Gary Lightbody quite busy on patrol 

Gary Lightbody's group Snow Patrol sold more than 10 million copies of its last three albums combined — but that didn't stop the Irish rocker from deeming himself a "catastrophe magnet" who couldn't make a relationship work.

His 2006 effort "Eyes Open" chronicled one romantic breakup, while last year's "A Hundred Million Suns" celebrated what he believed to be "a nourishing, spectacular love" with an amazing woman.

"But I've since screwed that up, too,” he says. “Now I'm single and fancy-free, but happy with myself for the first time in a long while."

Lightbody, who brings Snow Patrol to the Bay Area on Oct. 16, credits the attitude adjustment to an old adage: Idle hands are the devil's workshop.

He's stayed so busy lately, trouble hasn't found him.

In November, the band is releasing a two-disc greatest-hits package. "Up to Now" features the single "Just Say Yes," a song originally penned for Gwen Stefani, pounced upon by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger for her solo CD, then reclaimed by Lightbody when that album got shelved.

Also next month, Lightbody will go to Portland to record folk-country tracks with his side group Tired Pony, then to Los Angeles for studio work with longtime producer Garret "Jacknife" Lee for their spinoff duo Listen ... Tanks!

In addition, he formed a publishing company, Polar Music, which had a chart hit last week with its first signing, former Vega 4 frontman Johnny McDaid.

Lightbody also is occupied with Oh Yeah Belfast, hometown music center he helped launch, a place where young performers study, rehearse and record music.

"I just handed in my 'copy,' as I believe you call it," the singer drolly adds of his weekly online column for Britain's Q Magazine.

"It's band of the week or whatever I want to talk about, really. This last one was about Cat Malojian, a two-piece group from just outside Belfast — they're phenomenal."

Lightbody, 33, launched Snow Patrol from Scotland in 1994. But his recent return to Belfast proved so uplifting, it inspired the band's 2008 smash "Take Back the City."

"Things have gotten a lot calmer since the cease-fire," he says. "The city isn't perfect yet, but it's peaceful enough for a new music scene to thrive. So there are no idle hands here, and I really can't remember ever being this happy."

IF YOU GO

Snow Patrol

Where: Fox Theater, 1805 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 16
Tickets: $35
Contact: www.ticketmaster.com
 

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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