Clint Boon Q and A

"One of the things in my life that I’m the most proud about is the little part me and the Inspirals played in the story of Noel and Oasis."

 

Clint, as the drivetime presenter on XFM ~ and a very big music fan ~ it must be brilliant playing load of great tunes on the radio for a living, but do you find it difficult when there are tunes that you aren't so keen on?

I do love the kind of music XFM celebrates which is why I came to work for them 4 years ago. It's true to say that occasionally we'll play a tune I'm not mad on but the drive time show is all about me (and XFM) providing a cool soundtrack for people as they drive home, do their homework, make the tea etc. A lot of those people are really into bands like Green Day or The Kooks and that’s why we play them. I personally wouldn't go out and buy Green Day's Greatest Hits but would be quite excited if any of my kids asked me to get it for them. Music which doesn’t excite me still inspires other people. The show I’m doing at the moment isn’t about my taste or knowledge of music. It’s about havin’ the crack at teatime!

 

You've interviewed, and met, numerous bands/artists over the years ~ any particular people who've stood out?

Richard Ashcroft, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller ~ each the perfect balance of iconic rock star and quality human being. Tom Clarke (the Enemy) is a true 'man of the people' if ever there was one. Luke Steele (Sleepy Jackson / Empire of the Sun) is loopy, but fookin’ brilliant. Florence Welch, Flea, Johnny Marr, Howard DeVoto.... What an amazing 4 years I've had!

 

What were some of the highlights of being in the Inspiral Carpets?

Headlining the Reading Festival and selling out GMex (11,000 people) in 1990; becoming friends with John Peel; and meeting Iggy Pop. As a teenager, one of my dreams was to make a record. I ended up making quite a few. My time with the Inspirals is an experience I value eternally and would never trade.

 

Did you experience much rivalry amongst the bands around the ‘Madchester’ era?

I can honestly say I never experienced any rivalry from the other bands, just a wonderful amount of support and encouragement. Manchester is like that. Even now, it's the most supportive city, especially the music community.

Back in the day, we would often get faxes (who remembers faxes?) from Shaun Ryder congratulating us on our latest single.

There is much to be proud of in Manchester's music heritage, but do you think there's a danger in looking backward & not forward at the moment?

It's essential to have the right balance of celebrating our heritage, being prolific now and building the foundation for tomorrow's Manchester. It happens in the world of football, it happens in every family, why should it not apply to music?

 

What do you think of the new Factory venue/club?

So far, so good. I’m happy it’s there. For those of us still sore over the demolition of the Hacienda, it’s a bit of nostalgia. For those of us who get excited about another venue for the upcoming bands to play, it’s perfect. For those of us who are grateful for another 3 rooms to play our records in ~ brilliant! And it’ll give every other club in Manchester a gentle kick up the arse. Clubs are now changing the way they work because of Fac 251’s arrival. FacT !

 

Have you seen the Fuc51 website?

I’ve seen it once. Fair do’s, as they say. I personally don’t subscribe to that kind of negativity but it’s important that the disillusioned have a voice. It’s really important that people occasionally remind themselves that this is all only about music. No-one is more passionate about music than me. But, at the end of the day… it’s just music. If you don’t like the record, don’t buy it. If you don’t like the club, don’t go to it. There have been far greater crimes against humanity than Fac 251.

 

Famously, Noel Gallagher was once the Inspiral Carpets roadie. Did you spot/recognise his talents as a musician/songwriter at the time?

Noel was a fan of the band who auditioned to be our singer after Stephen Holt left in 1987. So yes, we knew he could sing and write songs. We took him on immediately as a full time roadie/assistant. Tom Hingley got the singing job. Throughout our time together, Noel was writing, playing his guitar, recording stuff. He made no secret of the fact that he wanted to do his own thing eventually. And, f**k me… has he done!! One of the things in my life that I’m the most proud about is the little part me and the Inspirals played in the story of Noel and Oasis.

 

You played the farfisa organ in the Inspiral Carpets ~ a fairly unusual instrument ~ what made you take this up? Or did you begin with guitar/piano...?

I never studied music at school or learned to play an instrument though I was totally obsessed with pop music and rock n roll. I never even wanted to be a keyboard player. After the Punk explosion, I started collecting music related junk… tape recorders, microphones, guitars, keyboards… with the intention of making some music at home. I found the Farfisa in the small ads at the back of the Melody Maker (or maybe Sounds) in 1984. When I met the Inspirals a few months later, it seemed to be the perfect instrument to compliment what they were doing. Mid 80’s Oldham punk band + mid 60’s electronic organ + some bowlhead haircuts = BEST UK GARAGE BAND EVER !

 

Any other exponents of the farfisa or hammond organs that inspired you as a young musician.

The Doors, The Seeds, The Animals, The Fall, Blue Orchids, Marc Riley & The Creepers, The Prisoners, James Taylor Quartet...all blew me away.

 

You've written theme tunes for various TV shows. How did all of that come about?

The Inspirals took an amicable and indefinite break in 1995 (we eventually reformed in 2003). Soon after the split, I was getting asked by Granada TV to do themes for them. I think I did 15 shows for them in one year. After that, I got distracted with writing my own music for The Clint Boon Experience. The last theme tune I did was for the kids TV show Engie Benjy which is still very successful.

 

What's your all time favourite TV or film theme tune?

Joe 90, Dr Who, Fireball XL5 … (can you tell I was raised on science fiction?)

 

What's the best live act that you've ever witnessed & where?

I always think back to a gig I saw at the Boardwalk in the early 90’s. World Domination Enterprises, a London 3 piece, as the most memorable live event I saw. It was like watching a bunch of guys playing a set knowing they were about to die. It was f**kin breathtaking. Recently, I was knocked out by Exit Calm at Moho Live. Along the way, I’ve witnessed magical gigs by Dr Feelgood, The Clash, The Ramones, The Fall, Joy Division, Buzzcocks, Nirvana’s first Reading gig. And the Mondays, every time I saw the Happy Mondays play. I immediately wanted to knock it on the head with the Inspirals.

I couldn’t imagine we could ever create what they did. It would take me days to recover my enthusiasm. Funny, innit?

What's your favourite bar in Manchester?

I’ve still got a soft spot for Dukes 92. TV21’s got a great vibe too. Generally, places I can go on a Saturday afternoon with my little ’uns without being told to leave.

 

Wine, spirits or beer?

When DJing it’s lager. When relaxing at home ~ red wine. I will drink any alcohol though. It’s a great thing ~ in moderation!

 

We know you drink your tea 'white, no sugar' but what do you spread on your toast (aside from butter)?

In the morning, I’m a jam man. Afternoon’s or evenings…humous or taramasalata.

 

What would your 'last supper' meal?

The dirtiest, biggest, stinkiest, donner kebab in Manchester. Or a nice authentic Mexican.

 

You have a beer named after you (Boon Army Ale) ~ any more products lined up in the future?

No more plans for new ‘lines’ yet, we’ll just keep having fun with Mrs Boon’s Cakes, the Boon Army MINI, Boon Army Ale…there are always so many things on the ‘back burner’ in my life, it’s impossible to know which ones will be in the public eye next. I’m always ‘inventing’ things. My wife takes the piss out of most of them but some are beauts!

 

You're a very busy person ~ aside from XFM, you DJ every Saturday night in South nightclub ('disco rescue') ~ do you have time for any non-music related 'hobbies'?

No. Outside of music, it’s family life all the way. No football, no motorbikes (I used to be a biker), no newspapers, no gym, no “just nipping down to the pub with the lads!” … just raising kids. I actually enjoy DIY but would never call it a hobby.

 

When will Mrs Boon's tea parties start up again?

When our new baby is settled in and Charlie gets her strength back. It’s quite a task, getting the Tea Party together. I’m hoping 3 or 4 months but … Mrs Boon is most definitely the boss.

 

Plans for the future?

I need to try and stop having babies, this will be my 5th. I do intend to make some more music soon. I will be starting a new band at some point too. I’d like to think I can maintain a presence on the radio for years to come but, like many other industries, the world of radio is constantly changing. As long as I’m around music and my kids, I’m happy.

 

By Alison Bell

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