Glenn Tilbrook announces tour for foodbanks and comes to @KomediaBath on Thu 28th March @glenntilbrook @TrussellTrust
Singing for his supper. Squeeze’s lead singer Glenn Tilbrook tells us why on his latest tour, he’ll be raising money and awareness for The Trussell Trust, the anti-poverty charity and foodbank network.
Almost three years ago, deep in the heart of the BBC, Glenn Tilbrook was preparing to perform with his band Squeeze on The Andrew Marr Show. Sitting on the coach, ready to listen, was former Prime Minster of Great Britain, David Cameron. At the last minute Glenn changed the lyrics of ‘Cradle To The Grave’ (hit single from the band’s 15th studio album), to sing: “I grew up in council housing, part of what made Britain great. There are some here who are hellbent, on the destruction of the welfare state.”
Glenn is in fine form after a long day of press interviews. Not just a political Machiavellian who reels off soundbites and headlines, Glenn has made an effort to inform himself greatly, and it’s how he came across The Trussell Trust – the charity he will be raising money for on his upcoming UK Tour. It’s clear to see in the way he talks about it that, for him, this is a new raison d’être.
“I watched a programme on the iPlayer about foodbanks, and it really stayed with me. The grinding desperation of people who don’t have enough food to put on the table for their kids. Anyone can end up in that situation and I’m ashamed that in 2018 our politicians can’t come up with a better solution.”
The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity that supports a network of over 420 foodbanks across the UK. In 2017-2018, 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people referred to foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network, a 13% increase on the previous year.
“I just wanted to help The Trussell Trust and what they do with coordinating collections and distribution. It’s just a very practical solution to a heart-breaking problem.”
Audience members will be able to donate non-perishable foods and other essential items at most venues, where they’ll be collected by the local foodbank. All merchandise profit will also be going to The Trussell Trust, including a new four track EP. “It’s going to contain at least two new songs. I want it to be really stripped back and just me singing and playing because I’ve never really done that before.” Ever the musical tinkerer, Glenn’s voice rises in excitement at the prospect of trying new things out on the road, “I’m definitely putting some more deep songs of my own in, I know that. I’m going to play a couple of songs with [backing] tracks too – I’ve never done that before! I saw Emerson Snowe, who’s an Australian singer-songwriter, and he did that and I thought ‘wow this really works’. If it’s just an interlude where you’re playing and suddenly you have the sound of a full band coming out of nowhere, it’s quite interesting and it breaks the flow up in a way that I like.”
Glenn is quick to admit that foodbanks, however good, are not the definitive answer to a larger crisis.
“I think there’s a demonization of poor people that’s been going on too long, where they somehow seem as spongers if they don’t have enough money,” Glenn is more solemn now. “I grew up in council housing and my parents can remember when being poor was an awful stigma. You had no help from the government, and we seem to be gradually wending our way back to that position.”
Do you think it’s a sense of apathy?
“Maybe apathy on the part of people that let this sort of thing happen, but I don’t think its political apathy,” he pauses. “I think it’s sort of an agenda – not to create poverty – but poverty is the by-product of a totally free market society.”
There’s a point to be made, that while some of Squeeze’s later records have been extremely politically charged (cuts like ‘A&E’ and ‘Rough Ride’ from 2017’s ‘The Knowledge’ are a call to arms for the country’s welfare departments), their early records are just as poignant.
“I think the politics of songs like Labelled With Love and Up The Junction were more personal, but coming from a similar place.”
From a similar place of the troubles of the ordinary working person?
“Exactly that. Honestly, ‘Up The Junction’ could be a Trussell Trust story you know?”
Begging may not be his business, but Glenn comes across as someone making a genuine and concerted effort to better his fellow man, and all power to him. In the age of celebrities getting involved in politics, Glenn is putting his money where his mouth is, and singing for not just his own supper this autumn.
Glenn Tilbrook tours the UK this autumn and spring. Tickets are available from www.seetickets.com
Food donated at the venues will be collected and distributed to the nearest Trussell Trust foodbank.
Foodbanks provide a minimum of three-days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable tinned and dried foods that have been donated by the local community. www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/emergency-food/food-parcel list of items in a typical food parcel are: cereal, soup, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes/pasta sauce, lentils, beans and pulses, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tea/coffee, tinned fruit, biscuits, UHT milk and fruit juice. If possible audience members are asked to check with www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank local foodbanks to see what supplies are currently needed.