Monday 16 September 2019

'I think the shift was drinking alone...drinking alone a lot' - Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody on fighting his demons

Gary Lightbody on the Late Late Show
Gary Lightbody on the Late Late Show
Snow Patrol (Ryan Buchanan/PA)

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody opened up about the depths of his battle with alcoholism, saying he knew it would time to curb his addiction when he was drinking alone "a lot" up to seven days a week.

Speaking with Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show, Lightbody said that while his friends might go out and socialise once a week, he wanted to go out every night.

"I was spending a lot of time in Los Angeles and my friends out there, that I made, would maybe go out once a week, but I would want to go out seven days a week,” he said. "So I would spend a lot of time, if I wasn’t able to find someone, I’d just go out anyway. I think the shift was drinking alone, drinking alone a lot.”

 

Lightbody, from Co Down, said he was able to mask his addiction for a long time because his personality never changed while drunk and he became so good at masking alcohol, that his friends and family didn't urge him too much to quit.

“I was always a very happy drunk,” he said. “A friend of mine from Ireland always said, ‘sure we were all born five pints short’ and I’d always feel like, five or six pints in, it was good craic.

“It was just the drinking when I came home again that was the problem. I would have had people saying ‘awe you’re out every night’, you know, but for the most part it was me just going, ‘you need to change this’.”

In 2016, he quit drinking and earlier this year, began to speak publicly about his private battle with depression and alcoholism, crediting a therapist instead of a rehab facility to help him face his demons.

Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody (Nick Ansell/PA)
Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody (Nick Ansell/PA)

Read more: 'I started feeling a wave of self-hatred'... Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody

"I think it was more out of addiction than anything else. I wouldn’t wake up wanting to drink but I would get to mid-afternoon and I would need to,” he explained. “The first six months were tough. I couldn’t go out with anyone else that was drinking, but now, I’m on the tour bus a lot at the moment, and the rest of the lads enjoy a drink and I don’t feel the need.”

He also spoke on the show about the conditions in which he wrote Snow Patrol’s first big hit, Run. The 42-year-old said that the song had deeper connotations for him than even he initially realised.

“Run was the very first hit we had after 10 years of nothing and that song was written in a flat in Glasgow,” he said. "There was no electricity, the showerhead was held on with sticky tape and we had one burner on the oven that worked. We were still living, in our mid-twenties, the life that we were living in our late teens.

“I wrote that song as a will to protect my friends and family from the darkness and it became the song that changed everything for us but it was written alone in an apartment literally with the lights off. I wrote the words, ‘light up, light up’, but it has become obvious to me now that it was a plea for more than electricity.”

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