Gary Lightbody

Gary Lightbody

born on 14/6/1976 in Bangor, Ulster, United Kingdom

Links www.snowpatrol.com (English)

Gary Lightbody

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Gary Lightbody

Gary Lightbody (born 15 June 1976)[1] is a Northern Irish multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter best known as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the alternative rock band Snow Patrol.

Early life and education

Born in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, to Jack and Lynne (née Wray) Lightbody, on 15 June 1976,[2] Jack Lightbody has been an independent business owner and has roots in Rosemount, Derry.[3] Gary Lightbody has one sister, Sarah, and attended Rockport School and Campbell College.[4][5]

In 1994, Lightbody left home for Scotland to study English literature and English language at the University of Dundee.[6][7]

Career

Snow Patrol

Lightbody formed a band with Mark McClelland and drummer Michael Morrison in 1994, called Shrug. Morrison left the band later, and the band were forced to change the name to Polarbear, as another band had claimed the name.[8] In the band's first seven years of existence, they added drummer Jonny Quinn, released two albums (Songs for Polarbears, and When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up), and toured with bands such as Levellers, Ash and Travis. The band stayed in Glasgow during the recording of the first two albums. Lightbody used to hold a job at the Nice n Sleazy's Bar in Sauchiehall Street.[1][9] Today, Lightbody owns a small place in Glasgow and says he will never leave the country behind, though he resides in Belfast. He feels an attachment to the place, as it gave him his first taste of success.[10]

In the early days, Lightbody used to drink very heavily, and in his words, was "irrational, erratic, neurotic".[11] He had become frustrated by Snow Patrol's lack of financial success and felt lost and aimless. He started cursing at the audience and demolishing the band's equipment. He found himself breaking guitars they could not afford. This phase ran for two years. He later gave up drinking and now does it "for fun" and credits his band mates for the turnaround.[12] The song "Disaster Button" (A Hundred Million Suns) deals with this topic. Though a musician, he cannot read music and has said that he "guesses" his way through chords.[13] He has a baritone vocal range.[14][15]

DJing

When at the University of Dundee, Lightbody met Nick DeCosemo, a fellow student, and the two became friends. DeCosemo also moved in Lightbody's Springfield apartment when he moved out of his parents' house. Nick had formed a club night called The Spaceship at the Tay Hotel. Along with Lightbody, friends Roy Kerr, Tom Simpson, and Anu Pillai also used to DJ there. They mixed up various styles of music as house, rock, and hip hop. They gained a loyal following and socialised together for about two years.[16][17][18]

Lightbody later co-wrote "What Are You Waiting For" on the album Strangest Things, with Anu Pillai for Freeform Five.[16][19] "What Are You Waiting For" was written before Snow Patrol released Final Straw, during a time when Lightbody was staying over at the band's place for a few days. Pillai had to literally drag a hungover Lightbody to the studio. Once there, however, Gary would come through for them.[18]

Lightbody has filled in for DJ Zane Lowe on his BBC radio show on one occasion during the 2007 takeovers. He was subsequently voted the best fill-in DJ amongst them by the listeners.[20] He has compiled two DJ mix albums, one in The Trip series: The Trip: Created by Snow Patrol, and another with bandmate Tom Simpson, called Late Night Tales: Snow Patrol on the Late Night Tales series.

Other projects

In addition to his work with Snow Patrol and DJing, Gary Lightbody has contributed to other projects and works.

Writing

Lightbody writes as essayist articles or columns in variously music magazines and newspapers like Q magazine[21] and previously wrote for The Irish Times music section as guest-editor. As an impassioned music fan and DJ, he recommends in his blogs or essays albums and artists of different and wide-ranging genres of music.

In May 2009, Lightbody commenced writing his music column, Gary Lightbody's Band of the Week, in the magazine Q The Music.com.[22]

In 2011, he wrote as an essayist for The Huffington Post.

Other musical projects

As a songwriter/bandleader, he has written songs and lyrics for a wide variety of artists and genres.

In 2000, he formed the Scottish supergroup The Reindeer Section, comprising 47 musicians from 20 different bands, including members of bands like Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Idlewild, Teenage Fanclub, Arab Strap and other musicians.[23] The group released Y'All Get Scared Now, Ya Hear! in 2001 and Son of Evil Reindeer in 2002.

2000-2002
  • In addition to work on Snow Patrol and side-project material, Lightbody has also lent his voice to the band Mogwai (one track on Rock Action).
  • In 2001, he contributed furthermore British breakbeat/electronica musician Cut La Roc's song Fallen.
2005-2006
  • In 2005, he was included in another musical collective, The Cake Sale, formed by Brian Crosby to raise funds and awareness for Ireland's Make Trade Fair campaign. He partnered with Lisa Hannigan to perform "Some Surprise", a song written by Bell X1's Paul Noonan. The song reached No. 5 on Irish charts as a radiosingle release.
  • He contributed vocals to The Freelance Hellraisers Waiting for Clearance debut album in 2006 and for UK producer Kidda's debut album Going Up.[24]
2007-2008
  • As songwriter for the track "Just Say Yes" for Nicole Scherzinger's debut solo album Her Name Is Nicole but due to the album being shelved the single was re-recorded by Pussycat Dolls and remains unreleased by Scherzinger. In 2009 Gary Lightbody announced in an interview that Snow Patrol would be releasing "Just Say Yes" as the first single from their Up to Now compilation record.[25]
  • In 2007, he lent his voice to British house musician and DJ Cut La Roc's track Mishka on his album Larger Than Life which is yet to be released.[26]
2008-2009
  • In 2009, he announced that he had begun work on two solo side projects, a country group Tired Pony and an avant-garde group with Snow Patrol producer Jacknife Lee: Listen... Tanks!.[27][28]
  • August/September 2009: Gary Lightbody joined with bandmates Johnny Quinn and Nathan Connolly to form Polar Music, a publishing music company "run by artists for artists" in co-operation with Universal Music Group and which will be administered by Kobalt Music in London. Polar Music's debut signing is artist Johnny McDaid from Northern Ireland who is currently writing with German Electronica/Trance DJ Paul van Dyk for an album due in 2010.[29]
2010
  • In January, Gary Lightbody recorded in Portland, Oregon the debut album of his side project Tired Pony with title The Place We Ran From. The album's release was announced for 12 July 2010. This new supergroup he founded includes Jacknife Lee as producer and musicians like R.E.M.'s guitarist/co-founder Peter Buck, Editors singer Tom Smith, singer and songwriter Iain Archer, Belle & Sebastian's drummer Richard Colburn, The Young Fresh Fellows and The Minus 5 singer Scott McCaughey, She & Him singer Zooey Deschanel, Snow Patrol's touring member guitarist Troy Stewart and guitarist M. Ward.[30][31]
  • Gary Lightbody and producer Jacknife Lee contributed to the original score for the Irish film My Brothers, which appeared in the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Gary Lightbody lends his songwriting and vocal talents to Mishka, a collaboration with Cut La Roc, released on La Roc's 2010 album, 'Larger Than Life'.
  • During 2010, on tour for several concerts of Snow Patrol and Tired Pony in Europe, USA and South America
  • Collaboration with former Kinks singer Ray Davies on Davies' album See My Friends as song Tired of Waiting for You
2012
  • Several TV-performances on European and American shows as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Late Show with David Letterman
  • Performs with Snow Patrol at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Concert in Hyde Park, London
  • Featured on the track "The Last Time" on Taylor Swift's 2012 album Red
  • Performs with Ed Sheeran at the iTunes Festival singing a duet of "Chasing Cars"
2013
  • Along with Johnny McDaid, performs at the Derry/Londonderry City of Culture Sons and Daughters concert, plays a three song acoustic set singing "Run", "Just Say Yes" (the festival's anthem) and "Chasing Cars".
  • Lightbody, Nathan Connoly and Johnny McDaid play at the Comic Relief 'Funny for Money' show and perform Lifening.
  • Forms "Gary Lightbody and the Assembly" at Stormont for TEDx, records a song, and speaks for TEDx.
  • Appears in a cameo in the Game of Thrones episode "Walk of Punishment"[32][33]
  • Appeared on The X Factor UK Season 10 in a duet with Taylor Swift. They sung The Last Time to promote it as a UK single on November 3, 2013.

Musicianship

Influences

Growing up, Lightbody listened to artists like Super Furry Animals, Quincy Jones, Kool & the Gang, and Michael Jackson. He subsequently got into hard rock bands AC/DC and KISS as a teen, and then alternative acts like Sebadoh, Mudhoney, Pixies and Pavement.[34]

As a boy, he dreamed of becoming "the biggest rock star on the planet" like Bono, but he was never "cool".[13]

Songwriting

Lightbody started writing songs at the age of 15, in a little room under the kitchen of the family's house. He had few guitar lessons where he learnt the basics of the instrument but did not continue them, as he felt that one should not know any instrument "inside-out". He preferred to invent rather than use a formula. Today, he is not too fond of his earliest songs and thinks they "sucked". His songwriting style is mostly simple and basic, and he acknowledges that, saying he "[never] advanced past rudimentary". He feels the best way to write an honest song is to be simple, and that trying to complicate matters distorts the intended message. He believes the band has always tried to keep things as "simple and pure" as possible and has written from the heart. One of Lightbody's major inspirations to begin writing was notable Irish poet Seamus Heaney; which is alluded to on the B-side track on Snow Patrol's The Planets Bend Between Us single, named 'Reading Heaney To Me'. It also refers extensively to Heaney's poems throughout the lyrics.

Lightbody's lyrics typically deal with the topic of love. Although he considers himself a political person and has tried writing songs with such themes, he eventually abandoned his efforts as he found all of them awkward.[35] Lightbody has said that all of the songs from the first two albums; Songs for Polarbears and When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up were written from personal experience.[36] His lyrics often criticise himself or are self-deprecatory. He has cited "Chocolate" as an example, which he wrote after cheating on his girlfriend. He also considers writing a sort of "therapy" for himself.[35]

Lightbody's songwriting has earned him much praise. In October 2009, he revealed that a certain "public figure", whom he wanted to remain nameless, told him that the band had written songs that were standards in today's world, and that Snow Patrol songs had become a part of the public consciousness. He compared their work to that of artists like Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. Lightbody realises this and cites performances of their songs on reality TV shows as an example.[13]

Views on music industry

Lightbody has held the view that Snow Patrol may have had an easier time succeeding in the music industry than a band forming at the present time and attempting to become successful, given the changed state of the music industry, specifically how music is obtained by consumers. He questions the public's motive to buy the songs which they have already listened to, and blames Myspace for it.

Of Snow Patrol, Lightbody has said that all albums they managed to sell in the early days were from touring, as there were no pirated copies of their music available then. He believes if the current state of the industry continues, it would become impossible for bands starting out to become full-time.[37] Despite this, he observes that the band might not have survived if they had been successful early in their career, as they would have subsequently taken that success for granted.[38]

Personal life

Lightbody is known to keep his personal life private.

Lightbody is passionate about football (soccer) and has been known to support both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland national football teams.[39][40] This is supported by the song "Lifening", in which he sings the lyrics "Ireland in the World Cup, either North or South".[41]

He is a fan of the X-Men, particularly Wolverine, and owns a stack of comics. He bought several comics as a kid and has some that he has never opened, hoping they would become rare collectibles someday; in a later interview, he light-heartedly mentioned that they could earn him a small pension. He considers himself a "comics freak".[42]

Despite having written several romantic songs, Lightbody has been reported as having had trouble talking to women.[43] Lightbody has been in many doomed relationships, and he blames their failure on only himself, considering himself "rubbish with women". He attributes the failure partly to him "never being in the same place for very long", and admits that at times he's been hopelessly in love.[13]

Philanthropy

Lightbody has been involved in numerous causes, mostly related to music and football. He is currently on the board of directors of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Northern Ireland, a project set up to give young artists a place where they can share ideas and kick-start their music careers, as often is the trend of talent leaving the country from lack of appraisal. He supported young bands from Northern Ireland and involved them as support bands to shows of Snow Patrol's UK & Ireland Arena Tour of FebruaryMarch 2009.

Lightbody is one of the supporting voices for the growing music-scene in his hometown Belfast in Northern Ireland and once stated in an interview to have grown up as an "Indie rock kid" inspired to become a musician through influences of artists and acts such as Kurt Cobain, Super Furry Animals, and Sebadoh.[44]

Lightbody has worked with the aid organisation Save the Children in Uganda, an experience on which he has written in New Statesman.[45] He has also been involved in raising awareness of depression, a condition that he himself has struggled with.[46][47]

Recognition

Honours

In July 2012, Lightbody received an Honorary Doctorate in Letters from the University of Ulster at a ceremony in the Millennium Forum, Derry/Londonderry.[3]

Awards and accolades

Year Publication Entity Rank
2005 Scotland on Sunday The Eligibles[48][49][50] 4
2006 1
2007 Top 10
2006 Daily Record 100 Hottest Scots[51] 5
2007 9
2009 Social and Personal Sexiest Irishmen[52] 96
Q Artists of the Century[53][54] *

Musical equipment

Guitars

  • Lightbody's main guitar is a Fender '72 Telecaster Deluxe reissue in Black. Gary's guitars are known for the 'CELT' sticker on them.
  • Gretsch 6120 New Nashville Orange (seen during a 2008 performance on Later... with Jools Holland)
  • Gretsch G6122-II Chet Atkins Country Gentleman (seen during the Snow Patrol European May July 2010 tour)
  • Gibson SG Black with White Pickguard
  • Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline Reissue Blonde
  • Fender Telecaster (c)'77 Deluxe Blonde
  • Fender Telecaster Standard USA model in Yellow
  • Fender Telecaster Standard - Black (seen in music video for Spitting Games)
  • Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Black (also bears the CELT sticker)
  • Guild Acoustic
  • Lowden Acoustic[55]

Amplifiers

  • Diamond Decada Amp Head With Decada 4x12 Cab (Uses two of the same)
  • Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Solo Heads With Rectifier 4x12 Cabs
  • Marshall JCM800 2203 With JCM 1960A 4x12 Cab
  • Marshall 3315 Transistor Amp (originally used by Nathan Connolly) with 1960TV 4x12 Cab
  • Vox AC30 CC's

Effects

  • BOSS TU-2 Tuner
  • BOSS TR-2 Tremolo
  • BOSS CS-3 Compression Sustainer
  • Two BOSS SD-1 Super Overdrives
  • BOSS GE-7 Equalizer
  • BOSS RE-20 Space Echo (seen on 2009 board?)
  • Boss DD6/7 (Seen on 2009 board?)

Miscellaneous

  • Picks: Dunlop Tortex Standard Orange .60mm
  • Strings: Gauge .010
  • Pickup Preference: Neck Position. Amplifier EQ set quite bright for jangly tone
  • Vocal Mic: Shure Beta 58

References

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  41. http://www.songlyrics.com/snow-patrol/life-ning-lyrics/
  42. Shirley, Ian (2005). X Marks the Spot Can rock & roll save the world?: An illustrated history of music and comics, London, England: SAF Publishing Ltd.. URL accessed 30 October 2009.
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  54. Yates, Matt (January 2010). "Artists of the Century Gary Lightbody". Q (282).
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External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Gary Lightbody

Snow Patrol
Gary Lightbody | Paul Wilson | Jonny Quinn | Nathan Connolly | Tom Simpson
Mark McClelland
Discography
Studio albums: Songs for Polarbears | When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up | Final Straw | Eyes Open
Extended plays: | Starfighter Pilot | Live and Acoustic at Park Ave.
Singles: "Little Hide" | "One Hundred Things You Should Have Done in Bed" | "Velocity Girl/Absolute Gravity" | "Starfighter Pilot/Remixes" | "Ask Me How I Am" | "One Night Is Not Enough" | "Spitting Games" | "Run" | "Chocolate" | "How to Be Dead" | "You're All I Have" | "Hands Open" | "Chasing Cars" | "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" | "Open Your Eyes"
This page was last modified 25.04.2014 12:59:23

This article uses material from the article Gary Lightbody from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.