SQUEEZE OFFICIAL A&M BIOGRAPHY
Some people said it couldn't be done. Wouldn't be done. Maybe even shouldn't be done. But some people were wrong. Three years after calling it quits, Squeeze is back. And the best news of all is that they have brought with them Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, Squeeze's first all-new album since Sweets For A Stranger and first album of any kind since Squeeze: Singles -45s And Under.
Leading the charge, as ever, are Squeeze's renowned song writing team, guitarist/singers Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. Drummer Gilson Lavis, another co-founder, is on hand as well - and so is Jools Holland, the original Squeeze keyboardist who departed the band's ranks over five years ago, after the Argy Bargy album. In fact, the only member of the reformed Squeeze who wasn't there at the beginning is bassist Keith Wilkinson, a member of the Difford and Tilbrook band for the last three years. For Squeeze, what goes around definitely comes around.
Squeeze's colorful and occasionally turbulent history began in 1975, when Difford, Tilbrook, Holland, Lavis and bassist Harry Kakoulli formed the band in their native England. Their earliest recording, a three-song EP for the independent Fun City label, led to a long-term contract with A&M, followed by a regular succession of acclaimed albums: U.K Squeeze (released in the U.S. in May, 1978); Cool For Cats (March, 1979), Argy Bargy (March, 1980); East Side Story (May, 1981); Sweets For A Stranger (April, 1982) and the Singles - 45s And Under compilation (November, 1982).
Those six albums contained enough classic songs - like "Take Me I'm Yours," "Another Nail In My Heart," "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)," "Tempted," "Black Coffee in Bed" and many more - to prompt comparisons between Difford and Tilbrook and some other noted songwriting teams. But Glenn and Chris, surprisingly, were never comfortable with labels like "the new Lennon and McCartney' or "the next Gilbert and Sullivan." And despite the critical acclaim and success in the United States on tours with the likes of the Tubes, Blondie and Patti Smith, management problems and regular personnel changes (by 1982, only Difford, Tilbrook and Lavis remained from the original U.K. Squeeze) eventually took a toll. In late 1982, the demise of Squeeze was announced with a terse "Squeeze has decided that the band as a horse has run its course, and the jockeys ar considering new mounts." Difford and Tilbrook went off to form a new band, and Squeeze was a memory.
"The dissatisfaction we were feeling manifested itself in two direct ways," Glenn Tilbrook told Melody Maker. "The last record Squeeze made contained some tracks that were really good, but as a whole album, it didn't stand up to the other ones. And secondly, the enthusiasm slipped out of the live shows."
Added Gilson Lavis, "It's such a claustrophobic atmosphere to be in a band with five strong individuals; it's hard to maintain an equilibrium. We couldn't stop things going out of balance, because we weren't aware enough to see it coming."
In the months that followed the split, the musicians found themselves missing Squeeze; as Holland put it, "Each of us on our own aren't nearly as good as we are together." They stayed in touch, occasionally playing together, and in January of this year, Squeeze began rehearsing for a one-off charity performance at a pub in Catford, England. The four original members had a great time, and so did the audience, and thus were planted the seeds for a permanent Squeeze revival. With the addition of bassist Wilkinson, the reformed line-up was complete
Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti (the title, of course, manages to combine Little Richard and Mozart - if anyone can do it Squeeze can) was produced by Laurie Latham, who's known for his work with Paul Young and the Stranglers. As Melody Maker writer Carol Clerk put it, the group's new material "fulfills (their) intentions to widen their scope, fatten and dramatize their sound, and compound the impact with an 'extreme' production," courtesy of Latham, who "plays the control room like an accomplished violinist might play a Stradivarius" (in Gilson Lavis' words). All in all, it adds up to the return of a band whose ingenious melodies and richly evocative lyrical flourishes were sorely missed over the last three years. Welcome back, Squeeze - it's like you never left.