VIDEO: First gigs for Inspiral Carpets since tragic death of drummer

It’s bound to be emotional as Inspiral Carpets return to the road for the first time since the tragic passing of the band’s drummer Craig Gill in 2016.
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But it’s proving absolutely the right decision and the right timing, both for the band and for the fans. Guitarist Graham Lambert is confident that by the time they complete the tour, each of the gigs will have been a sell-out. Along the way they play Brighton Concorde 2 on Sunday, March 26.

“We have kept in touch and we do have an angle on where we should be and how big we are as a band,” says Graham, “and so we've been able to pitch the tour at a level where we shouldn't be underselling ourselves but certainly not overselling ourselves either. The advice we have had has been excellent, and it has worked really well from the sales point of view and from the response from the fans.”

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There was certainly a band called Inspiral Carpets 40 years ago back in 1983, but that's not really when the band dates from, as far as Graham is concerned: “We messed about for three years doing other things like football and disco and just going out. It didn't really become a priority until I met Stephen, the current singer and that was 1986. And then we turned professional in 1989 so really like lots of bands there are lots of anniversaries that you could choose. But they have certainly been big gaps over the years. You just keep progressing and you just keep making music when you can.”

Inspiral Carpets - GrahamInspiral Carpets - Graham
Inspiral Carpets - Graham

And they are coming off the back of a big gap now, seven years since the death of Craig, eight years since they last toured: “There's been quite a lot of soul searching for us in that time, just thinking did we want to do it again and we just didn't feel it was the right thing to do for a number of years.”

Craig had been such a key part of the band – ever since he was recruited as a 14-year-old in 1986: “We were getting offers to come back and do a show within a couple of years and for a long time we just didn't fancy going through that process of getting new members but after a time you just feel it's time to move forward and, as I say, the reaction has been fantastic.”

And it is great to have that heritage: “Sometimes it is a shock when you think that you've been around doing this for 40 odd years and it makes you feel old but we were rehearsing last night and I realised that some of the songs were 35 years old and that is lovely. They don't mean exactly the same to us as they did all those years ago because you change as you get older. You move on. You have different experiences and time passes. But it feels the right decision to come back now. I don't wish that we had done it earlier. It took a while to think about it plus the fact we were doing other things in that time but it definitely feels the right thing for us now.”

Hitting the road between March and April, the 13-date run will feature shows across the UK, including stops in Glasgow, Nottingham, London and a homecoming show at Manchester’s Albert Hall, April 1.