Copyright 1994 Newsday, Inc.

July 8, 1994, Friday, CITY EDITION

Other Edition:Brooklyn19 Nassau and Suffolk

LENGTH: 785 words

HEADLINE: Mann Joins A Soft Squeeze



NEARLY five years ago, when "Unplugged" was a witty description and not a record business dodge, Squeeze participated in an MTV pilot that took electric instruments out of rockers' hands. While this musical novelty has become a career-resuscitating clicheV, Squeeze has become a stranger to music television, so there's mild irony in the veteran English group's current acoustic concert tour.

"We were asked to do a Fourth of July show in Chicago," explains Chris Difford, the singer-guitarist who co-founded Squeeze in the mid-'70s. "We didn't have a drummer, because Pete Thomas was off with the Attractions," so he hit on the idea of going without percussion and amplification. Difford also figured in his friend Aimee Mann, the American singer-songwriter whom he had met after hearing her on a London radio program. "We rehearsed and discovered that the vocal spread was great: me singing baritone and Aimee tenor, with Paul [Carrack, Squeeze's keyboardist, who's also playing a bit of snare drum this time out] and Glenn [Tilbrook, Difford's 21-year songwriting partner and the band's other lead vocalist] in the middle."

The tour's set list combines Squeeze's songs with Mann's and some of Carrack's. "We come on all together and play a couple of songs, then Aimee does two or three by herself, with maybe Paul on piano and Keith [Wilkinson] on bass. Then we do the middle all together, then Paul, then everybody. It's difficult to describe, because each song has a different combination of players."

After this one-off outing, Squeeze will be recording its next album, but Difford says to expect more in the way of extra-curricular activities. Tilbrook has just finished a solo acoustic tour of England; Difford has been writing songs with Elton John. "I think in the future, you'll see Squeeze like the Grateful Dead - the main family, with people branching off and doing their own things."

Squeeze and Aimee Mann, acoustic. Tomorrow night at the Beacon, Broadway at 74th Street. Show time is 8 p.m.; tickets are $ 28.50 from the box office and Ticketmaster.