the guardian

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.

Our Top 20 Moments Of 2008

23 December 2008

George, Danny, Tony & Chris at the 2008 INDY AwardsSo, as 2008 draws to a close, I thought I’d send out a festive greeting to all our fans. Y’know, kinda like The Queen’s Speech.

2008 has been an unpredictable year. We’ve never known quite where we’re gonna end up from one month to another but it’s been a pretty exciting ride all told. 

We have big plans for 2009. Our new album “London, England” is coming out in the New Year and we have a feeling you’re gonna like it! Plus next year is gonna be all about you – the fans – and we’ll be spending our time creating music, media and all manner of delectable treats intended for your voracious consumption. More about that after Christmas… 

In the meantime, we’d like to thank Lightyears fans everywhere for your continuing support of the band. Wherever you are and whoever you’re with, have a disgracefully Merry Christmas and a calamitous New Year.

In the meantime, here are our Top 20 Most Memorable Moments Of 2008:

  1. Performing at London Road stadium to thousands of people (twice!)
  2. Being played on XFM
  3. Being name-checked in The Guardian newspaper
  4. Selling out The Troubadour
  5. Performing in front of Barry Fry and the Mayor of Peterborough
  6. Reaching #45 in the iTunes Plus Top 100 with charity single “Posh We Are”
  7. Touring to Ireland to play at the launch of national music magazine State
  8. Making the short-list for Best Pop Act at the INDY Awards
  9. Presenting the award for Best Female Solo Act at the INDYs alongside Feargal Sharkey and Mike Rutherford
  10. Playing London Astoria 2
  11. Drinking a toast in a Korean jacuzzi at 7am after one of the best gigs of our lives

  12. Performing twice at Glastonbury Festival
  13. Supporting the Mystery Jets at a packed Barfly
  14. Fans at Brightlingsea Festival singing all our lyrics back to us on a hot August evening
  15. Flying Business Class to New York!
  16. Headlining the Time Out Festival in Union Square, Manhattan
  17. Releasing our EP “At Midnight” in the USA and being nominated as “Single Of The Day” at Amie Street
  18. Filming a music video for “Obama Republic
  19. Recording our new album “London, England”
  20. Buying a bitchin’ new van!

Here’s to 2009!

Chris Lightyear

The Lightyears featured in today’s Guardian newspaper

15 April 2008

The Lightyears are featured in The Guardian today following their recent collaboration with The Voyager School in Peterborough on building links between professional musicians and arts education.

A few months ago, the LYs were invited to become artists-in-residence at the Voyager, and this partnership has since seen them working closely with the school choir, the local primary choirs and also members of the wider Peterborough community.

This collaboration has led to the release in two weeks’ time of a charity single for Peterborough United Football Club, raising money for the Free Kicks Foundation.

See page 27 in the education section of today’s Guardian or click here for the online version.

Lightyears to release charity record

8 April 2008

Peterborough United players recording 'Posh We Are'At the end of April The Lightyears are releasing a charity record in collaboration with Peterborough United (A.K.A. “The Posh”). The single is a re-working of the team’s anthem Posh We Are and all profits will go to the Free Kicks Foundation, which organises days out in sport for sick and disadvantaged children.

The new version of Posh We Are, written by Peterborough fans Brian Paine and Tony Pickering in 1973, has been arranged and performed by The Lightyears and also features hundreds of voices from the local community – including Peterborough United players, Posh fans, The Voyager School choir and the Voyager U14 football team. The Posh are currently top of League 2 and if the team win this Saturday then promotion is guaranteed. Local press have shown huge interest in the project and this has created a city-wide buzz.

The Lightyears and 250 students from The Voyager School will be performing the song in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,000 people at London Road Stadium on the last day of the season (Saturday 3 May).

This release represents the pilot project for a brand-new initiative called Sparks. Sparks is a collaboration between professional musicians, education and local communities that is responding directly to recent changes in both the music industry and the education system. The project has been making waves in government, education and media circles for several months now and an article in The Guardian, covering The Lightyears’ work with Sparks, is due for publication within the coming fortnight. Details to follow.

Find out more at 

Posh We Are will be available for download from numerous major digital outlets from Monday 28 April. Watch this space for updates.