INTERVIEW: Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook solo set will include plenty of classics

He will perform solo at Variety Playhouse on Oct. 11

With Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook can make a living just fine courtesy of the band’s enduring, hook-laden songs from the 1970s and 1980s like “Tempted” and “Up the Junction.” The band, in fact, played to packed crowds in Atlanta a year ago co-headlining with Hall & Oates at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre and in pre-pandemic 2019 at the Tabernacle.

But Tilbrook over the past two decades has happily ventured out on his own between Squeeze tours. On Oct. 11, he will be doing a solo acoustic set at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. Tickets are $35 to $65 at axs.com. The playlist will be peppered with classic Squeeze hits, a few deeper cuts, covers and solo tunes.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tilbrook noted that when he performs with Squeeze, “it’s a very tightly run ship. We know exactly what we’re doing. It sounds great. With my shows, I don’t work with a firm setlist. I enjoy assembling it as I go. One thing will flow into another.”

In fact, it will just be just him on stage. with either an electric or acoustic guitar. He’ll even take requests from the audience ― if he can remember the words.

Credit: Danny

Credit: Danny

Tilbrook loved co-headlining with Hall & Oates last year. “It was the best package tour we’ve done since we toured with Elvis Costello,” he said. “I got so much from them. Their writing, their band. It’s all wonderful. I felt like we were pretty good ourselves. The reaction from the crowds was amazing.”

He and his longtime Squeeze cohort and lyricist Chris Difford remain business partners in Squeeze. They’ve had their rocky moments over the years and have broken up twice (1982 and 1998, respectfully), but they know there is magic in Squeeze.

“I’m not going to pretend we’re best mates,” Tilbrook said. “We’re very respectful of each other and respectful of what we’ve done and what we can do. We work together well and that’s what matters.”

In fact, they recently recorded their first song in five years called “Food For Thought,” which addresses food insecurity. Any income from the song will to to Trussell Trust in England, which oversees food banks.

But he is fine performing away from Difford, who is doing some dates of his own in England. Tilbrook learned to be a solo artist in the late 1990s and 2000s, recording his own albums and touring. He previously headlined the Variety Playhouse in 2001 and then smaller Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta multiple times.

“I felt like I was running a mom-and-pop store,” he said. “That’s how my career was for a few years. Those were some of the best times.”

And as the decades go by, he said, the best Squeeze songs — such as “Goodbye Girl,” “Cool For Cats” and “Black Coffee in Bed” —“have aged well. I feel fresh when we play them. We are always questioning how to do them and make them better.”

And while some of his peers (we see you, 60-year-old Jon Bon Jovi), have struggled to hit notes they were once able to do with ease in their prime, Tilbrook, at age 65, is proud to say: “I still sing everything in the original key.”

IF YOU GO

Glenn Tilbrook solo, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, $35-$65, Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Avenue NE, www.axs.com