Gary Lightbody: I could be playing to 15,000 people and three hours later be crying on the floor

Gary Lightbody has spoken exclusively with The Big Issue, about his struggles with depression and his dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

He spoke to the award-winning weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine ahead of the release of Wildness, Snow Patrol’s first album in seven years.

Lightbody spoke of life in late 2012, once the band’s last tour finished: “I started drinking,” he says, “with a gusto that a professional boxer might train for a prize fight. It’d be mostly beer. I was quite a happy drunk. There was a hell of a lot of fun. Until it wasn’t.

“I’d get to 2am sitting on my own, have a cry, and then a glass of something [stronger]. I didn’t have any relationships and I wasn’t having sex either. I was very hermetic. Around 2015/2016 I was drinking every day and also I was hating it. I regret doing it even though I knew I was doing it out of compulsion.”

He continued: “I have a depressive personality that has no relationship with reality. I could be having the best time on the surface and yet my depression goes, ‘you’re still a c**t. Don’t forget that. I’m dragging you down into the ink and the dirt and the darkness’. I could be playing to 15,000 people and three hours later be on a hotel room crying on the floor. That’s happened a bunch of times. The depression and the success have no relation to each other. It’s just part of me. I’ve learned that rather than running from it, which you can never really do - you can never run away from yourself - is you have and turn and face it and look it in the eye and say I’m not afraid of you anymore.”

He spoke about one of the songs off the new album, Soon, and how It deals with Lightbody’s father Jack’s Alzheimer’s.

He said: “I love my dad… I have a lot of respect for him so I wanted to honour him, but at the same time I also have a lot of guilt for being away for most of my adult life. I don’t just mean LA, I mean Glasgow, London, or on tour constantly. And there is probably a place in my head where I go when I’m feeling homesick and that is both a place of calm and nostalgia and also a place of guilt and some shame.”

When asked about his hopes for the future, he said: “Peace. I want to make sure that every day of my life I take a moment and realise everything is calmer. I’ve learned how to meditate, learned how to do qigong. Learned a whole load of practises that I do everyday. They mitigate the madness. The greatest thing I ever did for my own emotional wellbeing was to talk.”

The Big Issue has teamed up with Snow Patrol to bring readers a very special exclusive 7” vinyl record.

Polydor have pressed 2,000 copies of an exclusive acoustic version of Snow Patrol track Soon. The track is Gary Lightbody’s heartbreaking song for his father, who is being taken by Alzheimer’s.

To find out how to be in with a chance of owning one of the records, buy The Big Issue, available from vendors across the UK for £2.50 from 25th May.

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