In 1974, the British band Squeeze brought new wave music to prominence with hit songs like "Cool For Cats", "Up The Junction", "Tempted", "Black Coffee In Bed", and "Hourglass."  After an absence of nearly 11 years, original member Chris Difford is touring solo. He recently stopped by VOA and spoke with Larry London.

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook achieved fame as the songwriting team of Squeeze.  Difford penned the lyrics to hits like "Goodbye Girl."

Musician Chris Difford speaks about the album. "I think the success of Squeeze owes a lot to nostalgia.  I think as you grow older, you look back in your record box and go, 'Oh, that reminds me.'  You put on an old Squeeze album, it might take you back to your youth.  You start getting rejuvenated again.  Our albums are like vitamins that you can take throughout the rest of your life, and they kind of give you a nice spark." 

Difford is currently touring the eastern United States in support of his new recording, "South East Side Story", a play on the title of one of the Squeeze's most popular albums, "East Side Story."  Although he covers Squeeze's songs, he explains his new approach.

"It's an album of acoustic songs.  Melvin plays pedal, steel [guitar] on most of the tracks, and that kind of gives it a country vibe.  You know, I didn't want to compete with the originals because the originals are absolutely great.  So we took it down the country road." 

Squeeze's "East Side Story" recording sessions were some of the most productive days for the band.  A tragic event occurred during those sessions, though, that tempers the fond memories.

"We went into the studio for six weeks, and we had a very strict regime.  We started at eleven and finished at seven.  We ate vegetarian food and only drank cider.  It was an amazing time.  Right in the middle of recording there was a sad turn of events, John Lennon was murdered.  I'll always remember that album with that happening.  It was a very, very sad day for us all, of course."

Since ending his songwriting collaboration with Glenn, Difford has worked with many other composers.  He describes a phone call he got from Elton John.

"He called me up and asked me if I -- he had this tune he wanted the lyrics for.  I had to sit down. I couldn't believe he would call me up to ask for a lyric.  He sent me over the tune.  I stayed up all night, wrote the lyric and faxed it back to him.  Then he said, 'Come over to the house.'  So I went over to his house.  He put the lyric on the piano, and within two or three minutes he had written it.  I mean, that's how quickly he works.  It was quite an amazing day.  The hairs on the back of my neck were sticking up." 

Chris? rich lyrical vocabulary touches on many subjects, including a bulging waistline in one of his new songs.

For his next album, he would like to spend time in the capital of country music.

"I'd like to do some writing in Nashville, I think.  I was there the other day, and I must say, it seems like a writer's hole [a gathering place].  I'd like to go there and spend some time there.?