Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Glenn Tilbrook

MENTION the name Glenn Tilbrook and most people will immediately think of the pop band Squeeze.
The Woolwich-born singer songwriter rose to fame with the group which was formed in Deptford in 1974.
Together, Glenn and friend and fellow Squeeze member Chris Difford were responsible for penning some of the catchiest songs to grace the charts - including the likes of Tempted, Cool For Cats and Up The Junction.
But after an astonishing 13 albums the group went their separate ways in 1999 after 25 years together.
It gave Glenn the breathing space to throw himself into a solo career which saw him release two albums, one of which featured actor Johnny Depp on guest vocals, and form another band, The Fluffers.
But there was clearly unfinished business when it came to Squeeze and in 2007 the band reformed releasing a greatest hits album and going on tour.
Since then Glenn, who still remains true to his South London roots, has continued to work on a variety of solo and other musical projects.
He's just back from a two-month tour of America, has a new album to promote and is catching his breath before he sets out on a string of dates across the UK - including at Blackheath Halls on Saturday, December 14.
"Life is good," he says. "In fact it's pretty amazing. I've just got back from America where I went all over the place. At one point our driver said we'd done about 13,800 miles in six weeks. Unbelieveable!
"Now I'm doing a two month tour of the UK which I'm really excited about."
It's an eye-watering schedule but for a pro like Glenn it's par for the course and as we chat it's clear he has lost none of the passion and enthusiasm for the job which he says is the best in the world.
"It's great fun being on the road and exploring," he enthuses. "There really is nothing like it and I'm very lucky because people still want to come and listen but it can be exhausting," he admits laughing.
However, his latest outing is with neither Squeeze nor The Fluffers or indeed as a duo with Chris. Instead it is a totally stripped back solo affair.
"Touring on my own is quite liberating," he says. "I love being in the band but it's nice to do things on my own from time to time and I realised I hadn't done that in the UK for about six years so thought it was about time I did!
"The great thing about being by myself is it can get a lot more experimental.
"I work without a set list so I'm never completely sure about what I'm going to play until I'm on stage which makes it fun.
"The audience will have to come prepared to listen to a bit of everything - whether it's Squeeze the Fluffers or my solo work."
That's quite a lot to pack in then?
"It's not a bad back catalogue," he admits chuckling. "It's an amazing legacy and I'm immensely proud of my career and all the stuff I've done, particularly with Chris - we've had our ups and downs but we have written some great songs over the years and always end up coming back to each other. We are a good team."
And without wishing to be described as a workaholic, Glenn admits he can't sit still.
"I've got lots of projects on the go," he laughs warmly hinting at a collaboration with Chris on a new record early next year.
And there is another exciting project in the pipeline with Squeeze.
"We are working on some songs to go with Danny Baker's autobiography which is being made into a TV series," he says. "We have known him forever and it's a great project for a band like us to be involved in so that's been terrific."
But in the meantime Glenn is focusing on the gigs and his new album - Happy Ending - due out in January.
"The album has been influenced by, and is a comment on what's going on at the moment - things like Leveson Inquiry and the economy. It will be released as a vinyl, CD and download package which is exciting.
"And it will be good to be back in Blackheath. I still live up the road in Charlton and am very much a South London boy so it's always special to play on my home patch."

Glenn Tilbrook is at Blackheath Halls on Saturday, December 14. Tickets cost £18 in advance or £20 on the door. Call the box office on 020 8305 9300 or 020 8463 0100 or visit www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/blackheath-halls/

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