Inspiral Carpets

This article is about the band. For the album, see Inspiral Carpets (album).
Inspiral Carpets
Origin Oldham, England
Years active
  • 1983–1995
  • 2003–present
Labels Mute / Elektra
Associated acts Tom Hingley and the Lovers
The Clint Boon Experience
Too Much Texas
The Rainkings
Members Graham Lambert
Stephen Holt
Clint Boon
Martyn Walsh
Past members Glenn Chesworth
Tony Feeley
Craig Gill
Mark Hughes
Dave Swift
Tom Hingley

Inspiral Carpets are an English alternative rock band, formed in 1983 in Oldham, Greater Manchester. The band's classic lineup featured frontman Tom Hingley, drummer Craig Gill, guitarist Graham Lambert, bassist Martyn Walsh and keyboardist Clint Boon.

Formed by guitarist Graham Lambert and singer Stephen Holt, the latter of which departed the band prior to the band signing with Mute Records,[1] the band's sound was characterised by the use of organ playing and distorted guitars. The band both preceded and was a part of the late 1980s and early 1990s Madchester movement.

In 2011, Tom Hingley, who featured on all of the band's studio albums during their original run, departed the band. Hingley and Boon gave conflicting accounts of his departure, with Hingley stating that he had been sacked and Boon stating that he had chosen to leave. The band continued, re-uniting with Stephen Holt who sang on the band's early material. On 22 November 2016, the band announced that Gill had died.



Graham Lambert and Stephen Holt had a friendship from their school days. They formed Inspiral Carpets in 1983, originally as a garage rock and punk inspired band, with keyboardist Glenn Chesworth and bassist Tony Feeley.[1] The musicians recruited drummer Craig Gill in 1986, when Gill was 14 years old.[2] In 1987, following the departures of Chesworth and Feeley, the line-up included first Mark Hughes, then Dave Swift on bass and organist Clint Boon (whose Ashton-under-Lyne studio the band had been using for rehearsals).[3] The band released two albums worth of demos in the 1980s, Waiting for Ours and Songs of Shallow Intensity, including songs that would later be re-recorded.[1]

They came to prominence, alongside bands like The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, in the 'Madchester' scene of the late 1980s. After a flexi-disc featuring Garage Full of Flowers given free with Manchester's Debris magazine in 1987, followed by the Cow cassette, their first release proper, the 1988 Planecrash EP on the Playtime label received much airplay from Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who asked the band to record a session for his show.[1] At the time of their initial success, the band earned some notoriety for their squiggly-eyed cow 'Cool as Fuck' T-shirts when a student at Oxford Polytechnic was prosecuted on obscenity charges for wearing one. They reworked their single "Find Out Why" as the theme tune to the 8:15 from Manchester.

As their popularity grew, Playtime's distributor Red Rhino Records went bust, leading the band to form their own label, Cow Records in March 1989, the labels' first release being the Trainsurfing EP.[1] but with half of the first album Life written, Holt and Swift departed and formed The Rainkings, The Inspirals recruited Too Much Texas singer Tom Hingley and Martin "Bungle" Walsh of The Next Step to replace them.[1] Guitarist Graham Lambert states in an interview on the Cool As box set that the band had tried numerous bass players before settling on Martyn Walsh, who was their thirteenth bass player. After a handful of singles on their own label, the last of which, "Move", came close to the UK top 40, they signed a deal with Mute Records, and immediately had their first top 40 chart success in the UK with "This Is How It Feels". The single reached No. 14 in the singles chart, and debut album Life reached No. 2 in the album chart, both in 1990.[1]

The following year's The Beast Inside was less well received by critics,[3] but still achieved a top 5 album chart placing. The "Caravan" and "Please be Cruel" singles only reached No. 30 and No. 50 respectively, and an attempt to crack the American market largely failed.[1] The band did, however, gain a strong following in Portugal, Germany, and Argentina, with the band's 1992 album Revenge of the Goldfish becoming their most successful in those countries.[1] The album peaked at number 17 in the UK, and spawned four UK hit singles. The next album, Devil Hopping (1994) reached number 10 in the album chart, with "Saturn 5" and "I Want You" giving them top 20 hits, from that LP. (The latter's single version featured Mark E. Smith.)[1] The next single "Uniform" stalled at No. 51 and in 1995, after the release of a Singles collection, the band were dropped by Mute, and split up soon after.[1]

Post-split activities (1995–2003)

Hingley formed a new band, The Lovers, along with Jerry Kelly of The Lotus Eaters (the band later featured Steve and Paul Hanley of The Fall), while Boon formed The Clint Boon Experience, releasing a string of singles the Artful label.[1] Gill also formed a new band, Hustler who eventually changed their name to 'Proud Mary' naming themselves after a song by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Proud Mary signed to Noel Gallagher's Big Brother label some years later, while Walsh moved into production, largely working on techno-dance music.[1] Two of the band's roadies enjoyed musical success themselves; van driver Mark Collins joined The Charlatans in 1991, while guitar technician Noel Gallagher joined Oasis.[1]

Reformation (2003–2011)

They re-formed in 2003, releasing a new single "Come Back Tomorrow" (recorded in 1995), a couple of sold-out tours and a number of new compilation records, most notably the Cool As box set. They have toured sporadically since, reuniting yet again in 2007 to tour in support of an iTunes only compilation of their b-sides and rarities. They played a tour in 2008 under the banner "Return of the Cow", announcing that their own Cow Records label was to be revived.

Hingley departs and Holt returns (2011-)

In February 2011 it was revealed that Tom Hingley was no longer part of the band; with the circumstances of his departure unclear. Members of the band indicated that Hingley had left of his own accord, with Clint Boon contradicting Hingley's suggestion that the band had split up;[4] whilst Hingley himself later claimed that he had been fired by the band at a meeting.[5]

In August 2011 the band announced a reunion with their original singer Stephen Holt. Their website indicated that "Inspirals will be recording their first material in 15 years coupled with concerts in South America & Greece".[6] The band recorded 'You're So Good For Me/Head for the Sun' for Record Store Day which was released, sold and deleted on 7" single on Saturday 21 April 2012. The accompanying video for the main track was shot at a live concert in Buenos Aires in November 2011.

In support of the single the band toured the UK in March 2012 for the first time with Holt for 24 years. In May the band were special guests on the Happy Mondays tour which was their first tour together with their original line up for 24 years.

Throughout 2012 the band continued to play live at several festivals over the summer culminating with a live performance at Old Trafford cricket ground on Monday 10 September during the England versus South Africa T/20 cricket match.

In April 2014 in conjunction with Record Store Day 2014 Dung 4, a previous cassette only demo from 1987, was issued on vinyl and CD with an earlier tape 'Cow Demo' added as a free 7-inch with the vinyl version.

Uncut said of the album: "the whole package is a fine summation of the Inspirals enduring appeal."

In October 2014 the band released Inspiral Carpets on Cherry Red Records. Their first album in 20 years, Inspiral Carpets contained two of their past three singles "You're So Good For Me" and "Spitfire" plus 10 new tracks. The album also included "Let You Down", co-written and featuring punk poet John Cooper Clarke.

Interviewed in Record Collector keyboard player Clint Boon described the album as "Diverse, A couple (of the songs) have an REM flavor, one nods to the 50s, two to Joy Division, several the Doors, one Northern soul, two The Beach Boys."

After several dates in Europe over the summer the band played 12 UK dates in December 2014 in support of the album's release. On 20 November 2016, drummer Craig Gill died, aged 44.[7]


Current members
Former members



Studio albums

Demo albums

Compilation albums



Year Title Chart positions Album
UK Singles Chart[8] US Modern Rock
1988 "Planecrash EP" N/A*
1989 "Trainsurfing EP"
"Find Out Why" 90
"Move" 49 Life*
1990 "Commercial Rain" 27
1990* "This Is How It Feels" 14 22
1990 "She Comes in the Fall" 27
"Island Head EP" 21 N/A
1991 "Caravan" 30 15 Beast Inside
"Please be Cruel" 50
1992 "Dragging Me Down" 12 Revenge of the Goldfish
"Two Worlds Collide" 32 8
"Generations" 28
"Bitches Brew" 36
1993 "How it Should Be" 49 N/A
1994 "Saturn 5" 20 Devil Hopping
"I Want You" 18
"Uniform" 51
1995 "Joe" 37 The Singles
2003 "Come Back Tomorrow" 43 Cool As
2011 "You're So Good for Me" Inspiral Carpets
2013 "Fix Your Smile" N/A
2014 "Spitfire" Inspiral Carpets
2015 "Let You Down"

* "Commercial Rain" did not appear on the UK release of Life. This is How it Feels was released in 1991 in the US.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Thompson, Dave (2000) Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman, ISBN 0-87930-607-6, p.425-427
  2. Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill dies at 44. BBC News (2016-11-22).
  3. 1 2 Larkin, Colin: "The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music", 2002, Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  4. "Twitter". Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  5. Walters, Sarah (28 August 2012). "Inspiral Carpets pulled the rug from under me claims ex-frontman Tom Hingley in new autobiography".
  6. "Inspiral Carpets garage band". Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  7. 1 2 "Inspiral Carpets Drummer Craig Gill Dies, Aged 44", RadioX, 22 November 2016
  8. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 269–270. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links

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