell," which
had the crowd on its feet and Tilbrook departing with one crutch
raised in triumph.
Sounds: Glenn Tilbrook completes `Incomplete' - 2002-04-12
by Claude Flowers
9 p.m. Thursday at the Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle.
Actress and author Carrie Fisher once declared, ``No matter what
happens to you, it's probably worthwhile if you get a good story
out of it.'' Something frightening happened to former Squeeze vocalist
Glenn Tilbrook, but he certainly got a good story out of it.
In 1999, The British Broadcasting Corp. asked Tilbrook to interview
Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman. The affable singer accepted
the job. Having spoken to hundreds of journalists about his own
career, he assumed he could reverse roles and talk professionally
with a peer.
His subsequent panic attack is recounted in the tune ``Interviewing
Randy Newman,'' one of 15 cuts on his new album ``The Incomplete
Glenn Tilbrook'': ``All the questions that I thought would flow
just sailed right out of my head/ And in the hour that followed,
I huffed and bluffed my way through a pool of sweat.''
``I felt so dreadfully embarrassed about my inept performance when
I interviewed him,'' Tilbrook said by telephone. ``Writing that
song was the only good thing to come from that experience.''
Like much of Tilbrook's work, ``Interviewing Randy Newman'' simultaneously
mocks and consoles human weakness. Another ``Incomplete'' track,
``This Is Where You Ain't,'' seems to reference his departure from
Squeeze after decades with the group. The chorus laments, ``This
is where we had some fun/And this is where we played/And now the
fact I have to face/Is that this is where you ain't.''
Tilbrook explained, ``It's about my kids. When my ex-partner and
I split up, she met an Australian guy, and now they live in Brisbane,
Australia... It was very hard to come to terms with my boys living
that far away. (The song) was written one time after they went back
home. I'd been to the airport to say goodbye to them, and it was
``I worried that I'd fade away in their eyes, and I'm very fortunate
that that hasn't happened.''
Nor should Tilbrook fade from the eyes and ears of his supporters.
His voice retains its full range, and he's enjoying his craft more
than ever. His King County appearance will be a one-man show, a
format he's grown to love.
``It was really, really scary when I started. A band is like a security
blanket, so not having it there was very daunting, but good for
me, because I learned about talking (to an audience) at last. I
used to not say more than just, `Thank you very much, this next
song is called...' That was about it.
``I've always loved gigging, but it's different to be by yourself.
It makes you super-aware of what you're doing... It was like discovering
I had another tastebud. I know loads of songs, so for me, it's about
going out and seeing what happens. I know that at certain points,
I want to play certain things, and if I get fed up, I just do something
else. The show changes, and I like that.''
He certainly has a lot of material to draw upon. Squeeze's 1982
greatest hits disc ``Singles: 45s and Under'' is an abbreviated
but enchanting document of the band's early accomplishments. Its
opening tracks ``Take Me I'm Yours,'' ``Goodbye Girl,'' and ``Cool
For Cats'' sparkle with ragged energy and a wry sense of humor,
qualities soon honed to perfection.
1979's ``Up the Junction'' established Tilbrook and company as master
craftsmen. From its snappy opening drumbeat to the despairing final
verse which gives the song its title, ``Up the Junction'' is a classic
tale of love at first sight made tangible by small, realistic details.
``Tempted'' and ``Black Coffee in Bed'' offer velvety blue-eyed
soul. The exuberant ``Another Nail For My Heart,'' ``Pulling Muscles
(From the Shell)'' and ``Annie Get Your Gun'' stand as high water
marks of the new wave music era. 1987's ``Hourglass'' and '88's
``853-5937'' became Squeeze's best-selling discs, but to truly understand
the group's magnificence, ``Singles: 45s and Under'' must be savored
from start to finish.
Tilbrook is not simply one of the preeminent talents of his generation.
He's one of the finest singer-songwriters in all of rock and roll.
Don't miss him.
Evening News - Tue 19 Mar 2002 - Cliff
is cool for all-new Tilbrook
Rory Ford previews The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
ONE thing that we can credit Sir Cliff Richard for is his influence
on Squeezes Glenn Tilbrook.
"I pestered my mum into taking me to the cinema," recalls
Tilbrook of Summer Holiday.
"It was just the thought of being able to tour in a double-decker
bus and then get out and have all these people swarm up to you and
dance around you. To my five-year-old imagination it just looked like
the best job ever.
"I just thought it was always like that," laughs Tilbrook,
"and, to an extent, it is. Even now when I tour America I use
a big recreational vehicle - which is sort of like a bus - and every
time I get out Im surrounded by adoring people - well, in whatever
quantities they may be."
Dont look for any buses outside The Liquid Room when Tilbrook
plays there tomorrow. This is a strictly one-man acoustic tour to
promote his album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, a collection of
typically arch songs that prove time hasnt done too much to
dull the wit of the man who co-wrote such classics as Cool For Cats
and Up The Junction.
Previously, Tilbrook hadnt written much outside his partnership
with Chris Difford in Squeeze - so he got in touch with some of his
favourite songwriters. Fortunately, for Tilbrook, he has excellent
taste and the album boasts collaborations with spindly American songstress
Aimee Mann and miserablist Canadian Ron Sexsmith.
Still, no matter how good Tilbrooks new songs are he must realise
hes always going to be performing to a hard core of people who
have turned up to hear Pulling Mussels From The Shell?
"Yeah, but I dont find that annoying really," says
Tilbrook. "I feel that the stuff we did in Squeeze was some of
my best work so I still really enjoy playing them."
Currently, Tilbrook runs his own record label, Quixotic Records, and
is struggling to get his album distributed. "Its a battle
to sell my own album for £14.99 in a shop which is selling a
Squeeze Greatest Hits album for less. If I was a punter going in Id
probably choose the Squeeze record," he admits.
Glenn Tilbrook, The Liquid Room, tomorrow, 7.30pm, £10 (plus
booking fee), Tel 0131-225 2564
Evening News - Thu 21 Mar 2002 Glenn Tilbrook ****
A man and his music is more than enough
Drew McAdam reviews The Liquid Room
EVERYBODY was there to see ex-Squeeze star Glenn Tilbrook, so it seemed
unlikely that the support act would stand much of a chance. But as
soon as pint-sized Canadian songbird Sarah Hamner launched into her
set she had the crowds undivided attention - and rightly so.
The audience was instantly drawn to her, mesmerised by the song-poems
which she delivers in a sweet and luscious voice that, while it has
the purity of Dido, can drop to the lower end of the range without
any loss of clarity.
While Hamner adopted a low-key approach, Tilbrook hit the stage running
and didnt let up for one sweat-drenched minute.
Taking the stage to a smattering of applause, he announced: "Glen
Tilbrook: a man and his music". With a mischievous twinkle in
his eye, he admitted it was a lousy introduction befitting their lousy
applause. "Lets try it again with enthusiasm this time."
The second time he bounded on stage the audience went wild. He had
won them over, and he kept them on his side for the next two hours.
It was typical Tilbrook. He may not take himself too seriously, but
he has a mighty respect for the music and his audience.
Best known for his work with Squeeze, Tilbrook is rarely out of the
public eye with gigs and appearances on albums by Elvis Costello and
Mark Knopfler among others.
His performance radiated enjoyment and fun, and he lifted the spirits
of the audience with only his powerful voice and a semi-acoustic guitar
to deliver some mighty fine tunes. Its a set that was funny,
amusing and entertaining, but left more than enough room to demonstrate
his rich talent.
His obvious comfort at being on stage is reflected by the fact that
he has no set list, preferring to ask for requests. Only occasionally
deviating from this format, he dips into the track list of his first
solo album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, to offer a selection of
numbers, all delivered with nifty guitar work and powerful vocals
The between-number banter takes some beating, too. A lifelong fan
of The Monkees, he tells how he was a guest at one of their shows
when Davy Jones introduced him to the crowd as a member of The Sweet.
Naturally, a member of the audience then requests Ballroom Blitz.
And so it goes. Amusing anecdotes, banter with the audience, and some
stunningly great songs delivered with style and feeling. Tilbrook
oozes confidence and charisma, hauling the audience along with him.
Then, just when you think youve just about got the measure of
the man, he launches into a spectacular acoustic version of Hendrixs
Voodoo Chile which drew tumultuous applause from the crowd.
Of course, all the old Squeeze classics were in there, too. The rip-roaring
Up The Junction and Take Me Im Yours had the whole place singing
along, with the charismatic Tilbrook grinning at them from the stage.