Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook

A Conversation with Glenn Tilbrook (continued)

PM: For people who are in a duo, musical or otherwise, do you have anything to offer as words of advice?

GT: I'm the last person to offer advice. I never know how to give advice. I guess the best advice I can give is, when things happen, either things that you make happen or that happen to you, try to understand why. That's the best advice I can give.

PM: I hear you. Without belaboring the past, what do we know about Chris Difford now, how is he doing and what's he up to?

GT: Oh, he's doing fine. He just released a solo album in the UK [I Didn't Get Where I Am], which has some great tracks on it. He's singing really well. I think on his solo record he's just got the best singing he's ever done, so I'm very pleased that he's done that. And I think it's one of those things, that not working with me has also liberated Chris in some ways, and I think that's great. I'm really happy for him.

PM: So, when you first realized that now you had to be your own lyricist, were those lyrics that you started to write indeed your first lyrics, or had you written plenty of lyrics before you teamed up with Difford or along the way?

GT: I wrote songs by myself until I was about fourteen, I think.

PM: [laughs]

GT: That's when I met Chris. Actually, when I met him, his lyrics were so much better than mine. And generally, my tunes were better than his. So that's how we came to write that way. And from that moment on, Chris just kept on giving me lyrics. And that, for me, was great. I'm more than happy to just put tunes to those lyrics. So it wasn't as if Chris was writing about things that I couldn't understand or identify with. It was rather that I completely understood and felt what he was doing, and it felt natural to be doing that. And at the end of all that, when it came to me writing lyrics, the biggest influence on me was Chris.

PM: Sure.

GT: There's more than a touch of him in some of my songs, I think.

PM: Absolutely.

GT: That, again, feels natural to me. What else have I been doing for the last 25 years? I've been working with him, so it's not surprising that he's an influence.

PM: Are you comfortable now with being your own lyricist?

GT: Yeah, I am, completely.

PM: Because a lot of the new songs are great lyrically.

GT: But it took me a while to get there. I wrote some stuff I really wasn't pleased with at first. It was hard for me. But once I got one song done I was pleased with, that I could look at and think, "Well, yeah, okay, I think that's good," that took a lot of pressure off of me. Also, working with other people helped. Aimee Mann did the lyrics for "Observatory," and Ron Sexsmith for "You See Me," so I knew I had some good lyrics there anyway, which again made it easier for me to relax and do what I wanted to do.

PM: Have you done any co-writing with people here in town, with Nashville people at all?

GT: No. But that's something I really want to do. I want to come back to Nashville and do some more writing, and I also want to do some recording. I really want to do some recording here, because there's a--well, you don't need me to tell you--I love the stuff that comes out of Nashville and I think the people here have a work ethic that I admire.

PM: Yeah, and there are so many good writers, so many good players, so many good studios.

GT: Yeah, exactly. So I'd like to come here and do that, definitely. And it's the sort of thing I feel free to do now, being by myself. There's much more opportunity for me to do that.  

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