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CHRIS DIFFORD (SQUEEZE) INTERVIEW [2008]

THIS INTERVIEW SORT OF TAKES US THROUGH MY EXPERIENCE OF YOUR NEW ALBUM 'THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIS'... FIRST I HEARD THE ALBUM TITLE AND I HAVE TO SAY IT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD THE FIRST TIME AROUND AND STILL MAKES ME SMIRK NOW...

Me too! Boo came up with the idea over toast one morning, the other titles were a little depressing...

THEN THE ALBUM ARRIVED IN THE POST AND THE COVER ALSO MADE ME LAUGH! WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR THE ARTWORK COME FROM?

It came from our art director who picked the idea from a collage I put together of people I liked and things I liked. I have to thank Rob O'Connor for that...

THEN I CARRIED THE CD AROUND FOR A WHILE WITHOUT GETTING A CHANCE TO LISTEN TO IT AND I ENDED UP READING THE LYRICS IN THE BOOKLET BEFORE I ACTUALLY HEARD THE SONGS WHICH IS A BIT OF WEIRD WAY OF DOING IT...

I'd say, I have never done that myself, I hope it worked for you!

IT SHOULDN'T REALLY HAVE BEEN MUCH OF A SURPRISE BUT IT STRUCK ME HOW MUCH THE LYRICS REMINDED ME OF SQUEEZE BUT WHEN I FINALLY CAME TO HEAR THE MUSIC IT SOUNDED VERY DIFFERENT TO WHATEVER I WAS EXPECTING... SHADES OF ALL SORTS OF THINGS CAME TO MIND; PADDY MACALOON, GRANT LEE PHILLIPS, STEPHEN DUFFY PERHAPS, EVEN LOU REED...

All of the above I'm big fans of, so no surprise, except Stephen Duffy who I know nothing about.

I ASSOCIATE SQUEEZE WITH SONGS THAT ARE ALSO STORIES, WITH CHARACTERS AND PLOTS AND EVERYTHING, 'THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIS' IS ALSO LIKE THAT BUT IT FEELS A BIT MORE PERSONAL... LESS CHARACTERS AND MORE YOU, LIKE DIARY ENTRIES OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

More like being on a red sofa talking to a counsellor you mean? It's part me, part someone else, much like life itself really...

IS IT ALWAYS CLEAR TO YOU WHEN TO DRAW THE LINE LYRICALLY, WHEN A LYRIC - WHETHER IT'S ABOUT YOU OR ABOUT SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU - GETS A LITTLE BIT TOO PERSONAL? BECAUSE IT FEELS LIKE SOME OF THESE SONGS ARE VERY PERSONAL...

They are close to me, I like to be honest in my writing, for years I have lied through my teeth so it's good medicine...

I INTERVIEWED MARTI PELLOW A WHILE AGO AND WE TALKED ABOUT HOW THE TWO OF YOU HAVE COLLABORATED IN THE PAST... HE WAS SAYING THAT OFTEN YOU DON'T WRITE FOR THE MUSIC, YOU JUST WRITE, SO I IMAGINE THE ROLE OF WHOEVER YOU'RE WORKING WITH IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE SOUND OF THE SONGS YOU RECORD?

Yes it is, I love writing with MP he has a great voice and fantastic ear for melody... each person I write with brings new horizons to colour...

ON THIS ALBUM IT'S BOO HEWERDINE YOU'VE WORKED WITH, WHO VISITORS TO MY WEBSITE WILL PROBABLY KNOW BEST FOR HIS WORK WITH THE BIBLE, HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT FOR THE FINISHED RECORD? I SUPPOSE WHAT I'M ASKING IS HOW DIFFERENT THE RECORD MIGHT HAVE BEEN IF YOU HAD MADE IT WITH SOMEONE ELSE?

Boo made the record come to life with the assistance of Jon Kelly, I think I had taken it as far as I could on my own, when Boo came on board it filled with zing and expression...

THE PRESS RELEASE FOR THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THIS ALBUM IS, LOOSELY, AN EXTENSION OF YOUR FIRST SOLO ALBUM 'I DIDN'T GET WHERE I AM' WHICH YOU MADE WITH IT BITES' FRANCIS DUNNERY... HOW DIFFERENT WAS THE PROCESS OF WRITING AND RECORDING THIS RECORD?

Boo is very easy to work with, Francis is like being a horse with a jockey on your back slapping your arse all the time... Boo is more like a rider on a swan...

I'VE HAD A BIT OF A TRAWL AROUND THE INTERNET AND YOU ARE FREQUENTLY DESCRIBED AS BEING 'QUINTESSENTIALLY ENGLISH" - OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT - AND I SUPPOSE THE PACKAGING OF THIS ALBUM REFLECTS THAT BUT FOR ME IT SOUNDS BIGGER THAN THAT... ALTHOUGH YOU WRITE ABOUT SOME VERY ENGLISH THINGS THE THEMES ARE MUCH BROADER THAN THAT I THINK...

I like to think of myself as being English yes, I have been bathed in the language for some years now and it suits me not to stay too far from the path, I love the rest of the world but my boundary is set in my spirit... for now at least!

YOU'RE TOURING THIS RECORD RIGHT NOW AREN'T YOU? HOW'S THAT ALL GOING? IS IT A PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCE OR MORE OF A DUTY?

It's fun, much like doing a hobby at school, raising plants from seeds in a small pot made out of washing up bottles. Being on the road is a great way to see the world and ask some questions... from village halls to Madison Square Gardens, it's all a treat...

HAS PLAYING THE ALBUM LIVE CHANGED YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT ANY OF THE SONGS? ARE AUDIENCES RESPONDING IN WAYS YOU HADN'T ANTICIPATED FOR EXAMPLE?

It's all new to me and new to them too, it goes down very well it seems, and I have been doing less Squeeze songs as a result...

HOW DIFFERENT IS THE EXPERIENCE OF THIS SOLO TOUR TO LAST YEAR'S REUNION SHOWS WITH GLENN TILBROOK?

One is quiet and the other one is loud, they are both fantastic!

IS THERE MORE MILEAGE IN THE SQUEEZE REUNION? MORE SHOWS? NEW MATERIAL?

All of the above, in time...

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU? ANY INTERESTING PROJECTS, COLLABORATIONS, RECORDINGS AND SO ON COMING UP?

More of the same, tour after tour, and a space to write somewhere in the middle... and some time for cheese on toast too!

APRIL 2008

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