Old masters Squeeze happily embrace the digital age

Glenn Tilbrook (right) and Chris Difford of Squeeze
Glenn Tilbrook (right) and Chris Difford of Squeeze
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IN years gone by, the best way of remembering any gig you had been to was either through your own fading memory or, if you were lucky, getting hold of a bootleg copy somewhere down the line.

How times have changed. Anyone heading to the O2 Academy in Leeds to see pop veterans Squeeze in Sheffield (Sunday, Dec 2) or Leeds (Tuesday, Dec 4) will have the opportunity to take home a permanent reminder of the show.

Fresh from performing a set comprising most of the group’s hits going back as far as 1978, leading duo Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford will hotfoot it from their dressing room down to the front of the stage to man their Pop Up Shop.

As well as the usual kind of tour merchandise you would expect to find on such a stall is something rather different - a freshly-made CD recording of that night’s show, which will have included live versions of the first new material written by the duo in 15 years. A new studio album is due next year.

Whereas 25-30 years ago chart hits were considered pivotal to measuring the success of any artist, if any were to come Squeeze’s way nowadays it would, says Difford, be considered nothing more than a bonus.

“I don’t really think chart success matters anymore,” said Difford. “To actually play a tour like we’re playing and loads of sell-out shows is a success in itself - selling CDs is like the icing on the cake, whereas it used to be the other way around,

hence their decision to sell material direct to their fans.

“Times have changed and the business is no longer what it once was.

“It’s what prompted the selling of CDs after our gigs. There are not many record shops that are left for us to sell our records in, royalties have been going down over the years and digital downloads don’t really give you an awful big income.”

More and more artists these days - at least those not tied to major labels - seem to be choosing to sell their music direct to fans, though it’s unlikely any of them will match the speed with which Squeeze and their crew will be able to commit their live material onto disc in time for punters to buy a copy just a few minutes after the show.

“We’ve got CD burners and we’re going to be mixing the show as we go and, at the end of the night, people can come along to the Pop Up Shop and buy a copy,” explained Difford.

“It will be a double CD because it’s a long show, but there will also be a free CD to go with it which will have some demos from our new album which is out next year.

“In a way, we’re providing people with a permanent memento of their evening with us.

“So, without badgering people to come to the merchandise stand, which I don’t think would be right, we’re just saying, ‘look, there’s the show if you want to have a copy of it, here it is.’”