Neighbourhood Weekender returns in 2023, taking place on 27th & 28th May bank holiday weekend. The festival will host one of the biggest comebacks of the year in the shape of the Inspiral Carpets, who will be playing their first live shows since 2015. They will perform on the Saturday alongside Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, The Kooks, The Wombats and more.
We spoke to Clint Boon, the keyboard player in the band and DJ at XS Manchester, clubs and festivals around the UK. We discuss the Inspirals reunion, what to expect from the tour and their slot at Neighbourhood Weekender. We also talk Oasis, new music tips and plenty more. You can listen to the full interview on Spotify and Apple, where you can hear additional questions, answers, and anecdotes!
NC: Let’s start with the big Inspiral Carpets reunion news. Why now?
Clint: “It just felt right. For years, we’ve not wanted to do anything. Since Craig passed away we’ve not been interested in writing or recording. As a band, we’ve still been a business. We did two Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties recently which were great, and there’s always Inspirals stuff going on in terms of compilation albums and stuff like that. In terms of gigging though, I thought it was all over, there just wasn’t the desire to do it without Craig, but in July this year we got one particular offer for a November 2023 tour and we felt ready for it. It gave me enough time to clear the diary and learn to play keyboard again (I’ve not played since 2015). I think I needed something else to focus on rather than playing other people’s records, I can get back to celebrating the records I made with my friends. It will be emotional without Craig but it’s time to get the machine back out. It’s like having a vintage car in the garage you’ve not used for a few years!”
NC: What can people expect from the tour, is it going to be a celebration of the band’s back catalogue or is new music on the horizon?
Clint: “It’s absolutely a celebration. It’s not about new music or money, we just want to celebrate what we created and Craig’s work. He was the only drummer the band ever had, he was with us for 30 years. Kev Clark will step in on the drums, he’s a great drummer, but Craig will be with us through every beat. Our loyal fanbase has been waiting for this and it’s about time we got back out there.”
NC: For anyone unsure about the reunion or the tour, what would you say to convince them to come along next year?
Clint: “I’d say you’re going to get some of our most high energy music, the stuff we were famous for in the beginning. All the hits will be in there but nothing new this time, just the crowd favourites. For a bunch of blokes our age, the energy, enthusiasm and passion still feels like 1988 in a way. It’s 34 years but right through my life I’m reminded about the band and our journey every day. It’s still fresh in my memory and the excitement about getting the keyboards out again is just the same as it was back then. Out of everything we ever achieved, Inspiral Carpets is the thing I’m most known for. This might be the last time around so let’s give it one last shot!”
NC: You’re playing Neighbourhood Weekender next year, what are your thoughts on the festival?
Clint: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m guessing it will be a younger audience, the front row might be a lot of kids who’ve never seen us before and are in their first year or two of watching live music. Hopefully they’ll think that although we look seasoned, these fellas can do it. That’s the good thing about rock ‘n’ roll, as The Rolling Stones have got older and older, we’ve all been allowed to get older in this trade. It’s okay to be getting on a bit in this industry nowadays, it never used to be. We can’t wait to get to Neighbourhood and make people dance, it’s like the world is finally back on its feet after the last couple of years.”
NC: Have you had much experience playing in Warrington before?
Clint: “I’ve always had a great relationship with Warrington. We’ve played Parr Hall a few times in the past and golden square, it’s always been special. I remember one year I had to play the first half of the set really quietly because it’s next to a church and there was a service on, but as soon as that had finished it was straight into ‘I Am The Resurrection’! I’m looking forward to getting back. Neighbourhood is a modern contemporary festival, whereas a lot of the other festivals we’ll be doing are more for heritage acts. This one feels like a Parklife for people who like cool music.”
NC: Can we expect to see another post-Neighbourhood DJ set in the town after your Friars Court appearance a few years back?
Clint: “I’ll continue my DJ work, I’ve got bookings until 2024, but I’ll probably back off on it slightly. I want to relish the vibe when we’re out on tour rather than rushing off to another DJ gig. I want to chill on the back lounge of the tour bus reminiscing about the band and sharing stories about Craig. So I’ll spend a lot more time with the band, but we’ve got Deaf Institute lined up for an afterparty on the tour. With Friars Court, I’ve had some great times in there over the years. Whether I’ll be doing it this year after Neighbourhood Weekender or not, we’ll have to wait and see.”
NC: Where are you most looking forward to playing on the Inspirals tour?
Clint: “I’m looking forward to getting on any stage in the next year or two, but Glasgow is always a stand-out. It’s like a second home for Manchester bands and there’s always 100% love in the room. London is always epic because it’s nice to catch up with a few industry friends that are knocking about. Our first gig on the tour is Northampton and if that was this weekend then I’d be like ‘bring it on, I’m ready for it’. Cheese & Grain is a nice idyllic place to end the tour too so that should be good. When we had the first rehearsal with the new members we just worked on 10 songs, and they felt gig ready after one night practicing. It’s a new chapter and I’m really excited for it, I’m already celebrating. The natural process is that at some point we’ll start making some new music so it’s got potential to go beyond this tour. We were recording new tracks back in 2015 so it might be nice to finish those in memory of Craig.”
NC: Can we expect to still hear you on XS Manchester despite the Inspiral Carpets reunion?
Clint: “I’m doing XS Manchester Drive Time through the week. The music policy is great and it’s thriving as a Manchester music station, so I intend to carry on. I’m just taking things as they come, I don’t really have a long term vision. I’ve been frustrated that I’ve not been doing many creative projects in recent years, so Inspiral Carpets and Mrs Boon’s Tea Parties will be ticking that box now. Up until July of this year, I was thinking I need to get back on track. And this is it, life feels a lot better already.”
NC: As a radio DJ playing a lot of new bands and artists, who would you recommend people listen to?
Clint: “There’s a band from St Helens called Chicken Man and the Bad Eggs, they’re just knockout. I love The Lathums and where they’re going is more than just an ordinary indie band. The Lottery Winners from Leigh, they’re a phenomenal band and I think they’ll have a worldwide hit at some point. There is also a new band called The Solution, a three piece post punk band from Manchester with the best frontman I’ve seen in years. New artists like The Snuts are amazing, and Sam Fender is a British Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen in the making. The stuff he’s writing, he’s going to go down as one of the greatest British singer songwriters in history.”
NC: I have to ask about the story of Noel Gallagher working with Inspiral Carpets before Oasis, how did that come about?
Clint: “Noel was a fan of the band in 1987/88, and he came forward to audition as our singer when our frontman left. We knew he was a good songwriter but we didn’t think his voice suited our band, as Steve had a big voice. Noel could sing but it just didn’t fit our style. We hired him and took him around the world on tour with us. He wasn’t just a roadie he was with us for everything. In our case, he really was the sixth member of the band for four years. That’s how he learnt a lot about the industry and the inner workings of a band, and he still give us a lot of credit for that. I’m still in touch with both the Gallaghers. I’ve seen more of Liam recently but I get on with them both equally.”
NC: Do you think they’ll ever reunite?
Clint: “As an Oasis fan I was gutted when they split up. I hope one day they will reunite, I’ve got a feeling it probably will happen. There’s no deep divisions between them, it’s just sibling problems gone a bit too far in the public eye. I think they’ll make up at some point, especially while Peggy’s still alive. It would be lovely for their mum to see them back in the same room so fingers crossed it will happen!”
You can get tickets for the Inspiral Carpets tour here – https://www.inspiralcarpets.com/
You can tickets for Neighbourhood Weekender here – https://nbhdweekender.com/buy-tickets/
For additional interview questions, answers, and anecdotes from Clint Boon, including more on Noel, Liam, and Oasis, you can listen on Spotify and Apple.
Follow us on our socials:
“If you could go out for a drink with any three musicians, past or present, who would you choose and why?” – That’s what we ask our guests on the Fantasy Pints Podcast! Season 2 is underway now, with the latest episode below. You can check out all episodes on Spotify, Apple and YouTube, including interviews with DMA’s, The Wombats, Jamie Webster, Phoenix Nights’ psychic Clinton Baptiste, impressionist Scheiffer Bates and plenty more!