Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Nov 23rd 2009 12:01PM by Stephen Dowling
The chat with Spinner takes place days before the band's current tour of the UK, which has seen them take their back catalogue and radically alter it, turning the songs inside out, singer Gary Lightbody says, so they can offer their fans something a bit different. There is, however, only a week to knock songs like 'Run,' 'Chasing Cars,' and 'Chocolate' into shape. Time is ticking, and Lightbody is feeling the pressure, even if that doesn't today translate into anything more drastic than mild distraction.
You're doing something quite drastic for the tour – reworking all the songs. Why?
It's in no way thinking that the songs are bad in the first place and trying to cover up. In some ways they don't have much relation to the original. In other ways, songs we haven't played a lot we've been fairly faithful in the rendering.
We always presented these as gigs for the Snow Patrol fans, and we're very lucky we have a lot of these at the moment, though it wasn't always so. We wanted to cover everybody in the room, those who've been with us for 15 years and those that have come later.
It's a pretty brave thing to do for a tour promoting your best-of.
I certainly can't think of a big Christmas tour where a band goes and changes everything and it being acceptable.
Hopefully it'll make people look at us in a different away, and people will give us credit for that if nothing else. It's really for the fans and not for the press, it's not to look cool. We don't want to keep selling them the same thing. We've done it so many times that there comes a point where you're just taking money out of their pockets without putting in much effort.
You think it's a case that the fans have seen it all before?
Every band should put in a lot of effort on every tour, but what happens is a tour piles on top of another tour and another tour and you don't get a lot of time to change much.
We do try and think about what the fans want rather than 'phone it in.' We haven't reached that stage yet and we never will, we keep on each other's asses on it. Hence this tour, and hence my hairline receding ever further back into my head.
You played a London acoustic gig a few weeks yet where you said the first 10 years of the band's career had been 's---'.
You've got take things I say inbetween songs with a pinch of salt. We made each other laugh, really. That was our currency. That kept the engine going. We didn't have much else. You don't stay a band for ten years if you're not having any fun, or that if you don't feel you're getting anything from this. Because some people want fame or money – we never wanted anything like that. We wanted to do something with our lives, preferably with music, but prostitution was always an option.
If things were so bad, what helped keep you going?
We had a gold splitter bus owned by our manager of the time Danny McIntosh, the angriest man in pop, great, great man. Fucking loved us. When you meet people who really make you feel you're not banging your head against the wall or shouting into the void, and you meet people like Danny, who had a wild temper but never toward us. The way he talked about us, even with us in the room, he loved us with every atom in his body. When you have people like that around you realise, 'We're doing something right.'
You've been vocal about how tough things were when you started out. Would you swap places with bands now?
"My heart bleeds for bands starting out. It was hard when we started out but nothing like this. At least if we had have been successful in the early days and got a few breaks we would have had the potential to me living out of it... but there are really great bands releasing their albums from next year onwards, it's nigh on impossible if the way people get music continues down this road, it's going to be impossible for you to be a young full-time band.
Every single record we sold we sold off the back of touring, and there were no pirate copies of out early stuff, the few records we sold at shops. But now there's 2,000 people at band's gigs before they've even released a record, because of MySpace When people have already heard all these songs, how then do you get people buying a record?
* Snow Patrol's 'Up to Now' is out now. The band play London's Royal Albert Hall Monday to Wednesday (Nov. 23 to 25), with the tour continuing until Dec. 12 in Manchester.