INTERVIEW: Squeeze’s Chris Difford still cool for cats when it’s time to tour

Squeeze will be at Chastain Sept. 16 with the Psychedelic Furs.
Glenn Tillbrook (left) and Chris Difford (right) formed Squeeze in 1974. They will be at Chastain Sept. 16, 2023. PUBLICITY PHOTO


Combined ShapeCaption
Glenn Tillbrook (left) and Chris Difford (right) formed Squeeze in 1974. They will be at Chastain Sept. 16, 2023. PUBLICITY PHOTO



British duo Squeeze had only had two Top 40 hits in the United States and not a single album ever reached the Billboard top 30.

But the band’s 1982 greatest hits album “Singles 45 and Under” — featuring pop classics like “Tempted,” “Black Coffee in Bed” and “Up the Junction” — did go platinum stateside and helped the band build a loyal fan base.

Credit: Christopher Smith/Invision/AP

Credit: Christopher Smith/Invision/AP

The band headlined the Tabernacle in 2019, co-headlined with Hall and Oates at Ameris Bank Amphiteatre in Alpharetta in 2021 and returns to Atlanta at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Sept. 16 with fellow 1980s Brit-pop band Psychedelic Furs.

This is first time the two compatible acts have worked together. (The U.S. side of the tour begins in Amagansett, New York, on Sept. 6.)

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Chris Difford, the band’s primary lyricist and one of two original members of Squeeze with Glenn Tilbrook, in a recent Zoom interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from his home in England. “It will be interesting to see what the audience makes of the two of us together. ‘Pretty in Pink’ was played pretty regularly in my house for a period of time.”

At age 68, Difford is pragmatic about touring: “It’s what I’ve always done since I was 17 years old. It’s kind of part of what you do in the morning. You are the guy who goes out on the road. As much as it pains me to be away from home, it’s also what puts food on the table. It’s an incredibly enjoyable existence once you have your spirits in line.”

He and Tilbrook have been together as creative partners for nearly 50 years with only a few years apart. Difford remembers when they were teens, he was envious of how well Tilbrook could play guitar “and the fact his voice was so angelic. I had never heard anybody with that much confidence in their voice before. I have to say he hasn’t lost a bit of that over the years.”

Difford said he still writes a bit but not nearly as much as he used to: “There are so many distractions in life when you get older. When you’re a teenager in a band, all you think about is the next gig and writing the next song. When you’re approaching 70, it’s a bit of been there, done that. I was writing today. I have to find that inspiration. Sometimes that takes some concentration.”

Off stage, he and Tilbrook are not best buds who hang out in bars or each other’s homes.

“Our orbits really only mingle when it concerns the band,” Difford said. “We are not sociable that way. We accept each other’s differences and similarities and make the most of those.”

Tilbrook on stage is the more garrulous one and that is very much the case off stage as well.

“I think in the past I’ve been quieter than Glenn,” he said. “He can get on a table top and sing you any song from any genre. That kind of personality is a gift I don’t have. I suppose I’m more under the table. He is more over the table.”

While Squeeze doesn’t change the set list for American audiences vs. European audiences, Difford does believe “American audiences can be more expressive, particularly when we were first touring. The energy is amazing. The commitment is always there. There is an understanding between the band and our audience. I respect that.”


Squeeze and Psychedelic Furs

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16. $22-$136.50. Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta.

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