Snow Patrol - a band of brothers

Most rock stars hate being cooped up on the tour bus. But for Snow Patrol it's all fun and games, as Elisa Bray finds out

It feels more like a day at a youth camp than backstage at Glasgow's SECC. Laughter is pouring out the dressing room where the band members are gathered around the computer game Guitar Hero.

Drummer Jonny Quinn is perched at a mini-drum kit, tapping out the beat to Blondie's "One Way Or Another". "This isn't made for drummers," the others assure Quinn kindly. Later they will be playing table tennis – the games travel everywhere with the band.

The Glasgow-based band have been together for nearly 14 years. "We're closer than ever now," singer-songwriter Gary Lightbody says before the show, looking the scruffy student in his blue hoody. "We've been through every possible thing that music can throw at you and we know what really matters. In the end there's only two things – music and friendship. They're my brothers for ever. Generally we lark about all day and make each other laugh, find things on YouTube and read stuff."

While the other band members leave their wives or girlfriends behind when they go on tour, Lightbody is free and single. "I've been waiting to go back out on tour for ages. I feel more at home these days on tour than I do in my house.

"We don't have any particular rock star demands, but the table tennis is for when you're between soundcheck and the first support band going on and there's a couple of hours when you're sitting idly around."

Bands usually grumble about touring: the long periods of time cooped up on a tour bus. If there's one gripe that Lightbody has, it's the ostentatious bus they've been assigned this tour. It's "like something Beyoncé would have" he says apologetically.

Lightbody does confess to one addiction – ginger and honey tea. "I've had loads of voice problems. Hot honey and ginger is the best thing for anybody with a sore throat."

A dressing room table is spread with teas and a brimming fruit bowl. The buckets full of bottles of wine and beer are waiting for after the show. It's then the band members come bounding out, whooping like schoolboys, to crack open the bottles.

Snow Patrol are on tour until 23 March; www.snowpatrol.com

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