Snow Patrol fans have been left reeling after discovering that the band were to lose two key figures from their five-man line-up, with the announcement that Jonny Quinn and Paul Wilson would be leaving the group.
Frontman Gary Lightbody confirmed the news, but made it clear that the remaining members of Nathan Connolly and Johnny McDaid, along with himself, would continue as a trio.
The band, famous for hit singles such as: Chasing Cars and Run, have just celebrated their 20-year anniversary since their breakout album – The Final Straw, was released.
Lead singer posts tributes
A tribute was posted by Lightbody, from Bangor in Northern Ireland, in which he saluted his two departing bandmates, beginning by wishing the pair “nothing but happiness, success, joy, compassion and everything they want in all their future endeavours.”
He began by apologising to fans all over the world and admitting the news had left the remaining three band members heartbroken. He said that despite that, they wanted to “pay homage and give gratitude for all Jonny and Pablo have given us and shared with us these past decades.”
In an effort to soften the blow he did confirm that a new album, their eighth studio record, is still set for release next year, saying that more news would follow on that at the “appropriate time”.
The Scottish group, formed in Dundee in 1994 under the name Shrug, with an original line-up of Northern Ireland-born musicians Gary Lightbody, Mark McClelland and Michael Morrison. After a brief period of performing under the name Polar Bear, they adopted the name Snow Patrol in 1997.
Quinn joined the band as a drummer in the same year and actually acted as their manager before they signed a major record deal. Wilson joined significantly later, in 2005, just as the band were becoming a major world force. Continuing members: Nathan Connolly and Johnny McDaid, joined the group as permanent members in 2002 and 2011, respectively.
More than just a drummer
Speaking in glowing terms about the departing Quinn, Lightbody said he was “more than a drummer, he also took up the role of manager for us many times during the last quarter century.”
He recalled how in their very early days he would drive them about in their “first gig forays outside of Dundee” with all their gear crammed in the back of the vehicle. He also told of an occasion when only his quick thinking and great driving probably saved all of their lives, when they hit ice and span out of control on a bridge in Perth.
“He was a steady hand when we needed one, and a ferocious defender many times too. His drumming has at times taken on legendary status, with his nickname of ‘thunderclap’ being given to him because he hit the snare drum so hard he was prone to smash right through the drum-skin.”
He added that the thousands of gigs they played together would live long in the memory and said that continuing without him after such a long time will be “very strange and sad” as he had been a constant presence in all of their lives.
On his bassist colleague, Wilson, The lead singer said he was “one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known”. He also spoke of his talent for playing more or less every instrument and said that although he hadn’t joined Snow Patrol until 2005, he had actually been a “live member” of the band on guitar for years before that.
He explained: “He was in a band called Terra Diablo and they toured with us many times and Pablo (as he referred to him) would play their set and then jump on with us and play ours too.”
Continuing: “I remember those early Terra Diablo shows, him climbing on speakers and jumping off things that were way too high to jump off and one very memorable night in King Tuts, Glasgow he hung upside down from the rafters and played a guitar solo. He had no fear, and it was thrilling to watch.”
The band really broke through in 2004 with the hit single, Run, followed shortly after by Chasing Cars, which was crowned in 2019 as the most-played song of the 21st Century on UK radio.