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Snow Patrol

March 2009

SCOTLAND'S biggest band may have taken the soppy indie baton off Coldplay and run with it, but hard-partying rockers Motley Crue are fan of Snow Patrol
"We've had some unusual fans along the way, especially in America," says keyboard player Tom Simpson, when I mention the recent acknowledgement by Crue frontman Nikki Sixx.
"We've had Tommy Lee at gigs and we're going 'well this is a bit weird'. And I remember Danny DeVito wanting to meet us at a gig. Which was interesting because Gary (Lightbody, singer) is 6ft 4. I'm half the size of that and Danny DeVito is half the size of me. We looked like Russian dolls."
Tom is in London when we speak, rehearsing for the tour that comes to Nottingham's Trent FM Arena next week.
"Everybody's working hard six days a week," he says.
It's been full-on since they went into the studio to record album number five, A Hundred Million Suns.
"Once that engine starts that's when the sacrifices start happening. You accept you're not going to have much of a home life."
Not that he's complaining.
"You get your heads down and enjoy it. You've basically one of the best jobs in the world."
Snow Patrol have, in his words "been around the block" and are enjoying their arena status.
"We cut our teeth on the smaller gig circuit of the UK for many years. So we're well used to the hard work and long tours.
"I'm glad it did happen to us over a long period of time because we were a bit wilder in our earlier years. We were pretty boozy and certainly enjoyed a party. Any amount of success then may have ruined us."
Are they still caning it?
"Nowadays you choose your battles sensibly," says Tom, who is in his mid-30s.
"You're maybe not going out and getting totally drunk every night. You tend to look to where your days off are and think 'that'll be my Saturday night'. The hangovers are much more unbearable now."
He isn't married but has a tolerant long-term girlfriend with whom he's in the process of buying a house. She also tolerates his fanaticism for computer games.
"I met some of my oldest friends in arcades when I was a kid. My girlfriend hates it. It's like a little dirty secret."
She has won the battle with his vast vinyl collection, however.
"Before I was in a band I was a DJ so I've a massive vinyl collection. I'm always looking for new stuff because I still go out and DJ. I've a cottage up in Scotland where I keep it all."
The album was recorded, in part, at the Hansa Studios in Berlin, where the likes of Bowie's Heroes and Lodger were crafted, along with the better cuts from Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. Sounds romantic but does it really make any difference?
"You're always hoping there might be a ghost in the machine that overrides what you're doing. There are glimpses of Heroes on there."
He is hoping Snow Patrol's Arena date on Thursday will be better received than one of their earlier shows in the city.
"I remember we did a tour with Alfie and Appliance and we ended up playing The Social. The problem was the World Cup was on at the time and England were playing that night. They had a massive screen with the football on behind us. We were on first and there were three men and a dog watching England players bigger than us on a screen behind us.

Snow Patrol, Trent FM Arena, Thursday March 12.

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