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Squeeze set for Sage Gateshead gig as they head out on tour with John Cooper Clarke

A night of words and music is on the cards when Squeeze take to Sage Gateshead's Hall One with a famous punk poet

DANNY-CLIFFORD Squeeze's Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook
Squeeze's Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook

Music, laughter and a nostalgic wallow are on the cards when Squeeze hit the road for an autumn tour that will bring them to Sage Gateshead’s big Hall One.

Joining them for word-powered interludes will be John Cooper Clarke, the sharp-witted ‘Bard of Salford’ who is still going strong seemingly against the odds.

But the figure of Danny Baker, one of the chirpiest chappies on the radio, will also loom over the proceedings.

Some of the songs to feature in Squeeze’s forthcoming new album, From the Cradle to the Grave, and which will figure prominently on tour, will also provide a soundtrack to a new BBC Two comedy series, Cradle to Grave, based on Danny’s autobiography.

Squeeze burst onto the music scene in the 1970s and thrived alongside punk due to accomplished musicianship and good songs such as Cool for Cats and Up the Junction.

I remember them stealing the show as the support act for Dr Feelgood in a Cardiff cinema where the condensation ran down the walls. Jools Holland was hammering the Squeeze keyboards to good effect back then.

Squeeze founder members Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, who won a prestigious Ivor Novello Award in 2008, had revived the band the previous year for a one-off reunion that endured to this day.

It has led to From the Cradle to the Grave, the first album of exclusively new material since Domino in 1998 (the 2011 studio release, Spot the Difference, was a reworking of past hits).

Chris Difford says: “We’ve grown up a lot in the last few years, musically.

“For the first five years back together we were saying: ‘This is where we came from.’ Now this is where we are. We still love and own our past but as musicians we need to grow.”

That said, many of the new songs will feature on that eight-part TV comedy series which is set in the 1970s.

It is an adaptation of the Baker life story, Going to Sea in a Sieve, in which Peter Kay and Lucy Speed will play Danny’s parents, Fred and Bet.

Danny, who co-wrote the series with Jeff Pope, the scriptwriter, producer and director, grew up in Deptford which was Squeeze’s old stamping ground.

“When I read the book, I got in contact with Danny and said that I thought we could do something together with it,” recalls Glenn Tilbrook.

“Danny was already talking with Jeff Pope about a TV series and the mood and sentiment of Cradle were completely in synch.

“Danny and Jeff both loved it and everything else followed on from there.”

Ian West/PA Wire John Cooper Clarke
John Cooper Clarke

When the production team heard From the Cradle to the Grave, they were so impressed that they took the album’s title and tweaked it for the TV series.

Chris, who also manages young Irish band The Strypes, says: “The scripts were inspiring, hugely funny. It tapped into a period that lyrically I was very familiar with as I grew up in the same neighbourhood as Danny.

“We have been on location to see how it is going.

“It gave us a spring in our step to see the quality of filming and the direction and attention to detail.”

Tilbrook and Difford toured last year as a duo but this year’s tour will be the first as Squeeze since 2012.

The tour opens in Plymouth on September 25 and comes to Sage Gateshead on October 21. Tickets go on general sale on Friday, March 27 at 10am from www.gigsandtours.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk or tel. 0844 8110051/8262826.

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