SlantedPress caught up with Manchesterâ€™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. â€œLeeds is always amazing as a concert city,â€ Tom tells me. â€œWeâ€™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.â€ Keeping up with the theme of Leeds, I ask Tom if heâ€™s had any particularly memorable moments with the city. â€œPlaying the University Bar with Inspiral Carpets in 2008; all of Craig Gillâ€™s children were there in the front row. It was an electric gig in terms of the reception, the best on the tour,â€ Tom explains. He continues to recount another fond memory at Polytechnic in 1989; â€œthe sound people ran an electric cable down the middle of the room under the audience; someone kept on unplugging it - that was very funny.â€
Itâ€™s likely you recongised the name Tom Hingley from somewhere and if youâ€™re thinking along the lines of Inspiral Carpets, well then, youâ€™ll be right. Tomâ€™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. â€œTo 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 complexâ€ Tom openly admits. â€œTheir 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 bandâ€™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 thereâ€™s a lot of deliberate misinformation out there. Have a look at the 2012 reissue of Life, the bandâ€™s first album which I sang on, co-wrote and, at the time, co-managed the band; according to the sleeve notes Iâ€™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.â€
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. â€œItâ€™s an exciting time for Manchester, the bands who have learned to walk are now running. Thereâ€™s a lot of confidenceâ€ he tells me. â€œThe Manchester scene is very vibrant in 2018 with the likes of False Advertising, Slow Readers Club and Pins. Itâ€™s very healthy, I think; always going forward.â€ I must admit, I also agree with Tomâ€™s opinion. Now is a powerful moment for upcoming music based in Manchester. When speaking of Manchester, itâ€™s difficult not to mention Oasis. I let the interview take a slight turn and ask for Hingleyâ€™s input on the ongoing feud between the Gallagher brothers. â€œWell, itâ€™s boringâ€ Tom states honestly, â€œthey wonâ€™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; theyâ€™re definitely better than Donald Trumpâ€™s.â€ You might not agree with him, but you have to admire Tomâ€™s humour.
Going back to Tom and music, I ask what his inspiration behind touring with band The Kar-pets was. While itâ€™s a little different, Tom admits he understand the band is â€œessentially a tribute bandâ€ but continues to express his gratitude towards the band. Itâ€™s to â€œshow punters that I can still walk the walk - even with a lot less hair! - and the desire to play bigger places than I could soloâ€, he tells me. â€œI 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.â€ 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. â€œI 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.â€
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 â€˜I Love My Jobâ€™ â€“ 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)