Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Squeeze set to rock The Coach House and Coachella 2012

My concert preview on Squeeze was originally published on The Orange County Register Web site on April 6, 2012.

Catching up with Squeeze as they head to Indio

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook began writing songs together as teenage friends in South London in the mid-’70s. The duo would later be dubbed the “new Lennon and McCartney” and, aided by a rotating roster of talented players, would go on to craft some of the most timeless power pop of the New Wave era as Squeeze.

The band stood apart in the ’80s by delivering energetic shows anchored by a seemingly endless supply of marvelous songs – “Black Coffee in Bed,” “Tempted,” “Another Nail for My Heart” and “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),” to name a few – most of which outdistanced the work of their contemporaries by leaps and bounds.

Now, Squeeze is returning to its deserved position in the limelight. Not only is the legendary U.K. troupe set to perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio this month, the current lineup will release Live at the Fillmore (Anchor and Hope Music) on limited edition white vinyl on April 14, the first of two dates they will play at the desert festival.

In addition, Squeeze is set to perform April 17 on The Ellen Degeneres Show and the group will play a series of club dates to warm up for Coachella, including April 11 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and April 10 at House of Blues San Diego. (Also look for their return June 30 alongside the B-52′s at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, on sale April 14.)

During a recent phone interview, Difford discussed everything from Squeeze making its first appearance at the renowned event to the band’s growing legacy and influence on modern-day artists such as Kasabian, Lily Allen and Razorlite. But the discussion led off with the subject of Squeeze coming to Coachella.

“We’ve been asking to be in the festival for quite some time, really, because we’ve played lots of festivals in the U.K. So this year we’ve managed to find a billing where we can fit in,” he said. “Obviously I am very pleased that we are there; it’s gonna be good.”
But Difford says the band doesn’t consider its club dates as mere warm-ups for the massive bash.
“The Coach House is just as important as any of the shows that we are going to do. So we have to make sure that we have all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak. When we rehearse this week for the tour we will be doing, we’ll be rehearsing for the Coach House (too).”

Given how many groundbreaking artists perform at Coachella – Squeeze shares consecutive Saturday bills with Radiohead, Bon Iver, Feist, Gary Clark Jr., the aforementioned Kasabian and scores more – Difford admitted to feeling honored that he and Tilbrook are praised by name by many of the group’s musical descendents.
“It can only be something that makes you proud when people tip their hat to you,” he says. “I can hear it (the sound of his band in those artists). I can hear Squeeze in Crowded House, but then I can hear the Beatles in Squeeze. So every band is like a magpie; we all copy from each other, really.”

Since re-forming in 2007 following an eight-year hiatus, Squeeze has captured the attention of a new generation of fans on both sides of the Atlantic, as evidenced by not only the group’s Coachella appearances but other winning tours in recent years. More than three decades after the release of Squeeze’s debut EP, Difford says he’s better able to reflect on the group’s place in rock ‘n’ roll history.

“I’m always rewarded when people say that (Squeeze has a growing legacy over time) because you spend your entire life – almost – being in a rock ‘n’ roll band and you never know what the outcome is going to be, and then you get to my age (he’s 57) and people really respect what you’ve done. It’s a beautiful feeling; it’s a feeling of coming home, and when people come to the shows and they hear ‘Black Coffee’ and ‘Tempted’ and songs like that, their feedback is very rewarding.”

But as large as the band’s legacy looms, Difford said Squeeze’s story is not yet complete: “I don’t think our history is something we should chase,” he said of new songs he’s been working on with Tilbrook for a future studio set.
“We only live in the now – most of the time, anyway – so we can only really change ourselves by exploring what we have in front of us, rather than what we have behind us.”

Squeeze plays April 11 at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, in San Juan Capistrano. Davis Fetter, formerly of O.C. band Venus Infers, will open. Tickets are $55. Also catch Squeeze at House of Blues San Diego on April 10, $20-$30, and look for them alongside the B-52′s at the Greek Theatre on June 30, $35-$65, on sale April 14 at 10 a.m.

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