GLENN Tilbrook has a history of unreliable motor vehicles. Back in 1999 when the Squeeze frontman first pursued his solo career, he toured the US in a rather unreliable RV motorhome, and now on his latest solo tour of the country, he’s had bus problems.

He explained: “The plan, up until the other day, was look in a good pub guide, find a place with good facilities, book a room and then turn up with the bus.

“The problem was, when we went back to the bus it had acrid black smoke coming out of it and the fan belt had gone.

“In America I bought this great RV. They must have seen me coming. As I’m no mechanic, it kept on breaking down. I loved that piece of junk and kept it for four years.”

Fortunately, when I spoke to Glenn this week, the bus was back on the road and just three hours behind him when he arrived in Pocklington, just outside York, on Wednesday.

Following Pocklington, Sheffield and Nottingham, it’s back down south for two gigs in Essex and one in Ipswich.

Glenn certainly is no stranger to our county, having played at a number of venues on his own and as part of Squeeze. He also fondly remembers hanging out with famous south Essex R&B pioneers like Dr Feelgood.

He said: “We came out of south-east London, Greenwich, so we knew the bands well from around here.

“We supported the Feelgoods and Eddie and the Hot Rods numerous times and always had a lot of fun.”

Squeeze rose to prominence during the Seventies, on the back of raw, pacey pop songs plucked from real- life situations, such as Cool for Cats and Up the Junction.

In those days, frontmen Glenn and songwriting partner Chris Difford, shared the stage with a cheeky-chappie pianist called Jools Holland.

Jools left the band in 1980 and went on tpbecome a star in his own right, while Chris and Glenn racked up more hits and acquired a reputation as the Lennon and McCartney of the Eighties. Squeeze spliting 1999, but were reformed two years ago by their two frontmen.

Glenn said playing with the reformed band now felt even better than it had during the height of their commercial success, when Squeeze twice narrowly missed out on the coveted number one spot.

“I really enjoy it,” he said. “Chris and I hadn’t spoken for about four years before we got the band back together.

“You’ve got to remember, we’d been working together for 27 years, which is a long marriage and bound to get a bit strained.

“But we felt the time was right to get Squeeze back on stage last year and we’ve not looked back.”

His latest solo album is entitled Pandemonium Ensues, and was released earlier this year. It features guest appearances from Johnny Depp on Too Close to the Sun and Johnny’s wife, Vanessa Paradis, on Interest and Love.

Glenn added: “They came along to a show I did in Los Angeles and afterwards came backstage to say how much they enjoyed it.

“A week after that I was mixing the album and asked them if they wanted to do a track. I expected them to do the same one, but they each did different songs. They were lovely people and great to work with.”

Glenn’s a pretty nice bloke himself, making sure that as well as touring the world playing with both Squeeze and performing his own material, he finds time to raise money and awareness of cancer research through the Love Hope Strength Foundation.

It was founded by Mike Peters of the Alarm, but Glenn has been a fervent supporter. An acoustic set at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro this year with Mike and more than 20 other musicians and cancer survivors followed a similar one at Base Camp at Everest in 2007, a feat which saw him enter the Guinness Book of Records.

Glenn said: “They are good fun and obviously for a very worthy cause. Next year we’re looking to do Mount Fuji in Japan.”

l Glenn Tilbrook plays Colchester Arts Centre, tomorrow at 8pm, and then St Nicholas Centre in Ipswich on Friday. Tickets for Colchester are £12, available from 01206 500900,and £16.50 for Ipswich, available from 01473 258070.