On the eve of his first U.S. tour in a decade, Squeeze’s Chris Difford is currently putting the finishing touches on his second solo album, “Another Day Above Ground.”
Produced by John Wood (Squeeze, Nick Drake), the disc runs a gamut of inspiration. “One of the songs, ‘Broken Family,’ is about a man reflecting on whether he’s been a good dad or not — it’s sort of a very reflective, middle-aged kind of song,” Difford tells Billboard.com. “And then there’s a song about a vasectomy reversal [laughs], and the song we’re mixing right now is about a striptease dance, a pole dancer. Then there’s a song about my mom. It’s definitely an extension from my first solo album, which is also very autobiographical.”
On the 14-date tour he kicks off Feb. 25 in Nashville, Difford will be playing two sets, one of acoustic Squeeze songs, and another devoted to solo material. “It’s scary,” Difford says via phone from London. “I’m not sure if anybody’s gonna come to the gigs. I haven’t been on the plane for 10 years, so that’s a very scary thought. We went and got our visas today at the American embassy, so I feel like I’m already there. They have my fingerprint.”
In September, Difford quietly released “South East Side Story,” a 10-song live collection of Squeeze staples performed acoustically and awash in steel guitar. The tour is largely based on the album, on which he and female vocalist Dorie Jackson harmonize on such classics as “Black Coffee in Bed,” “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” and “Tempted.”
“It’s a good combination, having the pedal steel. It kind of cries all over the tracks, and it sounds like an orchestra,” Difford says, noting, “Maybe next year, I’ll do another one of some of the other hits.”
Having recently teamed up with former Squeeze songwriting partner Glenn Tilbrook to do press for a new U.K. Squeeze best-of, Difford says fans can expect to see Squeeze reunite sooner or later.
“I think it would be pretty amazing, really,” he says. “I was with Glenn yesterday, actually, but we didn’t talk about that. We get offers all the time. We got an offer just today to support Crowded House on their American tour, which I think would be an amazing tour, but I’m not sure we’re both in agreement about how we would do it.
“Yes, I think it will happen at some stage, but I don’t know if this time is the right time,” he continues. “We need to sit in a room and discuss it, and we’ve got to have concrete plans, and we have to get a booking agent… But it has to be emotionally, spiritually and financially the right thing, and when all those planets come into line, then we will be there. At the time being, I can’t see it on the horizon, but I’ve been wrong before.”
While in the U.S., Difford says he will be looking for a label home for the forthcoming “Another Day Above Ground.” “I’m gonna be bringing it with me, and play it to some people and if they want, then we’ll cut a deal,” he says. “I’m happy to take it to WalMart or anybody.”