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“It was the biggest youth movement since punk” – thus former frontman for the Inspiral Carpets Tom Hingley describes the days when his band were at the centre of the musical universe.

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In the early 90s, the Manchester baggy movement was where it was at, and the Inspirals, along with the Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses, were the big three.

They changed the face of popular music and were so legendary a young Noel Gallagher cut his teeth as their roadie.


“He was with us for about three-and-a-half years,” said Hingley. “He auditioned to be vocalist before me, although I never knew that until years later. One day he smashed up a tour bus – him and one other guy. I think they didn’t want to work for us any more, he wanted to do his own thing and good luck to him.”

But while the Happy Mondays kept gigging, and the Roses recently enjoyed a high-profile reunion, Hingley has kept himself firmly under the radar.

Now his autobiography has emerged to critical acclaim, as he hits the road with new band The Lovers. “It was a very, very exciting time,” he said. “And I can remember most of it. We were a pretty clean band, although I can’t say the same for all the roadies. I think it’s a good book. It’s full of stories of that era. It’s already sold quite well and I’ve a feeling it might pick up an award. People seem to like it.”

So what can the audience expect? “We are just playing the second album [The Beat Inside], which is quite dark and brooding. It’s one for the real true fans. They have always asked for songs off that album so I thought why not? The second album didn’t do as well, and I don’t think the band ever got over that. It’s quite usual for that to happen.

“You have the whole, of your life to write the first album and only limited time to write the second. But it’s a good record, cohesive and coherent.

“And although it’s 21 years old, it will be brand new to some people, many won’t have heard it.

“The tour hasn’t been a sell out so far, but we are going to places like Leeds, Manchester and London where we have always had really great fans.”

What’s next for the 47-year-old? “Writing the book took up all my creative juices. Writing it has been like trying to run a small country. Badly. I had to take about 120,000 words out. But I’ve got some good ideas for a new record. ”

n Carpet Burns is available from most bookshops. The Beast Inside Tour comes to the 02 Academy Islington tonight Tom will be signing copies after the show.

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