This is his third time on the Phile. He was last here on October 14th, 2010. His band Squeeze has a brand new album coming out on Tuesday called "Live at the Fillmore" and they'll be next appearing tonight at Cresent Ballroom in Phoenix, Arizona. Please welcome to the Phile, the 300th interview here, the bass player from Squeeze... John Bentley.

Me: Hello, John, welcome back to the Phile, sir. How have you been?

John: Hi, hi, hi Jason, it's good to be back on Phile!

Me: I am so glad to see Squeeze is going strong and you are still in the band. You guys must be having a great time, am I right?

John: Touring the world playing along side Difford & Tilbrook to adoring fans every night is not dull... well somebody's got to do it!

Me: So, who is in the band now? Steve Nieve was in the band, replacing Stepene Large on keyboards, but Large is back in the band, right? What's going on with those keyboardists?

John: Holland + Carrick + Large + Nieve... put them all on a desert island and let them fight it out among themselves!

Me: The last few times you were here I didn't ask you about the early days of Squeeze, John. Not many questions at least. Do you remember when you first joined the band, and where you first met Difford and Tilbrook?

John: Yes!... next question! All sorts of stories have been circulated over the years about my 1st encounter with the Squeeze Geezers... And now for your personal delight... the truth can finally be revealed in this exclusive interview with the Peverett Philes... Way back in 1979 Squeeze were auditioning for a new bassist. But when I got to Suma Studios in Chelsea they had already chosen a bass player out of 57 applicants. Chris Difford and I watched Holland Lavis & Tilbrook rehearsing with their new bassist from behind the glass of the studio control room. I did not realise at the time that Chris was actually in the band. I thought he was there in some kind of management capacity! We were chatting away and we seemed to be on the same wave length, so after about 10 minutes of listening to the new Squeeze bass player I turned to him and said, "I'm loads better than this guy." I am SO glad I had the balls to say that! Chris kindly arranged a 'special' audition the following day, just for me, and the rest as they say is His Story! Interestingly I had been for an audition earlier in the week for a job as rhythm guitarist with Suzie Quatro. The day after the Squeeze audition Glenn phoned me up at 9:00am to tell me that I'd got the job, which obviously I was very pleased about... BUT at lunchtime I received a phone call from Suzie asking me to come over for a second audition. I never went to it, but I often wonder what might have happened if I'd driven off in a Quatro!

Me: The first album you did with them was "Argybargy". Where did that name come from, John?

John: It's an old bit of English slang. It must've come from the same place as "Slap n Tickle"!

Me: You arrived in Squeeze at the right time, right when they got big. Were you guys surprised by how popular the band got?

John: Everybody in the band was super confident about how Squeeze were destined to take over the world. Well Jools certainly did anyway! I hit the ground running... and I'm still out of breath!

Me: The second album you were on, "East Side Story" was produced by Elvis Costello. How was that experience? And speaking of getting big... Costello is big. Wasn't Dave Edmunds supposed to produce the album? What happened there?

John: Well, "East Side Story" originally was going to be a 'concept' album. It was intended to be a double album with each one of the four (do you remember vinyl?) sides being produced by a different musician/producer. Paul Mcartney, Dave Edmunds Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello were among several names associated with the project early on. I'm not sure why it never happened... perhaps they didn't want to share the credits! Dave Edmunds did produce "In Quintessence" though. And I actually was in Quintessence for a while!

Me: Have you heard or ever seen Edmunds? He has no presence on-line whatsoever.

John: Dave is not only a cracking bloke, but a legend of the guitar. He still does the occasional gig. He never seemed to be interested in the process of raising his own profile, so it is not surprising that there is a lack of information about him online. Dave Edmunds just lets his fingers do the talking!

Me: When Squeeze broke up originally in 1982, what was your reaction, and how were you and the Gilsin told? I take it it was a decided between Chris and Glenn.

John: Well, it came as a bit of a shock to me, but I quickly picked up a record deal with Polydor and spent most of the recording advance on drugs, gambling and loose women. The rest I just squandered!

Me: John, do you know a musician named Darren Poyzer, John? He might be on the Phile soon. He said he was a big fan of Squeeze and knows you guys.

John: 'Appen I do. Darren's from the North! We wrote a song together on a writers workshop called "Flattened by the Bass". That's the title of the song, not the workshop!

Me: Okay, let's talk about Squeeze's new "Live at the Fillmore". This is the second live album in a few years from Squeeze, which I am excited about. How is it different though from "Five Live"?

John: Basically, Jason, it's a lot better. Better produced, more exciting. When you arrange to record a gig with a mobile studio it is, for financial reasons, a 'one off'. So you just get the one shot at it and you never know if it's going to be a good gig or not. It just happened that "Live at the Filmore" was a fantastic night! Well done, everybody!

Me: John, when was the album recorded?

John: I'm guessing 2009? I'm sure it will say on the CD. I haven't managed to get hold of a copy yet myself... probably end up buying one from a bargain bin!

Me: It won't be available on CD, am I right? But only on vinyl and iTunes?

John: Oh?! So much for me bargain bin then!

Me: As well as the new album, you are gonan on tour in the States and the UK. I wish you were coming down to Florida, John. Anyway, I have to ask, what has been your favorite show you have ever played with the guys?

John: The Depford Albany in 2007. It was our first gig after the reformation! The Albany Empire is where Squeeze started out from. A bit like the Cavern was to the Beatles. Home turf... the audience feel like they own the band. It was just so emotional, brung a tear to me eye!

Me: I saw this picture of Johnny Depp and the band. That's cool he is a Squeeze fan. How and when did this meeting take place?
John: Johnny and Vanessa came along to see Squeeze at the Orphium Theatre in LA. I think it was 2009. I was totally blown away by the whole experience, which was made all the more amazing by the fact that HE is a fan of US! I have put up a video of us having a laugh and a joke on my website...

Me: You had to get an autograph for your daughter, am I right?

John: Hey, Jason... when Johnny B met Johnny D autographs where not high up on the agenda!

Me: John, I have to ask you this question, as Squeeze fans would wanna know... are we gonna see a new Squeeze album with new songs soon?

John: That has to be the $64,000.00 question! I think you're more likely to see Chris Difford whistling Rogers & Hammerstein. Or maybe Glenn collaborating with a virtual Elvis.

Me: John, your wife Sara sent me a message about the band The Picardie you are working with. How did you meet these kids? And you managing them, producing them, or writing for them?

John: The Picardie are an indie band. Whatever that means. They write all their own stuff. I simply produced a few tracks for them in my state of the art, in 1971, recording studio. JB Productions is a bit of a new venture for me. Sara and Bebe have built a JB Production page you can visit on the internet.

Me: Are they working on an album?

John: No, they're working at Currys!

Me: I would love to have them here on the Phile, John. Keep me posted on them.

John: Sure thing, Chief!

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile again, John. You are welcome back anytime you want. Go ahead and plug your website and Squeeze site and anything else you want.


Me: Take care, and come back on again soon, John. Also, tell Glenn and Chris they need to be on the Phile. I was this close to having Chris on... All the best.

John: Thanks for having me... it's been a real pressure!
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Featuring the 300th Interview Alumni John Bentley From Squeeze