Non-Allied Carpets; for Years Tom Hingley Was the Frontman of the Inspiral Carpets - One of the Most Successful British Groups of the '80S. Now No Longer with the Group, He's Written a Book That Sets the Record Straight about a Glorious Period in British Youth Culture, His Fall out with the Band and Why Oasis Wouldn't Have Existed without Him

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), September 10, 2012 | Go to article overview

Non-Allied Carpets; for Years Tom Hingley Was the Frontman of the Inspiral Carpets - One of the Most Successful British Groups of the '80S. Now No Longer with the Group, He's Written a Book That Sets the Record Straight about a Glorious Period in British Youth Culture, His Fall out with the Band and Why Oasis Wouldn't Have Existed without Him


Byline: Tom Hingley

TOM Hingley wants to set the record straight. As the frontman of The Inspiral Carpets he was part of a triumvirate of bands that blazed a trail out of Manchester in the late '80s turning on, tuning in and dropping out as part of a Madchester scene that swept all before it.

Along with The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays, The Inspirals' organ-fuelled psychedelic pop spawned a series of wide-eyed hits such as This Is How It Feels, She Comes In The Fall and Dragging Me Down.

Now Tom, who is no longer a member of the band having departed last year, has written a warts and all confessional about his time at the heart of the baggy icons.

Carpet Burns, My Life With Inspiral Carpets, is his account of being in a band caught in the eye of a cultural storm, but it's also about his own story, charting his unlikely journey from rural Oxfordshire to becoming a pop star.

Tom was the youngest of seven children. His father was a renowned Oxford University don who translated works by Chekhov and Solzhenitsyn, but it was music, rather than literature, that he turned to and after watching Ian Dury and the Blockheads play in 1977 he set out to become a musician.

He moved to Manchester in the '80s to study English at the former polytechnic and got a job working at the Hacienda. By this time he had formed a band, Too Much Texas, and in 1989, he joined the Inspiral Carpets.

His book charts the band's rise and offers a vivid glimpse into the music business at the time and what happens when the hits start to dry up and the arguments kick in.

"Music journalists and music journalism in general has been quite lazy about that period of time," he tells me, explaining his reasons for writing the book. "They had forgotten that we were one of the three biggest bands between 1989 and 1992.

"They kind of think we're famous purely because Noel Gallagher worked for us (Gallagher was the band's roadie before finding fame with Oasis); the truth is Noel Gallagher would never have been heard of and had no career whatsoever if he had not worked for us.

"No-one forced him to stand at the side of the stage for 250 gigs and watch me sing, no one made him be in the studio where we wrote songs and told someone how to play them. When we did interviews abroad and we were tired Noel would sit in and pretend to be me or Clint (Boon - The Inspiral Carpets' keyboard player). It was a rock school for him.

"He met Alan McGee working for us, Paul Weller working for us, he met The La's working for us. People don't get that because Oasis were a million times more successful, but I'm sorry the chronology of it was that he couldn't have worked for The Stone Roses because their egos were too big to accommodate him, he couldn't have worked for The Happy Mondays because at least a couple of them were really serious Class A drug users, so he would not have gone anywhere if he had not worked for us.

"He owes an enormous debt to the band and that's fine because he went off and did something much better and much more successful than we did," he adds, letting out a huge roar of laughter.

Tom says he also sat down to write this candid tome because he wanted to redress the balance.

"The book was also to say that I was a big part of what communally was the success of The Inspiral Carpets. Over the years in any group there's always people who want to push their views too much. …

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Non-Allied Carpets; for Years Tom Hingley Was the Frontman of the Inspiral Carpets - One of the Most Successful British Groups of the '80S. Now No Longer with the Group, He's Written a Book That Sets the Record Straight about a Glorious Period in British Youth Culture, His Fall out with the Band and Why Oasis Wouldn't Have Existed without Him
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