The Official Chris Difford Website

This is not America


The first week of touring with Squeeze in America seems to have gone like all the others, except it does not feel like the beginning of another new tour but the extension of our summer shows. For me this feels good, no pre tour panic to sort the chords out and get the shapes all in a line, we have been up and running for some time so it all sounds pretty good. We were spoilt in Phoenix, our first show, with a lovely venue and a curry house just a around the corner, where Melvin and i floated with our jet lag over a small feast. The circus rolls on and into Solana for a sold out club show, it was so hot on stage that i had to give way to a cooling fan! although i had it turned off after i felt my hair rise up like a skirt over a subway air vent. The bus and the RV’s make the whole backstage rather Circus like, it works i think. The lion tamer the trapeze artist’s and the magician encircled beyond the dressing rooms. I like the use of the RV backstage, it turns into a cool room to lay down in, to focus and relax. Dennis my driver knows how to give space and is a really nice chap. Im sure he was in Gilligan’s Island. The set is much the same as in the UK but without Radio Two support here in the US, or any radio support at all, the new songs grind a little with the audience who, of coarse, want all the hits. They get those, but they feel like over dry cleaned suits some nights, or maybe its just me. After the show we meander to the merch area to sit in a row to sign mostly this and that, people come up and say hi, they enjoy the show and come with wonderful smiles and seconds of uncomfortable conversation, which i feel for. I would be lost for words were i waiting to get a record signed. Which i would never do. Once the ink is dry its back in the RV for some more sushi, and the Seaweed, which never gets eaten but i always order. The fridge is full of half eaten boxes of sushi, its like a fish tank in there. 

My back is a constant, and standing on stage can go one of two ways, i can feel connected to the music and the stage and I’m all slippery slidy, or I’m still waiting for the leg to catch up with the healing. Thats the bit that hurts, and the pain is sudden and jolting, i feel trapped with a nerve, the music slips to one side as does my profile. Oddly when someone makes me laugh it gets even worse. Apart from that the shows are going well, there is a stress in Glenn’s voice but thats just the A/C, he has such a resilient attitude to singing, and singing like a bird. Sometimes two. Simon is always in a good place and is an inspiration to be around. Melvin loves catering. Stephen and Lucy manage being a family on tour really well with little Daisy on arm. Back home the one i love is holding fort, the kids must love having Mum to themselves. We speak each day a few times and from a distance life goes on, as it surely must. I hope she can fly out for the last few shows, but its a big ask. Touring can break your heart. 

The last two shows of the week were in a Casino in the desert and on the street by a beach. The Casino was not full, and from the stage it was very much grin and bare it, although i had a good night. They were an older crowd, some of them older than me even. In The mornings ear worms pop up from time to time, and today i have been singing along with David Bowie, this is not America, a track he cut with Pat Metheny. It swaggers with me as i walk to the breakfast room, which is filled with the passing people that make up the days tapestry. Faces that eat, children that fill their faces with sugar and my face, often stubborn in reflection on the coffee pot. Another hotel, another day turns its page but then again this is not America. My breakfast is as ever the same each day, granola, organ juice, two eggs, toast, coffee and then I’m all set. As they say. My fat face appears and I’m off back to my room to call home and pack.

The end of the first week saw us play at a street festival a short walk from the final resting place of the great Cunard liner Queen Mary. A grand old lady, who seems so small against the skyline, sitting  proudly at the dockside while across the way bands play loudly, the aggressive nature of music spoils the imagination. I would love to have been on board ship sipping cocktails and living in Mahogany and Walnut bedrooms. Instead I’m on a RV with formica tables and plastic chairs. When i was 5 years old i had a model Queen Mary which floated in the bath with me, a tin bath at that. The show itself was in a street on a large stage, we played to about 500 people and a half naked man who was sat peering from his window in his flat, which overlooked the stage. We were punk, we played quickly, we came off stage and within seconds we had disbursed into the night air, a day off was looming and the sense of lets have a good time came over everyone. I could hear corks flying as we departed in separate RV’s and busses together. My RV crew pulled out of town a bit slower, i found a curry house which was just about to close, so we ordered and eat in the RV just outside the restaurant, it tasted just as good and felt like a real treat. A good night cap to the day, and the end of the first week of me being here on tour. This may not be America, and as long as you avoid the TV and the outside world its as close to home as it can be. I’m spoilt for all i need really. A nice room, a great bunch of people to be in a band with, a wonderful road crew, and an all day buffet.