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Squeeze at the Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2017

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Squeeze is on a roll. Again.

The venerable British group, which is in its third era after regrouping again in 2007, has yet another new lineup and has reeled off a pair of fine albums -- 2015’s “Cradle To The Grave” and this years “The Knowledge” -- during the past three years. The songwriting team of Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford is as clever and creative as ever, mixing rich melodic sensibilities with lyrical invention about everything from their partnership to political concerns to, on the new “Please Be Upstanding,” erectile dysfunction.

Squeeze has been through fits and starts throughout its 43 years as a band, but in 2017 it’s as potent as it’s ever been, and proud of it...

• Tilbrook, 60, says by phone that while most of Squeeze’s hits came during its first phase from 1978-83, the past 10 years have been particularly enriching for the band. “When we got back together for the third time in 2007, we spent, like, five years playing old stuff,” he says. “I’ve been really inspired by seeing Brian Wilson and his band and the level of care and detail into what they do. I thought if we can do that with Squeeze it can be something, and then we can find out how the future will be. It took awhile for me and Chris to get on the same page as far as writing was concerned, but I think ‘Cradle To The Grave’ was a really good album, and I think (‘The Knowledge’) is better.”

• Tilbrook does feel, however, that “The Knowledge” was “one of the hardest (albums) I’ve ever done. We had an 11-day period with a new band; You’re hearing the band play together for the first time on this record, and it was a gamble. It was a lot of pressure on me to make that pay off ‘cause we only had just under a two-week period to pull through both demos and finished tracks.

and I was really pleased to walk away from it thinking we’ve done the very best we can do. But by the end it felt easy, and I was really pleased to walk away from it thinking we’ve done the very best we can do.”

• Squeeze has had 25 musicians come through the lineup over the years, but Tilbrook feels that in this lineup “there’s a broader scope of musicianship. Yolanda Charles is a phenomenal bass player with her roots in jazz, which I’ve always loved. I think that gives us such a broad palette to draw on. The band has always been versatile, and I’ve always loved different types of music, so we can incorporate that even more into what we do.”

• And about “Please Be Upstanding?” “That came from Chris Difford’s fertile mind,” Tilbrook says with a laugh. “That was one of the last songs e wrote for the album, and as soon as I read the lyric I thought it’s so great to talk about it. I’ve just turned 60. Chris is 63. These issues and others are coming to accost us whether we like it or not, so why not sing about them?”

• As Squeeze approaches the 40th anniversary of its first album in 2018, Tilbrook says he’s able to see the passage of time, and the benefits from it. “Chirrs and I met 45 years ago, and we had 20 years’ worth of rock ‘n’ roll to refer to. It was still young,” Tilbrook recalls. “It was 1973, and I had such a lot to learn, musically. There’s a cultural assimilation that goes on when you love music, and a lot of inspiration comes from the least expected places. So that’s one of the great things about the entire 40-year journey is that I’m nothing like that person that started out, yet there’s a similarity and an enthusiasm and inspiration, and that’s the thing that runs through it all.”

If You Go:

• Squeeze and John Wesley Harding

• Sunday, Nov. 26. Doors open at 7 p.m.

• Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.

• Tickets are $39.50 in advance, $45 day of show and $75 reserved.

• Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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