SlantedPress caught up with Manchester’s own iconic musician, Tom Hingley.
Most recently, Tom played the Leeds Belgrave Music Hall. I start the interview asking how he felt playing at Leeds. “Leeds is always amazing as a concert city,” Tom tells me. “We’ve played some great shows in and around Leeds since starting this project in 2016: at the Brudenell Social Club; the Embrace Secret Festival; and the Belgrave Music Hall last year. The audience are always a bit mental, a bit sentimental and always up for it.” Keeping up with the theme of Leeds, I ask Tom if he’s had any particularly memorable moments with the city. “Playing the University Bar with Inspiral Carpets in 2008; all of Craig Gill’s children were there in the front row. It was an electric gig in terms of the reception, the best on the tour,” Tom explains. He continues to recount another fond memory at Polytechnic in 1989; “the sound people ran an electric cable down the middle of the room under the audience; someone kept on unplugging it - that was very funny.”
It’s likely you recongised the name Tom Hingley from somewhere and if you’re thinking along the lines of Inspiral Carpets, well then, you’ll be right. Tom’s past as the ex-lead singer for the band is well documented on, but surely the questions focusing on the past rather than the present must get boring. I ask Tom how he feels having to continuously reflect on his time as a part of the band. “To be entirely honest it bores me, really; Inspiral Carpets themselves not being entirely honest about my contribution to the band makes the whole legacy issue more complex” Tom openly admits. “Their official biography claims I left the band in 1994 when actually Graham Lambert broke the band up in 1994. The band remained as a business entity from then on with me sort of running the band’s company and paying the tax etc, so I remained a band member right up until 2003 when we released a single Come Back Tomorrow and a Greatest Hits package. We toured together successfully in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008. So, talking about Inspiral Carpets is tiring because there’s a lot of deliberate misinformation out there. Have a look at the 2012 reissue of Life, the band’s first album which I sang on, co-wrote and, at the time, co-managed the band; according to the sleeve notes I’m not actually on it at all. Sorry, you did ask!!! If you want my version, read my memoir Carpet Burns, published by Route Publishing.”
As a notable member of the Manchester music scene, I ask Tom how he feels about the current upcoming Manchester based artists in Manchester like The 1975 and Pale Waves. “It’s an exciting time for Manchester, the bands who have learned to walk are now running. There’s a lot of confidence” he tells me. “The Manchester scene is very vibrant in 2018 with the likes of False Advertising, Slow Readers Club and Pins. It’s very healthy, I think; always going forward.” I must admit, I also agree with Tom’s opinion. Now is a powerful moment for upcoming music based in Manchester. When speaking of Manchester, it’s difficult not to mention Oasis. I let the interview take a slight turn and ask for Hingley’s input on the ongoing feud between the Gallagher brothers. “Well, it’s boring” Tom states honestly, “they won’t be playing again, will they? We need to concentrate on something more current and something new, although Liam is very funny. I like his tweets; they’re definitely better than Donald Trump’s.” You might not agree with him, but you have to admire Tom’s humour.
Going back to Tom and music, I ask what his inspiration behind touring with band The Kar-pets was. While it’s a little different, Tom admits he understand the band is “essentially a tribute band” but continues to express his gratitude towards the band. It’s to “show punters that I can still walk the walk - even with a lot less hair! - and the desire to play bigger places than I could solo”, he tells me. “I feel proud and validated by doing this Kar-pets project. We do a full set of Inspiral Carpets songs and covers that Inspiral Carpets used to play.” Other than touring with The Kar-pets, I conclude the interview searching for an idea of what Tom will be doing now the Leeds Belgrave show is over. “I have a three-piece band called the Tom Hingley Band: me on vocals and electric guitar; Stephen Pearce on bass; and Malcolm Law on drums.”
So, there you have it. Tom Hingley may no longer be a part of Inspiral Carpets, but he is by no means finished with music. The Tom Hingley Band have a new album out in September called ‘I Love My Job’ – keep an eye out for it.
Notice: This article had been amended following an incorrect impression made relating to Tom Hingley's association with Inspiral Carpets. Tom remained a part of Inspiral Carpets throughout tours in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008. (07/08/18)