In November 2016, the man described as “the beating heart of the Inspiral Carpets” was found dead aged 44.

Craig Gill was a founding member of the iconic Manchester band, and his funeral drew mourners from across the globe.

The band haven’t stepped onto a stage since their last gig with Gill in 2015, but will tour the UK next month and release a new singles collection on Friday, with the intention very much to pay tribute to their musical brother.

After eight years out of action keyboard player Clint Boon tells The Herald: “When Craig died there was a massive outpouring of love for us and sympathy for the family but we’ve not really had a chance to with those people that supported us through that, the audience and the fans.

“This will be the first time we’ve been able to be back in the room with them, which will be nice. We’ll be celebrating Craig’s contribution to the band and the brotherhood we had with him for 30 years but it’s not going to be over the top, there will be some nice visual references to him.

“The way I see it is those songs that we’re doing, every one of them Craig drummed on so just in that respect he’ll be there with us.

“Kev, the new drummer, is completely replicating what Craig did, he’s got it down to a science, he’s replicated every beat Craig created.

“And Kev was a friend of Craig’s too, he was a fan of Craig’s, he really looked up to him so he’s completely respectful and in awe of the opportunity he’s got here to be part of the Inspirals and carry on Craig’s work.

“It’ll be emotional getting back out there without Craig, the first time walking on stage without him will be emotional because since he was 14 he was the drummer behind us in that band.

“He was 44, so that’s 30 years which is a long time to be with somebody and then they’re suddenly taken away.

“We intend to celebrate the fact we got to work with him as much as we can, and we’ll do our best to make those songs sound as good as they ever did.

“It’s really exciting, I’m getting exactly the same buzz I had in the 80s.

“I’ve got the same level of excitement, maybe more, I think with getting older you really appreciate the moments in time that you get a chance to be part of, like being part of the Manchester scene, the band reforming a couple of times, and I think this next chapter, to me, is going to be as exciting as anything we’ve ever done.

“I’m just on top of the world, I’m enjoying the journey of getting everything back together, getting the keyboards back together and learning the songs.

“We’ve got no plans at all to make new music just yet but I’m feeling it in the water that it’s going to happen because we’ve got such a great new energy in the band again, because we’re so thankful of being back on stage and out on the road.

“I’ve got a feeling it will lead to us getting on some new music. We’ll see if that happens, I’m excited about the prospect of that if it does happen.

“When Craig passed away we were working on new music which would have become another album so I think at some point we’ll probably finish those recordings off and put those out as a separate project.

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“We were working on quite a few tracks that were the bones of another album, and obviously that got shelved. If we ever do finish that it’ll be a separate album and a tribute to Craig, because we’ve got quite a few drums down on it.

“When you see the tickets sell as fast as they have it makes me think there’s a lot of love out there for the band still, we’re very grateful for that and we’ll do our best to give the fans what they want and party with them at the same time.

“It’s happy days all round in the Inspirals camp at the moment.”


The Inspirals were one of the iconic bands of the ‘Madchester’ scene of the late 1980s which also included groups like the Happy Mondays, James and The Stone Roses.

Those groups, made up of working class northerners, were given the opportunity to experience things which they couldn’t have dreamed of in Thatcher’s Britain.

Boon says: “It was a beautiful time to be alive, for me everything I dreamed about as a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s and wanting to be a popstar but like a lot of kids not actually doing anything about it!

“I didn’t learn to play any instruments or anything I just dreamed about what it would be like to be a popstar. It was when punk happened in ’76, ’77, I realised people like me could be in bands or on Top of the Pops.

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“It was a dream come true to be part of a band that was suddenly part of a big movement.

“It went from us having a great garage band that we loved being in to suddenly becoming part of this Manchester movement. It was the centre of the universe, that’s what it felt like, like everybody in the world was looking at our city and our bands.

“Our band, our friends’ bands like the Mondays and the Roses, we couldn’t do any wrong.

“It was a great time, there’s a lot of colour in my memories and I feel very thankful that the timing was just right for us as a band and for myself as an individual to be born at the moment I was and to be able to be part of that scene in that part of the world.

“I just think I’m blessed to have arrived when I did, in terms of being born in Oldham in 1959, it just paved the way nicely to be part of that movement.

HeraldScotland: Clint Boon of Inspiral CarpetsClint Boon of Inspiral Carpets (Image: Newsquest)

“Getting on a plane to go to Japan, Australia, places like Russia and Argentina that you never thought you’d see in your life. In all your wild dreams, you never thought you’d go and spend time in Estonia.

“It was just an incredible journey for five working class people from the north of England – it was just unheard of in my world.”

Part of the crew travelling the world was Noel Gallagher, who would go on to be the driving force behind Oasis.

Boon says: “He was an integral part of the band and I’m not just saying that because he went on to become a household name, he was vital to the development of our band in terms of our style, our attitude – he really contributed a lot. His spirit rubbed off on us.

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“As a roadie he’d usually get other people to do all the hard work! Which is fine, it’s why these venues have luggers or stage hands, so Noel would just get them to do all the hard work. It’s fine, the job got done, the gear got set up and the gigs happened!

“He was with us for four years from joining us to leaving us and in that time he was with us 90% of the time the band was together.

“Noel would be with us in the rehearsal room, in the office, on tour, Top of the Pops, meetings with record companies – we’d have him with us constantly.

“He’ll tell you himself that’s where he learned so much about the industry and how a band operates, how the music industry works.

“He learned a lot from us and he’s still very grateful to this day for us including him in all that, he’s still very, very complimentary about the Inspirals, which is lovely.

HeraldScotland: Noel Gallagher at Scarborough Open Air Theatre 2016. Picture by Sarah Smith.

“He was a top geezer back then and still now when I speak to him he’s still inspiring, still got his feet on the ground as far as I can see.”

Gallagher has written some of the nation’s most enduring anthems, but even he can’t lay his name to a universal terrace anthem.

The Inspirals, as well as hits like ‘Saturn 5’ and ‘She Comes In The Fall’ can though, in the shape of ‘This Is How It Feels To Be Lonely’.

Asked about his song being belted out at football stadiums across the country Boon replies: “It’s phenomenal, it takes my breath away.

“Having been the person who wrote that song in a really down moment… when you write a song like that you don’t even know if it’ll become part of the band’s repertoire, you don’t know if it’s going to be on an album – you don’t even imagine it might be a single.

“We started doing it live and it seemed to really affect people in a universal, emotional way because everyone knows what it’s like to be lonely – you can connect with that immediately.

“We put it on the album and at some point decided to release it as a single. It was a very successful record, it got in the top 20, but to see the life that song’s had across the years…

“You still hear it on the radio all the time, particularly in Manchester. You hear it in nightclubs, I do a lot of DJing and I don’t mind playing it. But to see it go off and become a football anthem as well… as the man who wrote that song it’s like my 30-year-old child going out there and having all this fun.

“I’m not necessarily part of it anymore, I can’t control it. It’s my 34-year-old baby having a laugh on the football terraces every weekend!

“Whether it be United, City, Celtic, Rangers – they’re all singing it. Leeds United were using it a couple of years ago, I think it was used at the cricket when someone was bowled out.

“It shows the power of music, that you can write something like that which is quite a down song if you look at the subject matter – suicide, infidelity, mental health – and for that to become a triumphant terrace anthem… how did that happen? It’s incredible.

“I’m not complaining, I love seeing the journey that it’s been on and I’m sure it’s not over yet.

“It’s only a matter of time before it ends up in a big Hollywood film. It was in one of Simon Pegg’s ones (The World’s End), Saturn 5 was in Derry Girls, but I think it’s only a matter of time before ‘This Is How It Feels’ will become one of these songs that… I dunno, it’ll just transcend everything that it’s done so far.”

As well as their new singles collection, Inspiral Carpets are hitting the road in April, playing a show in Glasgow at SWG3 on the 13th before returning to Scotland later in the year for shows in Edinburgh and Dunfermline.


Returning to Glasgow is set to be one of the highlights of the tour, with Boon waxing lyrical about his love of a city he feels is a spiritual cousin of Manchester.

He says: “Since the first time I went to Glasgow I’ve thought ‘this place is so much like Manchester’. Our first visit there would have probably been 1987, we came up with the Wedding Present to support them then started doing our own gigs up there.

“I’ve always clocked it, from the very first time we went up there. Even though these people had this strange accent that was a bit hard for us to decipher at the beginning, they were our people and the city felt the same.

“That’s never gone away, it still feels like every time we go to Glasgow we’re seeing our brothers and sisters.

“Ask any Manchester band which is their favourite city outside Manchester and Glasgow is always top of the list.

“In terms of favourite city to play, best crowd reaction etc it’s universally Glasgow and the Barrowlands. That’s what people talk about.

“Our gigs at the Barrowlands back in the day were more memorable than any other moments in our history.

“In terms of gigging we had some great live performance moments but Glasgow was always the one where we knew we could do no wrong.

“It was always great and I’m sure it’s going to be great when we get back there in April.”