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Saturday, 12 October 2013

TICP: OPINIONS #2 - Stephen Holt

Over 30 years ago a young lad set out to become the lead singer of a rock band, founding Inspiral Carpets and The Rainkings in the process, Stephen Holt has had an illustrious career in the music business. The Manchester legend answered a few questions for The Indie Cassette Player this week:

Is The Rainkings' name a reference to Manchester being the city that always rains?

Ha Ha, no, the name was taken from one of my favourite books ‘Henderson the Rain King’ by Saul Bellow. There’s also a link to Sonic Youth’s ‘Rain King’ as they were one of our favourite bands at the time and a huge influence on us. 

How did fans of Inspiral Carpets react to your new band when you first formed the band?

I’d say not very well really and that affected our overall lack of success then and still now. I think the way it was portrayed that I had left the band and then formed The Rainkings made people take sides and the Inspirals had and still have a really loyal following.

There was never any real animosity between me and the rest of the Inspirals, it just wasn’t right for me at the time and I should have just taken a break rather than leave if possible. But, as the band was really on the rise I don’t think this would have been possible.

I know they were disappointed by my decision though and felt that I really let them down. I’m trying to make up for this now though and feel really privileged to have been given a second chance.

What's the biggest difference between being in The Rainkings and Inspiral Carpets, if there is any? 

I had been with the Inspirals for about 4/5 years when I left and we had sort of grown up together. I was really close to Graham and we used to play football, cricket and go to gigs etc. all the time. So, even though I still had Swifty with me, who was a longtime close friend, it was really strange getting to know 2 new members and getting used to new ways of writing songs, rehearsing etc. 

One thing I loved about The Rainkings though was getting our autonomy back, it was our band and we made all the decisions. We used to have that in the early days with the Inspirals but as you get bigger more things get taken over by agents, managers etc. etc.

I suppose the other difference about being in the Rainkings was that I returned to being a ‘nobody’ again, which I quite liked as I’m not a natural for being in the spotlight. Even though it was fairly small time I used to get recognised quite a lot as well as being given free records and clothes etc. Some of this was quite nice but not always. Being in the Rainkings and leaving the Inspirals though, this stopped overnight!  

Noel Gallagher talks fondly of being a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets - what were you doing before you knew you wanted to be in a band?

I think I was in nappies before wanting to be in a band. I was brought up around music, singing and always saw myself in a band of some description.

The X-Factor continues to fill the UK charts - should we be worried?


I've been to quite a lot of venues in Manchester, and I always find the smaller venues to be the best. What's it like from a bands' perspective?

I think Manchester venues are on the rise again, especially the smaller ones which is great for new, upcoming bands. When we started off with the Inspirals we were quite lucky as there were a number of smaller venues like The Boardwalk, The Venue, Pierots etc. where you could always get a gig. This seemed to stop for a whle and it’s great to see a lot of new/smaller venues popping up again and giving upcoming bands a chance.

Last but not least, United or City? (or an entirely different team?)

City til I Die! X

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