Inspiral Carpets

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Inspiral Carpets
OriginOldham, England
Years active
  • 1983–1995
  • 2003–2016
LabelsMute / Elektra Cherry Red Records
Associated acts
Past membersGlenn Chesworth
Tony Feeley
Stephen Holt
Graham Lambert
Craig Gill
Clint Boon
Mark Hughes
Dave Swift
Tom Hingley
Martyn Walsh

Inspiral Carpets were an English rock band, part of the late-1980s/early-1990s Madchester movement. Formed in Oldham in 1983, the band's most successful lineup featured frontman Tom Hingley, drummer Craig Gill, guitarist Graham Lambert, bassist Martyn Walsh and keyboardist Clint Boon.

Formed by Lambert and singer Stephen Holt, who departed the band before they signed with Mute Records,[1] Inspiral Carpets was known for using organs and distorted guitars with influences from psychedelic rock. In 2011, Hingley departed the band, though members disagree about the circumstances. The band continued on, reuniting with Holt. The group have been inactive since Gill's suicide in 2016.



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

Inspiral Carpets came to prominence along with bands such as the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays in the Madchester scene of the late 1980s. The band first appeared on a flexi-disc with "Garage Full of Flowers" that was given free with Manchester's Debris magazine in 1987. Their first proper release, the Cow cassette, soon followed. 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] The band reworked their single "Find Out Why" as the theme song for the show 8:15 from Manchester.[4]

As the band's popularity grew, Playtime's distributor Red Rhino Records went bankrupt, leading Inspiral Carpets to form their own label, Cow Records, in March 1989. The label's first release was the Trainsurfing EP.[1] With half of the first album, Life, written, Holt and Swift departed and formed the Rainkings, so the band recruited Too Much Texas singer Tom Hingley and Martyn "Bungle" Walsh of The Next Step to replace them.[1] Martyn Walsh became the band's 13th bass player.[5] After a handful of singles on their own label, with "Move" nearly reaching the UK top 40, the band signed a deal with Mute Records and soon experienced their first top-40 chart success in the UK with "This Is How It Feels." The single reached No. 14 on the singles chart, and the debut album Life reached No. 2 on the albums chart in 1990.[1]

The following year's The Beast Inside was not as well-received by critics,[3] but still achieved a top-5 album chart ranking. 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] However, the band gained a strong following in Portugal, Germany and Argentina, where the 1992 album Revenge of the Goldfish became their most successful.[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" (featuring Mark E. Smith) as top-20 hits.[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)[edit]

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

In 1999, Strange Fruit Records released a compilation of tracks recorded for BBC Radio 1 sessions.[6]

Reformation (2003–2011)[edit]

Inspiral Carpets reunited in 2003, playing to sellout crowds on tour and releasing the single "Come Back Tomorrow" (recorded in 1995) and a number of new compilation records, most notably the Cool As box set. The band have toured sporadically since, reuniting again in 2007 to tour in support of an iTunes-exclusive 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.[citation needed]

Hingley departs, Holt returns and Gill's death (2011–2016)[edit]

In February 2011, it was revealed that Tom Hingley was no longer part of the band, with the circumstances of his departure unclear. Band members indicated that Hingley had left of his own accord, with Clint Boon contradicting Hingley's suggestion that the band had split up[7] whilst Hingley later claimed that he had been fired by the band at a meeting.[8]

In August 2011, the band announced a reunion with 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."[9] The band recorded "You're So Good For Me"/"Head for the Sun" for Record Store Day, a 7" single that was released, sold and deleted on 21 April 2012. The accompanying video for the main track was shot at a 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 in 24 years. In May, the band were special guests on a Happy Mondays tour.[citation needed]

In the summer of 2012, the band played at several festivals, culminating with a live performance at the Old Trafford cricket ground on 10 September during England's T20I match with South Africa. For Record Store Day in April 2014, Inspiral Carpets released Dung 4, a previously cassette-only collection of demos from 1987, on vinyl and CD, with the earlier tape Cow Demo added as a free 7" 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 past singles, "You're So Good For Me" and "Spitfire", plus 10 new tracks. The album also included "Let You Down", co-written by and featuring punk poet John Cooper Clarke. Interviewed in Record Collector, Boon described the album as "Diverse. A couple (of the songs) have an R.E.M. flavour, one nod 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 by suicide at the age of 44.[10][11] His suicide was said to be the result of tinnitus that had caused 20 years of insomnia and anxiety.[12] Memorial services were attended by music-industry friends including Inspiral Carpets members, Oasis singer Liam Gallagher, Stone Roses bassist Mani and Happy Mondays singer Rowetta.[13] Soon after his death, Gill's friends began a social-media campaign to make the band's 1994 hit "Saturn 5" the Christmas number-one song for 2016.[14]


  • Glenn Chesworth (born Glenn Chesworth on 28 January 1963, in Chadderton, Oldham) – keyboards (1983–1987)
  • Tony Feeley (born Mark Anthony Feeley on 27 December 1962, in Oldham) – bass (1983–1987)
  • Stephen Holt – lead vocals (1983–1989, 2011–2016)
  • Graham Lambert (born Graham Paul Lambert, on 10 July 1964, in Chadderton, Oldham) – guitars (1983–1995, 2003–2016)
  • Craig Gill (born Craig Douglas Gill on 5 December 1971, in Salford; died 20 November 2016) – drums (1986–1995, 2003–2016)[10]
  • Clint Boon (born Clinton David Boon, on 28 June 1959, in Oldham) – keyboards, backing vocals (1987–1995, 2003–2016)
  • Mark Hughes – bass (1987)
  • Dave Swift (born David Swift on 11 January 1964, Wolverhampton) – bass (1987–1989)
  • Tom Hingley (born Thomas Hingley, on 9 July 1965, in Abingdon) – lead vocals (1989–1995, 2003–2011)
  • Martyn Walsh (born Martyn John Walsh, on 3 July 1968, in Rusholme, Manchester) – bass (1989–1995, 2003–2016)



Studio albums[edit]

Demo albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]


  • 21.7.90 (1990), BMG/Cow (VHS)
  • Inspiral Carpets The Singles (1995), Mute (VHS)
  • Live at Brixton Academy (2003), Mute (DVD)


Year Title Chart positions Album
UK Singles Chart[15] US Alt
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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n 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. ^ a b Larkin, Colin: The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music, 2002, Guinness Publishing, pp. 144/5, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  4. ^ "YouTube video showing how the band recorded the theme tune to 8:15 from Manchester". YouTube. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  5. ^ Graham Lambert interview on Cool As box set
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006) The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, OUP USA, ISBN 978-0195313734, p. 482
  7. ^ "Twitter". Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  8. ^ Walters, Sarah (28 August 2012). "Inspiral Carpets pulled the rug from under me claims ex-frontman Tom Hingley in new autobiography". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Inspiral Carpets garage band". Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Inspiral Carpets Drummer Craig Gill Dies, Aged 44", RadioX, 22 November 2016
  11. ^ "Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill dies at 44". BBC News. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Inspiral Carpets drummer killed himself after 20 years of 'unbearable' tinnitus". The Guardian. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Music world mourns Craig - Chronicle Online". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Christmas Number 1 2016: The contenders revealed". Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  15. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 269–270. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]