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6th May 2018

Glenn Tillbrook supports Charlton Athletic Football Club and this interview coincided with them qualifying for the Division 1 Play-Offs.


Q: So, Charlton in the play-offs, can they do it?


GT: (laughs) It’s going to be good isn’t it? Very exciting. We all remember 1998* and that was really exciting.


Q: I’m Leicester City.


GT: Oh unbelievable! I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t feel for you in a positive way because in that case, you represent everyone.*


Song Writing


Q: Starting with the Packet OF Three EP in 1977, your songwriting shows a remarkable difference both musically and Chris lyrically to anyone else around at the time. Most bands start out by writing chord sequences of famous songs backwards and suchlike, what was your technique?


GT: I don’t think we really had a technique. I think what we had was a love of music and different styles of music that each of us bought to the table and influenced each other. I grew up listening to Pop music of the sixties and early seventies and that had – and still has – a tremendous effect on the way that I see things. I don’t really listen to it know at all but it’s the bedrock of how I work. Song writing and chord progressions I‘ve always been really into and Chris has been inhabiting his own world of lyrics since day one.


Q: You just mentioned your chord progressions. Using In Up The Junction as an example, you start in E, the middle eight goes through a series of seven minor chords which descends into D and then you modulate back up to the E for the final verse. I can’t figure out how you did that.


GT: No. to be honest, that was just a very happy thing that happened without being too thought out.


Q: Musically do you understand it now?


GT: Musically I understand it’s very pleasing because it gives the impression of having a key change up whereas it’s just returning to base but that’s way too clever for me to have actually thought of at the time. (laughs)


Q: With regards to your own songs, you are very prolific and no slouch at lyrics yourself these days as shown on your solo outings and the demo series of CDs you’ve released. Are you the Keith Richards type writer where songs just seem to come to out of the air or the Richard Thompson type who has to struggle through every line and chord?


GT: Between those two I’d say I’m probably equal parts of each. I’ve found that I’ve gone back to an instinctive way of working with music although with lyrics it’s completely different. With music, I use my phone to record little snatches of stuff when and where it occurs to me and then work those up into tunes or I’ll struggle for weeks over one sequence. The middle bit of Please Be Upstanding I worked on for about three weeks which is out of all proportion to the twenty seconds it occupies in the song. I was just obsessed with getting that right and I couldn’t let it go until it was really pleasing to me.


Q: But that’s part of the art isn’t it?


GT: It is you’re right and some people would say it’s about knowing when to let go and I think that’s true to a certain extent but I have to mix up my approach every single time I do it so you leave yourself with a bit of mystery of how it works.


Music as a Business


Q: You were signed to one of the majors, A&M, but these days do everything yourself. What’s your opinion of both past and present music businesses?


GT: Well that’s such a broad-ranging question. You may as well address space flight or undersea exploration in that everything changes in time. I was lucky enough to come of age when music was culturally very important and still think music is incredibly important but it doesn’t have everyone’s attention in the way that it did. There is so much competition for people’s attention these days and I don’t see that as a bad thing, I just see that as a change thing. I feel luck that I have place however small in the music business and that Squeeze has a place in it and that we can carry on creating because that feels like an incredible gift too me to be able to do that.


Q: I find that very humble of you to say a small space in the music business. A lot of people site you and Chris as the natural successors to Lennon and McCartney. I would certainly put you in the top ten songwriters of your era and you must have hundreds of people that come up to you and say that your music did something for them.


GT: That’s really nice, thank you and I am really grateful when people do that but that’s not how I think of what we do. I think of it in terms of personal achievement and if we’ve done our best on something and can look back and feel proud of it. With the two Squeeze albums we’ve had out this century, they stand right up with anything we’ve done in the past and that is such a great feeling and not something that I take for granted.


Q: As an old-time concert-goer, somebody in front of me using their phone to video it can ruin a gig for me; how do you feel about it?


GT: Again it’ just one of those cultural changes isn’t it? I love Instagram although I recognize it’s not as good as it used to be because of the way it’s been changed and these things put little hooks in us. The spread of information is both brilliant and terrifying but people want to record these things and also record themselves being there. It’s funny too me but I understand it.


An eclectic bunch of questions…


Q: You’re a Charlton F.C. fan but what’s your involvement with Lewes FC?


GT: That was more through Chris because he lives down in that area and they wanted to have a deal whereby they would have our names on their shirts. (laughs) They are a really nice bunch of people and without sounding patronizing it’s a really sweet set-up they have and we wish them really well.


Q: That ‘I’m invited in for coffee and I give the dog a bone’ line from Cool For Cats: did Chris write that as an intentional double entendre?


GT: I would be very surprised if it wasn’t.


Q: But nobody picked up on it at time…


GT: (laughs) Yeah! That’s a great lyric though. A lot of Chris’ lyrics are a brilliant snapshot of us living in London at that time.


Q: Are you a book or TV bloke?


GT: I’m actually both. On this trip I’ve read one issue of Granter which is themed stories about love and it can be a very broad spectrum of how love is involved in the stories. I’ve read Viv Albertine’s book which is very good. I love her point of view, I’ve never been a fan of her music but I love what she represents and I’ve also just finished reading a book by Craig Brown about Princess Margaret which is really funny. I’m no royalist by any stretch of the imagination and I wouldn’t normally read books about Royal people but this one is a really good book because you are looking at strands of her life in a different way and I love the technique of factual reporting and imaginary stuff. It’s quite clear where the boundaries are but it does somehow inform you like fiction can when fact can’t sometimes.


Q: And TV?


GT: Well where do you start? The Handmaid’s Tale I think is really brilliant series. Going back to the classics, The Sopranos was an absolute game-changer for what it did for TV in America and look at how streaming has changed the TV business. I think the movie business is still struggling to get up and we are very much on the good side of the up-curve of streaming companies heavily investing in projects that movie companies would not.


Q: Streaming has helped my life. Living in Japan for sixteen years, I’ve missed a lot of British TV shows but I’m now able to catch up on them as I did with Cradle To Grave this week when I was writing this interview.


GT: (Laughs) Danny’s just a funny guy. When he was young, all of that stuff went on.


Q: I love your version of Harper Valley PTA. It was a rather obscure one hit wonder from’68 in the UK, do you have any special reason for covering it?


GT: It was a song I loved from that time. I bought the single and we literally had a day to record four covers (for the Cradle To The Grave album) so Chris and I picked two each; the other one I picked was Strange effect.


Q: Your guitar playing doesn’t get a lot of print but you do have your own style; who are your guitar heroes?


GT: Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix…you don’t hear so much in my playing but Keith Richards is great. I love his approach.


Q: What are the challenges of playing on Everest and Kilamanjaro, particularly your voice?*


GT: It’s just very hard. It’s like when you have a stomach operation to reduce the size of your stomach, that’s what it’s like for your lungs. You can’t breathe deep even though you’re trying so when you’re singing, you can only get so much and then it accumulates into being short of breath.


Q: Did you get altitude sickness?


GT: On Everest I had trained and didn’t feel it but Kilamanjaro was the opposite; I didn’t train and did feel it. It was awful.


Q: Mr Tillbrook, thank you.


GT: Thank you. That was a real pleasure talking to you.


*Glenn played with Mike Peters of The Alarm on Mt Everest and Mt Kilamanjaro for the Love, Hope and Strength Foundation.

グレン・ティルブルック インタビュー












Q:1977年にリリースされたEP『Packet OF Three』のことから始めたいのですが、あなたの作る曲風とクリスの書く詞は当時の音楽シーンの誰とも違っていたと思います。ほとんどのバンドは過去のヒット曲のコード展開をモチーフにして曲を作ることから始めます。あなたたちのテクニックはどんなだったのですか?



Q:コード展開のことをおっしゃいましたが、例えば「Using In Up The Junction」はEで始まり、サビは7つのマイナーコードを経てDに降りていきます。そしてラストではEに転調します。私には予測不可能な展開なんですよ。







GT:両者の中間だな。音楽に関わるということは僕にとっては本能的なことだと思うんだ。詞の世界は違う、とは言えね。ちょっとしたアイデアを録音するのに携帯電話を使っているんだ。いつどこで浮かんでもいいようにね。それで曲が出来ることもあれば、一つのヴァースに何週間も悪戦苦闘することもあるんだ。「Please Be Upstanding」のサビには3週間くらいかかったと思う。曲に占める割合とすればたった20秒の部分なのにね。あのアイデアを得るために没頭したよ。本当に納得できるまでは妥協はできない性質なんだ。










GT: それは素敵なことだね。ありがとう。それなら本当に嬉しいことだ。でもそれが僕たちの目標じゃないんだ。僕の目標は僕個人として達成なんだよ。僕たちがベストだと思える作品を作って、時間が経って聴き返しても誇りに思えるような音楽を作ることなんだ。今世紀に作ったスクイーズの2枚のアルバムは過去のどの作品よりも際立っている。とても満足できたし、当たり前に作れるというものじゃなかったんだ。



GT: それもまた時代の変化ってやつじゃないかな?必ずしもいい事だとは思っていないけど、僕はインスタグラムが好きだよ。なぜならそれで時代が変わったし、人々の生活に刺激を与えたからね。情報の拡散は素晴らしくもあり、酷いことにも繋がる。でもそうやってコンサートを録画している人は、そこに居た自分の存在も残しているんだ。おかしなことだけど、理解はできるんだ。





Q:「お茶に誘われ、僕は犬に骨をくれてやった」という下りが「Cool For Cats」にあるのですが、クリスは意図的にダブルミーニングとしてあれを書いたのでしょうか?










GT:どこから話そうかな。『侍女の物語』は面白いシリーズだね。古典でもある『ザ・ソプラノズ 哀愁のマフィア』はアメリカのテレビドラマを変革した作品だしね。あれでテレビ界にストリーミングというのが登場したんだ。今は映画界も苦悩していると思うよ。ネットのストリーミングをやっている会社はいろいろなことに投資して右肩上がりだけど、映画会社は苦しんでいるね。


Q:ストリーミングで私の生活も助かっていますよ。16年日本に住んでいますが、けっこうイギリスのテレビ番組を見逃していたんです。でもストリーミングのおかげで今は観られるんですよ。今週は『Cradle To Grave』**を観ましたしね。このインタビューの構想を練っている時に。



Q:私は「Harper Valley PTA」のあなたのバージョンが好きなんです。あの曲が68年のイギリスでなぜヒットしたのか、よく分かりませんね。あの曲をカバーしようと思った理由はなんだったのですか?

GT:気に入っていたからさ。シングルも買ったし、僕たちは一日にカバーを4曲レコーディングしようとしたんだ(アルバム『Cradle To The Grave 』)。それでクリスと僕はお互いに2曲ずつを選んだ。僕が選んだもう1曲は「Strange Effect」だった。








Q: 高山病にかかりましたか?







**・・・『Cradle To Grave 』はテレビの連続ホームコメディで、イギリスのDJジャッキー・ダニー・ベイカーの青春時代を描いたもの。

***・・・グレンは’ジ・アラーム’のメンバー、マイク・ピーターズと共にエヴェレストとキリマンジャロの山頂でプレイした。「the Love, Hope and Strength Foundation.」(癌撲滅のための基金)へのチャリティ企画だった。

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