Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody: 'My advice to any artist would be not to read reviews'
- Brian Donaldson
- 23 November 2018
Frontman takes on our First & Last Q&A
Ahead of Snow Patrol's tour of the UK, the band's leader Gary Lightbody takes some time out to tell us about Belfast, bags, boxing, Bill Burr, burgers and Bad
First film you saw that really moved you
Star Wars: A New Hope. I've watched it over and over. And over. Still do. I know you were probably asking about a 'weepy' but Star Wars has everything. I cry at the opening crawl for crying out loud.
Last lie you told
It wasn't me that ate your sandwich.
First record you ever bought
Michael Jackson's Bad. I was ten. I mean, I had albums for Christmases and birthdays before that but I think the first record I went into the store and bought was that one.
Last extravagant purchase you made
A Gretsch Country Gent guitar.
First movie you ever went on a date to
I honestly can't remember but I do remember going on a first date to the movie Your Friends and Neighbours. Anyone that's seen it will understand why it's not a first date movie. Also the only seats left were in the front row of the theatre. God, it was awkward.
Last time you cried
Last night. I cry easy.
First thing you do when you've got time off work
Head home to see my niece, my sis and my folks.
Last great meal you cooked
Spag bol for a bunch of friends in LA. Even if I do say so myself I'm not too shabby in the kitchen. Not that I don't have a fair share of culinary disasters too.
In real life it was Karen Fraser, a girl in my P2 class. We were five. On the screen, Princess Leia.
Last book you read
Stephen Fry's Mythos. A work of genius.
First great piece of advice you were given
Always carry your own bag. My dad told me that and I never forgot it. A good tool to keep you grounded. If you ever get to the stage where someone else is carrying all your shit while you're Instagramming your small dog, then all is pretty much lost.
Last time you were starstruck
I met Zlatan Ibrahimovic. There's a pic on my Instagram and I look like I'm ten years old. That was a great day.
First thing you'd do if you ran the country
Have a 'shouting at each other' embargo so we can try and sort some things out with some goddamn kindness.
Last meal on earth
First song you'll sing at karaoke
Last time you exploited your position to get something
The only thing I try to get for free with any regularity is concert tickets.
First time you realised you were famous
I'm only famous in certain places. In most places in the world, no one knows who I am. Suppose I'm pretty well-known at home in Ireland so sometimes when I go home I get asked for pictures quite a lot. Other than that, I live a fairly normal life off stage.
Last time someone criticised your work
Ha! I don't read reviews anymore and haven't for a long time. My advice to any artist anywhere would be not to. I promise it'll be one of the best things you do for your health. Harder to avoid on social media though. Someone said we were terrible on there yesterday so it's not like you can ever completely avoid it. Ha!
First three words your friends would use to describe you
'Dumb as fuck'.
Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
I bought the first leather jacket I've ever owned about five years ago when I was in LA. I went out later that night wearing it to meet some friends and when I arrived they were chatting to Stephen Merchant (the fantastic comedian, writer and actor). I'd never met him. As I approached the group and before he even said hello to me, he looked me up and down and said 'well, Mad Max is here then'. Everyone laughed and I made an immediate note never to wear that jacket again. And I never did.
First concert you ever attended
Red Hot Chili Peppers in the Ulster Hall, Belfast. My second gig was Nirvana, Teenage Fanclub and The Breeders (what a bill!!!!!) also in Belfast.
Last time you bought someone flowers
My mum for her and my dad's 55th wedding anniversary.
First object you'd save from your burning home
Depends if my niece was in there or not. If she was, her. If not, I dunno: a guitar in each hand probably.
Last funny thing you saw online
Bill Burr on Conan.
I worked in bars from when I was 17 right up until the band had our first hit. First bar job was in the pub across the street from me in the town I grew up in Bangor, County Down.
Last person you fantasized about
Most of my fantasies revolve around playing football for Northern Ireland at the World Cup. I was never good enough to play pro when I was young so there is little chance now I'm 42. If I daydream hard enough though, maybe, just maybe …
First word you spoke
I really don't know. Gonna guess mamma or dadda.
Last crime you committed
Ha! Probably watching a boxing match or football match on a UK television website while I'm in the US.
First book you read for a second time
Aside from the ones I read for school or uni (kinda forced to read them more than once), I tend not to reread books that much but I know I reread The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. That is a sublime book.
Last song at your funeral
First person you'd thank in an award acceptance speech
I do a thing where I thank the person who presented us with the award for being there (like, right there) so that. Makes me laugh anyway.
Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
I'm a giant ball of anxiety so it'll likely be something I should have done that day but never got around to.
First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
The thing I was supposed to do yesterday but never got around to.
Snow Patrol tour the UK from Wednesday 5 December to Saturday 2 February. The band's new album Wildness is out now.