Inspiral Carpets

Inspiral Carpets
Inspiral Carpets

Tom Hingley in concert, 2003
Background information
Origin Oldham, England
Genres Alternative rock, Madchester, indie rock
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
Graham Lambert
Stephen Holt
Craig Gill
Clint Boon
Martyn Walsh
Past members
David Swift
Glenn Chesworth
Tony Feeley
Tom Hingley

Inspiral Carpets are an alternative rock band from Oldham in Greater Manchester, England formed by Graham Lambert and Stephen Holt in 1983.[1] The band is named after a clothing shop on their Oldham estate. Their sound is based around psychedelic keyboards and guitars.




Schoolfriends Lambert and Holt recruited drummer Craig Gill, and formed Inspiral Carpets in 1983, originally as a garage punk band.[1] After various other members had come and gone, by 1987 the line-up included bassist David Swift and organist Clint Boon (whose Ashton-under-Lyne studio the band had been using for rehearsals).[2] 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; a student at Oxford Polytechnic was prosecuted on obscenity charges for wearing one.[citation needed] 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] In the same year, Holt and Swift departed to form The Rainkings, with the band recruiting Too Much Texas singer Tom Hingley and Martin "Bungle" Walsh of The Next Step to replace them.[1] 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", which is a song about unemployment and touches on themes of domestic violence. The single reached #14 in the singles chart, and debut album Life reached #2 in the album chart, both in 1990.[1]

The following year's The Beast Inside was less well-received by critics,[2] but still achieved a top 5 album chart placing. The "Caravan" and "Please be Cruel" singles only reached #30 and #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] Next single "Uniform" stalled at #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 on his own 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, Tom Hingley announced on Twitter that the Inspirals had split up. Clint Boon responded "Inspiral Carpets have not split up. It appears that one member has chosen to leave"[3]. In August 2011 they announced a reunion with original singer Stephen Holt. Their website states "Inspirals will be recording their first material in 15 years coupled with worldwide live concerts"[4].


Early line-up

  • Stephen Holt - vocals
  • Graham Lambert - guitars
  • Dave Swift - bass
  • Clint Boon - keyboards, vocals
  • Craig Gill - drums

Height of success

  • Tom Hingley - vocals (born Thomas Hingley, on 9 July 1965, in Oxford)
  • Graham Lambert - guitar - (born Graham Paul Lambert, on 10 July 1964, in Chadderton, Oldham)
  • Martyn Walsh - bass - (born Martyn John Walsh, on 3 July 1968, in Rusholme, Manchester)
  • Clint Boon - Farfisa organ, vocals (born Clinton David Boon, on 28 June 1959, in Oldham)
  • Craig Gill - drums - (born Craig Douglas Gill on 5 December 1971, in Salford)

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.


Studio albums

Compilation albums

  • The Singles (1995) Mute (UK Albums Chart #17)
  • Radio 1 Sessions (1996) Strange Fruit (UK Album Chart N/A)
  • Cool As (2003) Mute (UK Albums Chart #65)
  • Greatest Hits (2003) Mute (UK Album Chart N/A)
  • Keep the Circle (2007) (iTunes only download)


  • 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[5] US Modern Rock
1988 "Planecrash EP" N/A N/A N/A*
1989 "Trainsurfing EP" N/A N/A
"Joe" N/A N/A
"Find Out Why" 90 N/A
"Move" 49 N/A Life*
1990 "Commercial Reign" N/A 27
1990* "This Is How It Feels" 14 22
1990 "She Comes in the Fall" 27 N/A
"Island Head EP" 21 N/A N/A
1991 "Caravan" 30 15 Beast Inside
"Please be Cruel" 50 N/A
1992 "Dragging Me Down" 12 N/A Revenge of the Goldfish
"Two Worlds Collide" 32 8
"Generations" 28 N/A
"Bitches Brew" 36 N/A
1993 "How it Should Be" 49 N/A N/A
1994 "Saturn 5" 20 N/A Devil Hopping
"I Want You" 18 N/A
"Uniform" 51 N/A
1995 "Joe" 37 N/A The Singles
2003 "Come Back Tomorrow" 43 N/A Cool As

* "Commercial Reign" 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. ^ a b Larkin, Colin: "The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music", 2002, Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  3. ^ "Twitter".!/therealboon/status/33568163060785152. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Inspiral Carpets garage band". Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  5. ^ 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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  • Life (Inspiral Carpets album) — Infobox Album| Inspiral C.jpg/180px Life Inspiral C.jpg)) Name = Life Type = Studio album Artist = Inspiral Carpets Released = April 23, 1990 Recorded = Out Of The Blue Studios Genre = Rock …   Wikipedia

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