Glenn Tilbrook, mountain man 

Glenn Tilbrook openly admits it — he’s not a huge hiking enthusiast, and his only contact with the great outdoors is usually restricted to swimming pools and the occasional national park.

Still, last fall the Squeeze singer found himself in Tanzania, trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro to rugged Uhuru Peak, where he participated in a concert for Alarm leader Mike Peters’ Love Hope Strength Foundation, benefiting a local children’s cancer center.

“There were 27 people there, three of them were sick, and I was one of the sickies,” says Tilbrook, 52. “I got sunstroke, I got food poisoning and I discovered what it was like to actually think, ‘It’d be OK to die now — I wouldn’t mind, so just leave me here.’ I’d never experienced that feeling before.”

Tilbrook — who brings Squeeze to the Bay Area this weekend — had already played gigs for Peters at the summit of Mount Snowdon in Wales and the base camp of Mount Everest.

“Everest was hard work, but totally doable,” he says. “But Kilimanjaro was altogether different and much, much harder. I got to the top, looked around, and thought, ‘I know I’m going to enjoy the memory of this, but I sure can’t enjoy it right now.’ But I think what Mike is doing with Love Hope Strength is fantastic, and I want to help him any way I can.”

Once he and his longtime partner Chris Difford wrap this current Squeeze reunion tour — backing their new “Spot the Difference” reworking of catalog classics like “Slap and Tickle” and “Take Me I’m Yours” — the makeshift mountaineer will be tackling his next LHS assignment: Mount Fuji.

He’s not taking it lightly. Rope, pitons, climbing boots? Check. “You’ve got to have the right equipment, and you’ve got to pack your bag accordingly,” he says. “You need water, energy, sustenance, but you don’t want to carry too much weight. It’s a real responsibility.”

As is keeping Squeeze together. Overseas, the band just won a lifetime-achievement Ivor Novello award, but they’ve splintered several acrimonious times since their mid-’70s genesis.

Difford has an upcoming solo set, “Chris, That and the Other,” and Tilbrook maintains his side project The Fluffers (whose members round out the latest Squeeze lineup).

But this third time around, Tilbrook says, “We’re actually enjoying it, and we’re really sounding good. And seriously — I never thought that would happen.”

Squeeze is also conducting an LHS bone-marrow drive on tour — no hiking or audience pain involved, Tilbrook laughs. “We’re just trying to educate people about how such simple things as a donation can make such a big difference.”

If you go


Where: Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $39.50 to $75

Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $42.50

Contact: (800) 745-3000,

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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