With a catalogue of hits that includes “Tempted,” “Hourglass” and “Cool for Cats,” Squeeze has been part of the musical lexicon for more than 40 years.
The band’s origins date back to the UK in 1973, when Chris Difford stole money from his mother’s purse to put an ad in the window of a bakery in hopes of finding a guitarist for his band. Considering he didn’t have a band at the time, it was a risk. But when Glenn Tilbrook responded, history was made.
“The great thing when you’re 17 years old and in a rehearsal room and you’ve got some beers to drink, some cigarettes and songs to sing, there’s nothing better in the whole world than that experience,” Difford said. “What you do over the course of the years is try to bring that ambition with you and I think we’ve managed to do that. Here we are with that ambition still in the frame.”
Not only was the band a major contributor to the second British Invasion, but the duo of Difford and Tilbrook has been hailed as the Lennon and McCartney of their generation by Rolling Stone and musical experts worldwide.
Over the years, Squeeze has released 15 studio albums, 14 compilation albums, four live albums, one extended play and 48 singles. Its latest release, “The Knowledge,” sold well and shows that there’s still a big desire to hear new music from the band.
“You need to feel inspired and we want to put in the work to go onstage, and I know we could just go on stage and play 15 hits in a row and everyone would love it—and we would probably love it too—but I don’t think it would be as fulfilling,” Difford said. “It’s the new material that gives oxygen to the old ones.”
All of Squeeze’s hits were written by Tilbrook and Difford, who have been bandmates for more than four decades.
“We have a very unique relationship in some ways but very normal in others,” Difford said. “We seldom see each other outside of the studio or touring. We are brought together by our history and the fact that we spent the best part of our lives together. There’s a great admiration between us.”
Along with the duo, the current members of the iconic group include Simon Hanson, Stephen Large, Steve Smith and Yolanda Charles.
Songs today sound as fresh as they did when originally released, and Difford believes that’s something that has kept Squeeze in the limelight for so long.
“We are gifted with songs that are not produced with any kind of time accreditation to them, so we don’t sound like Duran Duran, we don’t sound like any other English band,” he said. “We never really toyed with production other than to make them sound as good as possible.”
The band is now back touring in the U.S. in what it is calling “Squeeze – The Squeeze Songbook Tour,” and will be making a stop at the Kennedy Center on August 17.
“We’ve been rehearsing for about two weeks, planning a two-hour show, with varying degrees of songs that cover the hits and cover new stuff, and the band sounds extremely good,” Difford said. “It’s going to be an enjoyable evening, which should be relaxed and nostalgic.”
There will be about seven to eight songs from the past two albums, as the band wants to ensure it satisfies those fans who have discovered the group more lately, and even though Difford understands that some long-time fans might not be as familiar with those tunes, he feels the songs are really strong and believes people will appreciate them.
“They stand up against the others without a doubt,” he said. “I know some people when they hear a new song, they may get up and get a cigarette or a drink, but in this instance, I wouldn’t recommend it.”