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.).

Our Top 20 Moments Of 2009

16 December 2009

Christmas Time is here again and there’s enormous excitement in the air. There’s an outside chance that Rage Against The Machine will beat the X Factor to Number One on Sunday and the weather-man says that snow’s a-coming. Things literally couldn’t be any better.

We thought we’d add to the general feeling of goodwill and festivity by recounting our favourite and most memorable experiences from the past year. Most of them – whether in London, Cape Town or the USA – involved the support of our fans and we’d like to personally thank everyone who has helped us make 2009 one of our best years yet. You guys rule.

So here, in no particular order, are The Lightyears’ Top 20 Moments Of 2009:

1. Stepping out onstage at Wembley Stadium for the first time in front of 45,000 people

2. Winning over an audience of leather-clad Norwegian bikers at the Speedway Cafe in Cape Town

3. Performing a barbershop medley of British seaside tunes in front of the British Ambassador in Seoul

4. Writing a song for a national ad campaign (“Come With Me” is released on Universal Records in January)

5. Spotting our faces in train stations and on the side of buses

6. Performing for a full-house of fans, friends and family at The Lightyears’ Christmas Party

7. Playing to a crowd of thousands on a hot summer’s evening in Union Square, Manhattan

8. Working with top producers Bacon & Quarmby (David Bowie, Finley Quaye, Sugababes) on the studio release of “Come With Me”

9. Watching South Africa’s foremost FHM model Roxy Louw stage-dive into a crowd of boogying revelers at our Cape Town Tens gig

10. Being invited back to Wembley Stadium

11. Drinking Pina Coladas by the pool at the Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town

12. Seeing ourselves on TV (click here)

13. Touring the country with Josh’s Band

14. Finding out we’ve been immortalised on canvas!

15. Spotting The Lightyears in the New York Post

16. Dressing up as intergalactic space rockstars for a Forbidden Planet tribute gig

17. Selling out our latest album London, England on the US Tour

18. Celebrating the end of the Korean Tour with a Lightyears night on the tiles

19. Appearing on the same bill as Diversity, winners of Britain’s Got Talent

20. Partying with the LYs American Fan Club in Riverton, New Jersey!

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.

“Hello Wembley!!”

28 September 2009

The LYs - calm on the surface, bricking it underneathSATURDAY 12 SEPTEMBER, 9.30am (Wembley Stadium, London):
This is it.

The big one.

The motherload.

Wembley. Flipping. Stadium.

Today we are performing on the pitch at Wembley in front of an estimated crowd of around 45,000 people. Once we’re done, Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity will take to the stage and, shortly afterwards, Saracens and Northampton Saints will kick off what is likely to be one of this season’s best-attended rugby union matches.

So no pressure then.

On entering the mighty bowels of the UK’s most iconic venue, we are led through what turns out to be the least impressive part of the new Wembley. The catacombs underneath the stands have the unmistakable aura of an NCP car-park and are an unassuming epilogue to the moment at which you emerge from the tunnel onto the famous pitch and cannot help but gawp at the spectacular, looming grandeur of this 90,000-capacity stadium. The sun is shining intensely, the pitch is immaculate and there is an unmistakable feeling of nervous anticipation in the air. We all stand pitch-side, humbled by the experience, exchanging silent eye contact. This is the biggest thing we’ve ever done.

After sound-checking to an entirely empty stadium (which, take it from me, is a bizarre experience), we head inside to get changed into our carefully-chosen performance threads.

Tony heads straight for the van. “We can get changed in the van guys – I’ve put up curtains and everything”.

Now, in this band, we’ve always felt it’s very important to keep our feet on the ground, even when success of stadium-sized proportions beckons. I can’t help but feel that this, however, is taking that philosophy a little far. Plus there’s no way that Dave Grohl would express pride in curtains. Ever.

“Tony, mate… we’re playing Wembley Stadium. We’ve got a dressing room. You don’t have to get changed in a Transit.”

Tony looks almost crestfallen. His home-made curtains have been spurned. He’s a man of simple pleasures (quiche, cricket on the telly, Radio 4, vegetarian scotch eggs) and I think that being given a dressing room that a couple of days ago may well have been occupied by the England football team is perhaps just a bit too fancy for him.

Why you should never give the LYs their own dressing roomIndeed, when we’re shown to our dressing room, the contrast is enormous. You could fit thirty enormous rugby players in here and still have room for twenty crates of London Pride. Which I suppose is the point. We scatter our belongings around the room in an attempt to claim it as our own, take a few pictures of ourselves sitting beneath clothes hooks pretending to be sportsmen and generally do our best to keep our minds occupied in the nail-biting hours leading up to the band’s most high profile performance yet.

We’re standing pitch-side waiting to go onstage. Wembley is filling up and we have a healthy contingent of Lightyears fans filling up Block 105 in the north-east corner of the stadium. There is something undeniably surreal about this whole experience. Are we really about to play Wembley?!

George on the big screenWe’ve planned a set of upbeat, crowd-pleasing covers designed to kick the event off with a bang. The organisers want a party atmosphere and it’s our job to make sure the party starts as it means to go on. As the MC announces our performance and a huge picture of us appears on the stadium’s two big screens, I nod at George. This is definitely happening. We step up onstage, there’s a roar from the crowd, and we launch into our opening number, The Fratellis’ “Chelsea Dagger”.

In a move to keep the set fresh and interesting, we’ve choreographed a few instrument changes and I’m starting the gig on guitar, leaving George free to perform the lead vocals. We’ve never done this before so it’s a bit of an experiment, but I have to admit I’m loving it. I look across at Tony, who has the world’s biggest grin on his face, and mouth the phrase “We’re playing Wembley!”. He beams back at me. It’s pay-day.

LYs fans cheering us onSaracens have billed today’s match as a “Family Day Out” and so there’s an incredibly wide age-range in attendance. The crowd respond very warmly to our set and we’ve been careful to include a wide variety of tunes so that there’s something for everyone – Jackson Five, Abba, Kings Of Leon, Queen and so on. During “Mamma Mia” I whip out my vintage 1980s Roland AX-1 (or “keytar”, for those who aren’t fluent in keyboard-speak – which is basically anybody who can claim to possess even a shred of self-respect). This is essentially a keyboard shaped like a guitar that enables frustrated prima donnas such as myself to get out from behind the piano and strut about at the front of the stage with all the other posers. In theory the keytar is just about the most kitsch instrument in music, and as a result I really shouldn’t have been allowed to use it in combination with an Abba song. Too late now, however. In truth I just wanted to count myself amongst the presumably very select group of musicians who can say they’ve played a keytar at Wembley. Keep your eyes peeled for the Facebook group. 😉

That's me. At Wembley. Golly.After a short break, we return to the stage armed with around 80 pom-pom waving cheerleaders. I’ve been looking forward to this part. This is where we perform our version of The Beatles’ “Twist & Shout” whilst The Sensations and The Mini-Sensations (Saracens’ very own cheerleading groups) shake their thang pitch-side. It’s quite a spectacle, believe me. We follow this with our closing number, “500 Miles”, accompanied by world-renowned Crowd Conductor Steve Barnett, bedecked in bright red coattails and a top hat.

As the song is drawing to a close and it falls to me to address the crowd one last time, a cheeky impulse overcomes me. Normally this is the point in the set where you say “Thanks for having us, have a great day, enjoy the camel racing etc” but I can’t help but feel that that’s a little bit predictable. Plus this is after all a sporting occasion and I know how much sports fans love a little bit of gentle mickey-taking. So, instead, I say this: “Ladies & Gentlemen, would the owner of a green and yellow Northampton Saints team coach please make their way to the front desk. Your vehicle is double-parked.”

A packed crowd watch the LYs on the big screenI was rather pleased with that.

As we stand pitch-side and watch Diversity wow the crowd with their second dance-number, I look around at the guys and find myself experiencing a heartwarming “Happy Days” moment. We’ve worked really hard to get here. Here’s hoping it won’t be too long before we back…

Chris Lightyear

“London, England” sells out on US tour

10 August 2009

We had such an overwhelming response from American fans during our recent Stateside tour that hard copies of our latest album, London, England, have now completely sold out.

The album is still available on iTunes priced £7.90. Click here to buy your copy.

Watch this space for a re-pressing of the album for those of you who prefer the old school format!

We released London, England in January 2009. It features many of our most popular tracks including “This House Will Burn”, “Emily” and “Sleepless”. The latter two tracks were produced by Hugh Padgham, the four time Grammy-winning producer responsible for selling over 50 million records with Sting, Paul McCartney, Elton John and many more.

Ireland’s State Magazine gave the record 4/5 and described the band as “Babyshambles with better manners”. Read the review by clicking here.

Further reviews of the album can be read here, here and here.

Read my blog on the experience of recording London, England by clicking here.

LYs to be reviewed on Princeton radio

5 August 2009

Our latest album “London, England” is being reviewed tomorrow evening (Thursday 6 August) on Princeton radio station WPRB.

Presenter John Tobias saw us play in Burlington, New Jersey, during our last tour and will be playing tracks from the album on his show tomorrow night before putting the CD on daily rotation for the coming weeks. John’s show airs 6pm-8pm EST (11pm-1am BST).

WPRB’s broadcast range stretches from the outskirts of New York through Philadelphia PA and into Wilmington, Delaware. Local listeners can pick it up on 103.3FM whilst fans around the globe can tune in at

Rare LYs track used on Philadelphia compilation

9 April 2009

An extremely rare live version of Lightyears track “Inside Job” has been included on a compilation album released this week in Philadelphia, USA.

The album is called “Milkboy Live Vol. 1” and comprises eleven live tracks recorded over the last two years at the Milkboy Coffee venue in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Milkboy was one of the first venues we sold out on the East Coast and has featured in every single one of our American tours since. Click here to visit my USA tour diaries and read up on our past adventures at Milkboy.

The release also feaures The Brakes, Jim Boggia and the late Robert Hazard, the Philadelphia legend who wrote Cyndi Lauper’s hit single “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, in one of his last recorded live performances.

The Milkboy website says of The Lightyears involvement in the project: “We were glad to include these British lads. They came to us all the way from England, where they were voted best pop/rock band at the first ever UK INDY Awards in 2007. They have great elements of pop in their quirky style of rock and roll. They come complete with 3-part harmonies and a drummer that stands up to play. What’s great about this tune is that you won’t catch them playing this anywhere else. After selecting the song, we found out from the band that this is an early version of a song that went on to become something completely different. The Lightyears agreed after a listen that the tune was rocking. Thanks to the guys for giving us the exclusive track, ‘Inside Job’.”

In fact, “Inside Job” was a re-working of “We Keep The Beat Alive” from our 2005 album Mission Creep. It eventually became the track “That Was Us”, which features on our 2009 album London, England (click here to visit the LYs shop where both albums are available now priced £4 and £5 respectively).

“Milkboy Live Vol. 1” is available now for $7 (around £4.80) from the Milkboy website – click here to visit the store. You can also purchase it as a download from iTunes.

The Hub – London – 29/03/09

29 March 2009

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