As Inspiral Carpets roll into the North West MALCOLM WYATT talks with lead singer Stephen Holt
It’s a busy life for Stephen Holt, his work for a drug and alcohol support service in Manchester supplemented by roles as lead singer in two acclaimed bands.
As well as Inspiral Carpets, the indie outfit he co-formed in 1983 and rejoined in 2011 after a 22-year absence, he’s back with the band he initially left for, promoting The Rainkings’ new Fiveways EP.
By his own admission, Stephen’s side-project are hardly the most prolific, releasing just two singles first time around, although the Another Time (1989/94) compilation followed in 2013.
Inspired by the response, they stuck together, writing new songs, Stephen and co-founder/guitarist Dave Swift – another ex-Inspiral – rejoining John Rowland (drums, ex-Bodines), Cathy Brooks (bass, ex-Dub Sex) and Chris Hutchison (keyboard/guitar).
The following year ruled out by Stephen’s Inspirals commitments, The Rainkings returned to the studio this February.
The resultant EP is reminiscent of early REM, Sugar and Husker Du and has earned all manner of praise.
Stephen’s back with the Carpets at Manchester Academy’s Gigantic all-dayer this weekend. This follows December’s successful tour promoting their acclaimed self-titled comeback album, including latest single, Let You Down, featuring legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke.
So what’s Stephen’s musical priority?
“The Inspirals is my full-time role, but I love playing with both bands and I’m always brought back to The Rainkings.
The Inspirals is my full-time role, but I love playing with both bands and I’m always brought back to The Rainkings
“I formed both with best mates, and Swifty and I grew up together. With The Rain-kings I don’t think we ever really proved ourselves, so I suppose I’m still trying to show people we deserve credit.
“We are not the most productive band, output-wise, but might do a couple of gigs later this year
“Swifty is prolific though. We could probably do 10 albums of his songs.”
What kind of set can we expect from the Inspirals this weekend?
“Gigantic want a greatest hits set, although we’ll do a few tracks from the new album and will drag out a couple of surprises we’ve not played for a while.”
Tickets for Manchester Academy’s Gigantic all-dayer (1.30-11.30pm, Saturday, May 23) are £29 (advance) via 0161 832 1111 or www.manchesteracademy.net.
For more about The Rainkings, check out their Facebook (The Official Rainkings) and Twitter (@TheRainkings) pages.