The Madchester music scene evolved in Manchester in the late 1980s and is synonymous with the likes of The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and the Inspiral Carpets. Tom Hingley was lead singer with the Inspirals during this exciting chapter in British music. At the height of their fame, the Inspiral Carpets headlined Reading Festival.
Now on a solo tour of Britain, having just written the book Carpet Burns about his time in the Inspiral Carpets, and with two new albums coming out soon, Tom took time out of his hectic schedule to talk to us.
Welcome Tom and thank you for doing this interview. You are set to release your first albums since 2009. Will it just be you or do you have a backing band?
Sand is an acoustic album, whereas ‘Paper’ is ostensibly the same album re-recorded with a 3 piece electric band consisting of Stephen Hanley on bass and Blair Murray (Twisted wheel) and Paul Hanley (The Fall and The Lovers) on drums .
Which track on Sand means the most to you and why?
All of the tracks mean something, the album is about growth, learning, being middle-aged and the knowledge that there is more road behind me than in front.
Your recent touring has taken you all round Britain, including Lincoln. Did you visit the castle and cathedral?
Not yet, but i love old buildings, I will visit next time I’m in town
You have worked with Mark E. Smith of the Fall in the past. Any chance of a future collaboration?
Unlikely – he’s an amazing artist and rarely revisits previous glories. We had a memorable and fun time recording with him, and doing a video, and a Top of the Pops performance.
Who would you most like to perform a duet with and why?
Wilko Johnson, guitarist from the classic line up of Doctor Feelgood, he’s a bit of a hero for me. I saw him drinking in his local, the Railway Inn in Southend the other day when I was playing there. I didn’t go and talk to him as I was too scared.
A young Noel Gallagher once famously roadied for your old band the Inspiral Carpets. Was he good at his job?
He was a maestro, and a mentor. I don’t think we knew he would be a million times more successful than Inspirals, but he deserved it.
You collected glasses at the Hacienda whilst studying English at Manchester. What was it like working at one of the most famous nightclubs ever?
It was the biggest jukebox in the world.
Did you always want to be part of the music scene?
Yes, I used to mime to Top of the Pops as a four year old with a tennis racket.
If asked, would you consider appearing on a TV reality show such as Strictly Come Dancing or I’m A Celebrity?
I’m a celebrity – because I could upset more people being on that format.
You can check out Tom’s Inspiral Carpets memoirs called Carpet Burns
Tom Hingley was speaking to John Daulton. (@mr_jonnyd)