Squeeze Interviewed: "We Used to Car Surf in Brisbane"

The classic band have been undergoing a resurgence since a BBC4 documentary; here Chris Difford talks about the their past, present and (hopeful) future...
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The classic band have been undergoing a resurgence since a BBC4 documentary; here Chris Difford talks about the their past, present and (hopeful) future...

'I was probably wearing pyjamas at the time.'  In fairness, not a statement that should cause concern, it's normal practice in this culture and many others, but when Chris Difford goes on to explain it was in the middle of the day, in Brisbane and that the bands drummer Gilson was clinging onto the roof rack as the car hurtled round a corner, you can see why my eyebrow arched.

Renaissance? I think we can use that word, ever since Squeeze received the BBC 4, Friday night treatment with the 'Take Me I'm Yours' documentary the groundswell of support has been palpable. I spoke to Chris Difford about this, future touring plans and obviously a little more concerning those pyjamas...

You just played in Leeds, what can you remember from when you played there in 75?

To be honest, not much, apart from that the band we were supporting, there manger wore a cape, which I found really alarming, that someone's manger should be wearing a cape, the last days of prog I suppose.

In the past you have accused Squeeze of not being fashionable?

We're not; you should see the wardrobe trunk. When we put our minds to it, it works, but otherwise we look like five cables waiting arguing over a fare.  There is no rhythm or reason to us; we are like the family cat. We go out for a walk now and again, come back through the flap and everyone is pleased to see us, but if we go missing for a couple weeks no one seems to mind.

How have things changed since the documentary aired?

It's definitely awoken something, the crowd at the shows have been really mixed, it's the power of T.V I guess. If you're on it people remember you're not dead. If you have television, you have everything; to tell you truth I didn't watch the documentary, the producer did a great job.  It just amazes me someone would want to do a film about us after all these years

Have promoters been throwing money at you to get Jools Holland in the band?

We have had offers for us all to get back together and play in arenas, I'd love for it to happen, but its a ridiculous thing to organise. Jools tours twice a year and Paul Carrack is touring all the time as well, but we are now looking ahead to 2014 for the next tour. We have a few things up our sleeves and you never know what happens, so we shall see.

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Is it true Paul McCartney was down to produce (Squeeze's 4th album) 'East Side Story'?

We contacted him to produce us and he was really interested, but unfortunately life got the better of him at the time and it didn't happen, it would of been fascinating because he is such sweet guy, and it's Paul McCartney after all.

In the end Elvis Costello produced it?

Elvis was great, when your working with people who inspire you, you lift your game, when you're working in a safe place you have a tendency to work in a safe way, so you need that balance and the nose for inspiration.

Can you tell me more about Gilson car surfing?

Those were the days, it's such a deep dark memory I would need lots of therapy to eek it out, but as far as I can remember he was on top of a car as it hurtled along in the bright Brisbane sunshine, I was probably wearing pyjamas, I tended to do that a lot at the time.

What was touring America like?

America is like a second home to us, the relationship grows and grows, in the early days when we played Dallas, at the Long Horn Ball room, they were unsure about how we would go over so they put chicken wire in front of the stage, it was fine though, by the time we had got to the third song everyone had pissed off anyway.

Was it during that time Glenn took more control?

Glenn thought it right to take over as the manger of the band, it probably wasn't the right idea from my point of view, but I dealt with it by recoiling into myself and doing dark things, mostly in hotel rooms.

But you still managed to keep writing, even when your addictions got worse?

Yes, but what I would be writing would be bloody rubbish, piles of complete and utter rubbish. It was a dark time for me, but you have to do that figure out where you are, we were capable of producing the odd bit of genius like 'When The Hangover Strikes' but we did let other ones slip through the net.

Is it true you don't get paid royalties of your biggest hits?

Its true to say we get some, but we don't get the full king's shilling because of some bad business decisions, but that's okay. I can't do anything about it so you have to accept it, hopefully the future with resolve itself in time

Where the strangest place you heard your lyrics?

Divorce court, years ago an ex wife accused me of adultery through the power of song lyric. I was going through a messy break up at the time. I think she was clutching at straws a little; that and she was bloody mental.

Squeeze have just released a new E.P, called 'Packet of Four.'  You can buy it HERE