The Top Five Craziest Things We’ve Ever Done

26 July 2012

Stage diving at our first ever Cape Town gig.Muse bassist Chris Wolstenholme has come out in the NME today confessing to his recent battle with alcoholism.

He was smashed all day every day, apparently, his habit soon taking its toll on his health, his family and on the band. He’s now fixed the problem – and even penned some tunes about it that appear on Muse’s next album – but this got me thinking about just, you know, just how damn crazy it can be when you’re living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

I know, I know – you look at me and you go ‘there’s a guy who has done some crazy-ass, rock ‘n’ roll shit in his time’, and you’d be right. I’m out of control. I once went on tour WITHOUT A CLIPBOARD. Seriously. I mean, it was a mistake… a gross lapse of concentration… but once the weeping had subsided, I found a way round it (small notebook).

Anyway, in honour of Wolstenholme’s triumphant victory over alcoholism, I thought I’d present to you…


(Watch out, ‘cos they’re ruddy crazy.)

On tour in South Korea in 2011, LYs drummer Tony partied for twelve hours straight on a giant mushroom. No, not a magic mushroom – a polystyrene one he’d nicked from the gig we’d just played (don’t ask). He held onto it all night, dragging it through two clubs and three bars, eventually admitting defeat when a misguided attempt to lob it onto the roof of a brothel went horribly wrong. Naughty boy.

Tony will kick my ass for publishing this photo. Totally worth it though.

Presented with the problem of how to get from a gig at Wembley Stadium to a booking in Bagshot in less than forty minutes, extensive research led from helicopter (no landing pad at the stadium – lame) via teleportation (technology yet to be developed) to the wonder of Virgin Limobikes. This was literally the coolest thing I have EVER done. Mind you, my driver told me that the last artist he’d had on the back of his bike was Cheryl Cole and, bearing that in mind, I suspected he may have been slightly disappointed with that day’s cargo (it didn’t help that I was whimpering with fear, obviously).

Oh my god, it's James Dean!! Wait, no. It's just Tony.

In 2007, we were lucky enough to work with legendary, multi-million selling producer Hugh Padgham, responsible for massive hits such as ‘In The Air Tonight’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’. He’s used to working with Sting, McCartney and Elton John, is Hugh, so he was a bit taken aback when, at 3am in the morning after a hefty mixing session on our track ‘Sleepless’, we downed tools, jumped into our battered Mitsubishi Spacewagon (that’s right – Spacewagon) and drove all the way to Somerset for a string of gigs at Glastonbury Festival. On the way we hit some debris and buggered the car, arrived at 6.30am, slept in the boot for two hours, got up, walked our gear onsite, cracked open the whisky and hit the stage at about 11 in the morning. Fairly tipsy. Hoorah!

Chris & George Lightyear at Glasto, off their noggins on cheap whisky.

For our fourth American tour, some dim-witted buffoon* on The Lightyears’ management team thought it would be a good idea to book us a gig in Portsmouth on Saturday night (ending at 2.30am) and then another in Union Square, New York – on the other side of the Atlantic – at lunchtime the following day. You don’t need me to point out that this isn’t a good idea, but hey. After 45 minutes of restless kip on Tony’s sofa I was bundled into the car at some ungodly hour by the rest of the band and we set off for Heathrow, utterly knackered. Some hours later, praying against unexpected delays, we went straight from the plane to customs to a cab to the streets of Manhattan to the stage and BOOM, we were off. I still can’t really remember the gig, to be honest. I think I was hallucinating at the time.

*It’s possible that the dim-witted buffoon was, in fact, me.

This is how we looked afterwards. And that's Sports Illustrated swimwear model Melissa Baker, smiling through the overwhelming smell of sweat.

It’s obvious what goes at Number One – that gig we did by mistake in a crèche. Yeah, you might scoff at this – might question just how crazy it really was – but if you think there are many things scarier than trying to convince a roomful of screaming, shitting toddlers to purchase your new charity football single, you’d be very wrong indeed.

[No photo was available for this incident. Seriously, that’s for the best.]


Tickets now on sale for Clapham Grand gig

15 December 2010

The LYs at The Clapham GrandRather excitingly, we’re back at The Clapham Grand on FRIDAY 25 MARCH and tickets are now on sale via Ticketweb.


We’re headlining and will be onstage at 21.45.

For those of you who haven’t been to The Grand before, it really is one of the jewels in the crown of London’s music venues. Muse, Oasis, Paul Weller, Public Enemy, Madness – they’ve all taken to the Clapham Grand’s stage at some point in their careers (although, as far as I’m aware, none of them owned a keytar – ’nuff said).

Now, once again, it’s our turn.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

The Lightyears’ Family Tree

19 January 2009

Today, to mark the release of our new album London, England, I thought I’d attempt the impossible – to figure out where the heck it is that The Lightyears come from. 

People always ask musicians “Who are your influences?”, and musicians tend to answer with long, protracted diatribes about rare Frank Zappa B-sides and unreleased Captain Beefheart LPs that leave normal people reeling.

From now on then, when people ask me that question, I can simply refer them to this article.

Essentially I’m talking about a musical family tree. Who are our musical forefathers, our rock ancestors, our guitar-strumming, key-bashing, stick-wielding predecessors? 

To answer this question, we must begin at the beginning… 

It is 1994. Everybody’s dressed in inexplicably baggy t-shirts and careering round the playground bellowing Harry Enfield catchphrases at each other. I am still struggling to crack the mysterious phenomenon of the Magic Eye picture (“No, I can’t see a bloody dolphin in there! What do you mean look through it?”) and Les Dennis is still considered entertaining. Most importantly, soft-rock overlords Bon Jovi have taken George and I by the scruff of our tiny, grubby necks and, charmingly, have inspired us to start our own band.

George and I bonded over a mutual love of Bon Jovi. Mainly I think George encouraged this to distract me from Pantera and I, in turn, did so to distract him from Chris De Burgh. In hindsight, I think we can probably both agree that this was a very smart move.

Elsewhere, in Reigate, Surrey, Tony is diligently studying old Cream LPs and dreaming of one day smoking a cigar with Ginger Baker. Stoically anti-fashion, he spurns the bands everyone else is into and in doing so paves the way for a lifetime of shameless contrariness.

When the two worlds collide and The Lightyears (née Satellite) are formed, cheesey-nice-boy hair-rock goes head-to-head with pretentious prog-rock in a terrible battle for supremacy.

The resulting war of musical prejudices plays out something like this:

(Disclaimer 1: Rock Genealogy is not an exact science. I may have taken a few liberties here.) 

(Disclaimer 2: our biggest single collective inspiration is probably The Beatles but I haven’t included them in the tree on account of the fact that bands citing the Fab Four as an influence is a bit like a chef saying he’s influenced by salt and pepper.)

Bugger. Just realised I missed out Blur. And The Small Faces.

Well, it’ll have to do for now. To avoid unnecessary debate, this diagram is not designed to be chronologically accurate – it simply traces the course of our tastes in music. If you’re particularly anal you may enjoy some of the logical segues – take Ben Folds Five into Jerry Lee Lewis, for example, or Counting Crows into Death Cab For Cutie – and I hope that, by the same token, you will ignore some of the absurd non-sequiturs (nobody goes direct from Funkadelic to Dodgy, I mean that’s just silly. Problem is, drawing all those little lines took ages and, well, it’s not like I don’t have other important stuff to do).

Speaking of which, my tax return is staring at me from across the room like a dreadful paper Sauron. “I seeeeeee you…”, it’s saying. Yeah whatever. You’re not the boss of me, Tax Return. 

Later kids!

Chris Lightyear