Coog Radio Interviews: Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze [Coachella, Breaking Bad & SNL]

Squeeze Photo: Rob O Connor

Hosted by Davis Mendoza Darusman; Special Guest Glenn Tilbrook

 

 

Davis Mendoza Darusman (Coog Radio):
Good morning and welcome. My name is Davis Darusman and our guest today has earned himself quite the introduction I’m about to read off. In addition to being the lead singer and guitarist of the legendary English pop band, Squeeze, our guest and their songwriting partner have been hailed as “the heirs to Lennon and McCartney’s throne” back in the early eighties, and they’ve even had Johnny Depp perform on their solo track “Too Close To The Sun. I’m very happy to thank Glenn Tilbrook for speaking with us today. Hi, how are you doing today?

Glenn Tilbrook:
I’m good. Thank you very much Davis. I’m feeling really good and looking forward to our tour.

DMD:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, Glenn, I mentioned in my introduction that you and your songwriting partner, Chris, were hailed as “the heir to Lennon and McCartney’s throne,” but in the late eighties, you revealed how the pressure to live up to that comparison actually served as a massive distraction eventually leading to the band’s first breakup. And so my question is just how did these comparisons sort of derail the bands course?

GT:
I think we just, looking back at it, I think we had five years of intense work and we got a bit tired and didn’t really know how to stop it except to stop the band altogether, you know? Definitely. It was a lot of work. I’m not complaining, you know, we got some really great times, but, you know, we need to take a break. So that’s what we did.

DMD:
Right. And so what, what’s something that you’d say you’ve learned from dealing with that surmounting pressure that you would like to pass on to our college listeners?

GT:
Okay. Well, I think one thing I definitely learned is to just, do what we always did before and we’ve done ever since. I say you must, must satisfy yourself, first of all, if you’re going to do anything of any worth, I think you don’t think about an audience, you don’t think about how people are gonna receive it – this is just my own experience, I know different people work different ways – but I’ve always wanted to excite me when I write and that’s, that’s the thing that drives me forward. And you know, enough people have liked the results for me to think that it’s not a bad way to work.

DMD:
I think a lot of, a lot of college students, especially we, a lot of us do it for our parents and you know, a lot of us do it for our friends and so it’s, it’s good that you mentioned that we should, you know, we’re here at the end of the day for ourselves.

GT:
Exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Too true.

DMD:
And speaking of young people, this is, I wonder if you get this question, but in 1982 Squeeze was the musical guests for a Saturday Night Live episode hosted by the youngest ever host, Drew Barrymore. And that’s a record that still stands to this day.

GT:
Wow. She was amazing.

DMD:
Yeah. I mean we watched the episode and the musical performance was awesome, but also like Drew Barrymore, she was seven years old.

GT:
Yeah, no, she knocked it out of the park, as you say.

DMD:
What was the band’s reaction when, when you first heard that the host of your episode was going to be, you know, the seven-old-star of the movie ET?

GT:
Well, you know, she had a tremendous amount of drive and personality then. I’d never, I’d never met anyone like, I don’t think I’ve met anyone like her since. So you know, it was, it was great. It was great fun. The cast were fantastic. I think Eddie Murphy was on the show at the time. You know, it was just a, it was a great thing to be involved with.

DMD:
Yeah. And it, it looked like a lot of fun too. Yeah. But I bet the after party wasn’t as fun as it would be for, I don’t know, say Mick Jagger or…

GT:
*laughter*

DMD:
Barrymore’s having quite that party at seven.

GT:
Oh yeah. Well yeah, she had her issues as we all have.

DMD:
And for a band, you know, that’s been putting albums out since 1978 squeeze recently released their highest charting non compilation album in the UK just less than four years ago in 2015. So how does it feel to be creating and performing music that’s still very much relevant to this date?

GT:
Well, you know, it felt really good to, you know, we did Cradle to Grave in 2015 and we had The Knowledge out in 2017 and that pair of albums, you know, some of the best work Squeeze has ever done. And also, it feels really good to recall with this band, with this lineup, you know, and now we are seven piece, so we’re bigger and better!

DMD:
In previous interviews, you say that the current band would stand shoulder to shoulder with any of the previous lineups and renditions. We’re definitely excited to see them on September 18th! I’ve got a couple more questions for ya – hope you’ve got the time!

GT:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

DMD:
And so, you know, this modern relevance as you know, brought Squeeze to the stage of America’s largest music festival, Coachella, back in 2012. And so what would you say, is the biggest difference, besides the music of choice, between playing music festivals that you play in the eighties and a festival that’s, you know, very millennial heavy like Coachella?

GT:
You know, I think that festivals have come on a bit now. They’re now part of the culture that in a way that they weren’t really in the eighties, it took a while to find out for people to find festivals they could trust and go to and rely on. You know, I know that there are things like Newport Jazz Festival, going on the years, but, I think, you know, across the U.S. and indeed across the world, there are now festivals or established places where people trust the booking policies and trust that they’ll, they’ll have a good time and be looked after – unless it’s the Fyre Festival.

DMD:
Of course the Fyre Festival – wouldn’t want you playing in anything like that, but lot more recently though, you’ve played British Summer Time just last year and y’all had the opportunity to go on stage before Roger Waters of Pink Floyd performed.

GT:
Yeah, it was amazing. Well, he played the amazing shot and I must say we weren’t bad either.

DMD:
Yeah, of course! And so, we did a bit of research, right, and so we found this connection and wanted to ask, were you able to reconnect with Roger Waters since your work on the soundtrack for the 1986 animated film “When The Wind Blows,” which I know y’all collaborated. I know you put on some music for, for the film, but I know he was also with the score.

GT:
Yeah, well before his set he was busy. I think he was busy rehearsing, some people who came out and sang with him. So he was pretty much wrapped up in work the whole time. So I didn’t get a chance to say hello.

DMD:
But something that we know that you did work on is that Squeeze provided the song “Up the Junction” to the mid-season finale for season five – last season – of the AMC hit show breaking bad. And that was during one of the most pivotal moments of the show. Where you all fans of the show, how did, how were y’all approached with this?

GT:
*laughter* Honestly with my two eldest sons, that brought me such brownie points at the time we were in Breaking Bad, you know, I basked in reflective glory at least a year after that. It was fantastic. I was very much a fan of the show and I thought, yeah, of course. Well Walt is a Squeeze fan. Of course he is!

DMD:
How could you not be?

GT:
And so yes, what was it? So season five ended with that, and then season six started with another Squeeze song, “If I Didn’t Love You” from the same party.

DMD:
That’s right.

GT:
So that was great. It was really lovely.

DMD:
Just taking that in. Great show and you’re there. That’s awesome. Well thank you. Thank you so much for joining us today! You can catch our guests performed with squeeze and special guests, eighties punk band X, on September 18th at Warehouse Live here in Houston. Glenn Tilbrook, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure.

GT:
Hey, thank you so much Davis, It’s been a pleasure talking to you.

DMD:
Absolutely. Have a great day.

GT:
And you.

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