Happy 10th Birthday LYs…!

29 April 2010

'George, why are your jeans so baggy?' ... 'Mate, it's 2003. This is FASHIONABLE.'As we were walking out onstage at Wembley Stadium a couple of weeks ago, Tony reminded me that we played our first gig together almost exactly ten years previously, on 29 April 2000, in a tiny venue in Oxford called The Jam Factory. I can’t be certain how many people were there but it definitely wasn’t 50,000. Probably more like 20.

Either way, this makes today The Lightyears’ official 10th birthday.

Although The Lightyears per se didn’t officially come into existence until 2004, this date marked the first time George, Tony and I ever gigged together in public. As far as I’m aware, no photos exist of this momentous occasion. However, we have managed to dig out this priceless pic of the LYs (or “Satellite” as we were known at the time) busking on the Royal Mile at the Edinburgh Festival, circa 2003. Note the presence (far-right) of the only man ever to have left the band, Mr Tom Mansfield, looking (like the rest of us) rather fresh-faced.

And so… Happy Birthday to us. Here’s to the next ten years!

I think I’ve got some party poppers in the back of a cupboard somewhere…

A call to arms… help us hit the charts!

11 January 2010

Screenshot from the music video. That's George. Look at his lovely face.Today, Monday 11 January, marks the date of our first major label release – the song “Come With Me”, which we wrote for the Josh’s Band project. We’re hoping that, with your help, we’ll be able to reach the UK Top 40 Chart on Sunday.

You guys have supported us loyally for years now and we truly appreciate it – a band without a fanbase is, after all, just four blokes sat in a room eating crisps and arguing about whether or not The White Album has too many tracks on it. Both the recording and the video for “Come With Me” actually feature a number of you and so, in a sense, it’s as much your record as it is ours. Now is the time for rallying together and seeing if we can make a dent on the charts!




*It’s important you buy your copy by midnight on Saturday so as to maximise our chances of chart success!*

Last November, Josh’s Band toured five cities – Birmingham, Bristol, London, Edinburgh and Manchester – and the gigs were caught on camera and turned into a series of TV adverts and a music video featuring all 1,107 people who played and/or sang on the track. The shows were unlike anything we’ve ever been a part of and we’d like to thank everybody who came down for helping to create a truly unique musical experience.

You can watch the music video by clicking here or, alternatively, you can catch it on Channel 4 this Friday 15 January between 9pm and 10pm (during Celebrity Big Brother – exact timing T.B.A.).

Setting the record straight

6 December 2009

Josh in the studio, brandishing the article in question...Yesterday afternoon we gathered at Rak Studios in St John’s Wood to put the finishing touches to the track we wrote for Josh’s Band, “Come With Me”. Awesome turns were made by, amongst others, a rather talented tuba player, several trumpeters and the inimitable Russell Ward on the squeezebox.

One perennial truth of being in the studio is that you spend 10% of your time making records and 90% of your time hanging about. It’s vitally important that, during this 90% majority period, you have armed yourself with some quality reading material to divert your attention once the banter starts wearing thin and everybody has grown tired of quoting scenes from Spinal Tap at each other. Yesterday, Tony had picked up a copy of The Guardian and soon enough a vitriolic slating of Josh’s supergroup project, penned by the infamous pessimist Charlie Brooker, was doing the rounds (read it here). Unsurprisingly, Charlie ain’t a fan of Josh’s Band. However, he is very funny and, if you’re gonna be mocked, it may as well be entertaining.

It was quite a bizarre experience to be reading somebody’s skewed interpretation of a project whilst simultaneously living through the markedly different reality. Funny thing is, if I were in Charlie’s position, I might well think exactly the same thing. It’s a set-up. Josh is an actor. The band are all session musicians. But he isn’t, and we’re not. Of course, T-Mobile set the whole thing in motion and it clearly helps to have the support of a production company when you’re organising large events, but I can personally testify that the grassroots movement that Brooker is so suspicious of has genuinely happened.

Clearly, many of the people who attended the gigs on our recent tour came for the TV cameras and the chance of 15 minutes of fame; however, crucially, they stayed for the music. Nobody freezes their knackers off in Edinburgh for five straight hours under fire from basically horizontal rain unless they’re actually enjoying themselves.

As for the music itself, Josh asked us to come into the studio a few weeks back to write a song for the project and the resultant session produced the track “Come With Me”, which has gone on to soundtrack the entire campaign. Charlie wrote in his article that the lyrics were clearly “penned by some dickshoe at Saatchi & Saatchi” and so, in the interest of setting the record straight, I ought to point out that George (Lightyears guitarist and the man behind the lyrics in question) does not and has never worked for Saatchi.

On the other hand, between you and me… he is a bit of a dickshoe.

The Lightyears on your telly-box

3 December 2009

So… the inaugural nationwide tour of Josh’s Band is now over. We’ve been to Birmingham, Bristol, London, Edinburgh and Manchester and played to (and with!) over 1,100 people. It’s been an incredible experience to be part of Josh’s core band and the general consensus is that all of this is merely the beginning.

Work on the track we wrote for the campaign – “Come With Me” – continues apace and it is due for release on a major record label in January. The final recording will feature hundreds of musicians and singers from all over the UK. The first advert (covering the dates in Birmingham, London and Bristol) has already hit your TV screens. The follow-up (covering Edinburgh and Manchester) is out next week.

Thanks to Josh for having us onboard and to all the fantastic performers who joined us on the tour. Josh will be making a guest appearance at our gig tomorrow night (Friday 4 December) at The Troubadour in Earls Court and it is highly likely that a mass singalong will ensue… hope to see you there!

Look out Manchester – Josh’s Band is a-coming…

26 November 2009

Scientists confirm that sustained consumption of Irn Bru can have an adverse effect on one's appearance.Since I last blogged, Josh’s Band has jammed in Bristol, London and Edinburgh. We’ve played with pipers, melodised with melodica players and harmonised with hurdy-gurdyists (don’t be fooled by the elaborate alliteration – all of this is true). Plus our mates are starting to get in contact to say they’ve heard us on the radio tonight – so the word is spreading…

It’s been an awesome journey so far and is set to continue in style with an enormous gig at Manchester’s Trafford Centre this Saturday. If you live in the area, make sure you get your butt down there. You won’t regret it.

And, if you’ve managed to miss out on this poptastic jamboree entirely, fear not – you can come and see The Lightyears headline The Troubadour in Earls Court next Friday 4 December. Josh will be making a special guest appearance and no doubt an impromptu singalong will ensue…

Historically we tend to sell this venue out so it’s advisable to buy in advance (click here to purchase tickets) or arrive early. Doors at 8pm; first act 8.15pm; LYs onstage 9.45pm. Visit the GIGS page for full details. See you there!

Thank you Wembley… and hello Bristol!

18 November 2009

What a bunch of posers. Last night we played to 46,000 people at Wembley Stadium and who should turn up to join the crowd but that bloke off the telly, Josh Ward!

Seriously though, we had an awesome night and it was great to see so many LYs fans there. We took the opportunity to do a little onstage camera piece with Josh ahead of our trip to Bristol tonight – the next stop on Josh’s Band’s T-Mobile tour.

I studied at Bristol University so I have a special affection for the place… no idea where in the city we’re going to be or what we’re going to be doing but, if Birmingham was anything to go by, it should be cracking! Check out this quick clip from the first gig of the tour in Brum.

Expect more of the same from the rest of the tour dates – Bristol, London, Edinburgh and Manchester. Visit Josh’s Myspace page for details.

Click here to learn the lyrics and chords for our tour song, “Come With Me” (written by Chris and George Lightyear especially for Josh’s Band). Click here for the video tutorial.