Being a lifelong Inspiral Carpets fan, finally getting to interview one of them is, despite it seeming quite sad to those around me nowadays, a great privilege. And being from sunny Oldham like them and never once managing to catch their DJ sets at Ambition/Tokyo Project/whatever else people in the massive queue choose to call it, is something from which I may never recover! Thank god they’re back on tour again, again! Anyhoo, on with the interview. Tom Hingley (TH), whose T-shirt I still have from his TOTP performance, has kindly answered all 69 questions posed to him, you lucky people you!
AS: When you take aim with your peashooter/pellet gun/sniper rifle, you’re aiming at?
TH: MILITARISTS AND PEOPLE WHO DON’T LOOK AFTER SOLDIERS WHEN THEY COME BACK INJURED FORM WAR ZONES.
AS: Where do you go when it all gets too much?
TH: MY HEAD, BOOKS, MUSIC AND SEX.
AS: Is bedtime more half nine with a half read paper or more half four with fully red eyes?
TH: THREE IN THE MORNING. GUILTY BECAUSE I HAVENT DONE ALLTHE STUFF I SHOULD HAVE DONE.
AS: What do you do in your recreational time?
TH: PLAY MUSIC, DRINK BEER AND TRY TO WRITE NOVELS.
AS: Who would be your dream collaborator?
TH: BOWIE OR HENDRIX. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IS IT?!
AS: What’s the last gig/concert you went to?
TH: CROWDED HOUSE @ MEN ARENA. COOL AND SAD. THEIR ORIGINAL DRUMMER HUNG HIMSELF LAST YEAR AND THEY HAD A LIGHT ON STAGE TO REMEMBER HIM. GREAT GIG… SAD BUT HAPPY TOO.
AS: What’s the best music video?
TH: CITY OF TINY LIGHTS BY FRANK ZAPPA (THEY USED TO SHOW IT ON THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST). ALL MODELLERS CLAY MADE INTO HEADS WITH MAGGOTS COMING OUT OF THEIR EYES.
AS: If you were a musical instrument what would you be?
TH: A DOUBLE BASS (SIMILAR WAIST SIZE!).
AS: Do you believe in love at first sight?
TH: ONLY WITH PROSTITUTES.
AS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
TH: THE WELL OF HUMAN UNHAPPINESS.
AS: Any regrets, missed opportunities or things that might’ve been?
TH: THAT I’M NOT A MILLIONAIRE OR A PUBLISHED NOVELIST.
AS: Were/are you aware of your escalating popularity?
TH: WEREN’T / DEFINITELY NOT BOTHERED ABOUT IT. I’M JUST BOTHERED ABOUT BEING GOOD. NOT POPULAR AS A MUSICIAN OR AS A PERSON, A GOOD THING REALLY.
AS: Will your past come back to haunt you?
TH: IT DOES EVERY TIME I CLOSE MY EYE LIDS.
AS: Where do you most enjoy playing live?
TH: LEEDS/GLASGOW- THE SPOONS ON MY KNEES.
AS: Why? What's your biggest why question that’s mystified you the longest?
TH: WHY DO WE ALLOW SO MANY PEOPLE TO SUFFER AND WALK ON BY?
AS: Who is most influential on your sound?
TH: MY VOICE, MY HEART BEAT AND THE VOICES IN MY HEAD.
AS: Where do you sit in the grand scheme of things?
TH: IN THE MIDDLE AMONGST THE MUSH WHERE EM FOSTER FOUND HIMSELF.
AS: Why the name?
TH: NO ONE ELSE HAD IT; IT’S STRANGE AND DULL AT THE SAME TIME.
AS: Whose the most likely to go solo or crazy?
TH: WE’VE ALL DONE BOTH OF THOSE THINGS ALREADY, BUT ALL OF US HAVE BEEN EQUALLY SUCCESSFUL AT BEING CRAZY!
AS: Any choice epitaphs, famous last words or something you’d like to be remembered for?
TH: ‘THE EXTEMITY IS THE POINT’… MARQUE DE SADE.
AS: What makes you better than everyone else?
AS: When do you plan to take over the world?
AS: What changes can we expect to notice with this outing?
TH: BIGGER WAISTS, LESS HAIR. APPEAL BECOMING MORE SELECTIVE!!
AS: Are you all agreed/in control of the formats for your releases?
TH: WE DO ALL OF THEM WITH NO FAVOURITES.
AS: Wish you were doing anything else with your time other than music?
TH: NO. WHAT ELSE IS THERE OTHER THAN MUSIC?
AS: Did you have any heroes when you were a teenager?
TH: JOHNNY ROTTEN.
AS: What do you think of the paparazzi?
AS: What are you listening to right now?
TH: ARCADE FIRE ‘FUNERAL’ AND THE WATER BOYS ‘THE PAIN INSIDE’.
AS: Any message to any underachieving or odds facing musician out there?
TH: STICK AT IT AND DON’T LISTEN TO DETRACTORS, DON’T COPY OTHERS AND BE GOOD OR GIVE UP.
AS: Any career highs or lows you care to share?
TH: HEADLINING THE READING FESTIVAL IN 1990 WAS A HIGH AND SELLING INCONTINENCE PADS ON THE PHONE FOR A CATALOGUE COMPANY WAS A LOW.
AS: Do you enjoy playing live or are you more at home in a studio?
TH: LIVE LIVE LIVE.
AS: Your career defining dream moment would be what?
TH: CRACKING AMERICA.
AS: Any upcoming music / bands worth keeping an eye on that are destined for greatness?
TH: THE HEMS, LOWLINE, THE BEATLES.
AS: How important do you feel visuals are in relation to music?
TH: VERY MUCH SO. LOW LIGHTING FOR OLD FOLKS THOUGH, OR YELLOW LIGHT FOR OLD FOLKS, IT’S THE TRADITION!
AS: What was the highlight of your summer?
TH: SHAGGING OUTSIDE.
AS: I’m sure you’ve done a few but, do you know which has been your best ever gig?
TH: BARROWLANDS 1990.
AS: What will this year bring?
AS: Is there more pressure playing live with a band than there is playing solo?
TH: THERE’S NO ONE ELSE TO LET YOU DOWN PLAYING SOLO.
AS: Are you unlucky in love?
TH: TO THE TEN.
AS: Best song, movie or LP ever?
TH: FLAMING LIPS ‘DO YOU REALISE’ IS THE SONG. THE FILM IS THE GRADUATE.
AS: Where did you sleep last night?
TH: IN MY OWN BED THANK YOU!
AS: What’s your secret vice, what are you a sucker for?
TH: FOOD, BUT IT’S NOT THAT SECRET REALLY.
AS: What makes the world go round?
TH: WORK AND PLEASURE.
AS: Where’s the place to be?
AS: What’s your weak point?
AS: What’s your favourite instrument?
AS: What inspired the LP title?
TH: THE LATEST ALBUM I HAVE DONE IS BY TOM HINGLEY AND THE LOVERS AND IT’S CALLED ‘HIGHLIGHTS’. IT GETS RELEASED MARCH 2008. IT’S CALLED ‘HIGHLIGHTS’ BECAUSE IT’S THE END OF THE BAND!
AS: Are you a good dancer?
TH: WITH A GUITAR… YES.
AS: What kinds of music do you dislike the most?
TH: HEAVY FUCKING METAL (MOTORHEAD, ACDC. BLACK SABBOTH, LED ZEP AND THE MAIDEN DON’T COUNT!!).
AS: Where will you retire to when you're tired of comeback concerts?
TH: BANKRUPTCY WITH ARTISTIC CREDIBILITY.
AS: When will the world end?
TH: WHEN I DIE.
AS: Who is the main driving force or do you work as a team?
TH: I DO BOTH; GRAHAM WITH THE INSPIRALS AND ME WITH THE LOVERS.
AS: How important are the charts?
TH: THEY DON’T EXIST NOW DO THEY? NOT SINCE DOWNLOADS AND REALITY TV SHITE WAS ALLOWED IN… NOT FAIR.
AS: What revival would you most like to witness?
TH: GENERAL HUMAN HAPPINESS AND CIVILITY. TALKING HEADS WOULD BE GOOD.
AS: What era would you have been born in ideally?
TH: WHEN I WAS 1965.
AS: Are exercise and diet important?
TH: I SWIM AN HOUR A DAY BUT I EAT BADLY.
AS: If you could save 1 thing in the world, what would it be?
TH: THE STARVING.
AS: Who’s the most gifted person alive today?
TH: MICHAEL STIPE. WE MEET HIM AT GLASTONBURY 2003. WHAT A NICE BLOKE.
AS: Have you got any famous relatives?
TH: MY DAD.
AS: Does complaining accomplish anything?
AS: Have you goy anybody’s autograph?
AS: Which fictional character would you most like to be?
TH: MR MAGOO.
AS: Which rules, the digital age or the vinyl/cassette age?
TH: BOTH AND NEITHER, IT’S ALL THE SAME THING. SENSORY OVERLOAD IS THE NEW ENEMY.
AS: If a musical style was to become extinct, which would go first i.e. jazz, folk…?
TH: JAZZ, IT’S SHITE.
AS: Do you have any unused band names you’d love to use?
AS: Was growing up and becoming who you are today easy?
TH: FUCK OFF! NO.
AS: What’s the biggest myth about stardom?
TH: THAT IT MATTERS.
AS: Have you ever been conned into or out of something?
TH: I’VE HAD A RECORD DEAL SO YES, BOTH.
AS: Do politics have a place in music?
TH: POLITICS HAS A PLACE EVERYWHERE, EVEN IN THE PUB!
AS: Thanks for your time Tom, hope to see you in March when you hit Nottingham Rescue Rooms!