Craig Gill, drummer of Manchester band Inspiral Carpets, who enjoyed success in the ’90s with hits such as ‘This Is How It Feels’ and ‘Dragging Me Down’, has sadly died at the age of 44. He was a damn talented musician, no doubt, but Craig will also be remembered for another reason: his cult Manchester Music Tours, which saw him take fans around the city to explore its musical heritage.
The various tours offered either an overview of the city’s cultural past, or focused on specific bands. They took in locations such as Salford Lads’ Club (where The Smiths famously posed for the artwork of ‘The Queen Is Dead’), Strawberry Studios (where Joy Division recorded ‘Unknown Pleasures’) and, of course, pretty much anywhere Oasis ever smoked a cigarette. Benefiting from Craig’s passion and knowledge, the trips were an essential jaunt for any self-respecting music fan on a nostalgic tip in Manchester.
Craig launched the tours in 2005, offering fans the chance to “walk in [famous musicians’] footsteps and hear first hand how Manchester has produced more popstars Per capita of population than any other city in the world”. Noel Gallagher was chuffed with the hat-tip, and in 2009 suggested that fans should check out “the tour that goes around Manchester to all the significant sites in Oasis’ history”. Liam later added: “The wheels on the bus go round and round.”
The e-zine Popbtich today fondly recalled a joke Craig liked to tell on the tour: “What does Morrissey like in his sandwiches? I don’t know, but Marr might!” Yet they weren’t the only ones to have enjoyed the Manchester music tours: fans took to Twitter to acknowledge the joy Craig brought them by pootling around the most legendary spots in the capital of the North.
— hackney tours (@hackneytours) November 22, 2016
Taking his music tour is one of my first memories of living in Manchester. RIP. https://t.co/Cp5927LRwE
— Sammy Nadin ? (@SammyNadin) November 22, 2016
So shocked, met him last month as went on his music tour of Manchester. He was really lovely 🙁 xx
— Nina Jarman (@purplebeana) November 22, 2016
— La Carmina ?? lacarmina.com (@lacarmina) November 22, 2016
Sad to hear Inspiral Carpets drummer & Manchester Music Tour man Craig Gill has passed away. Keep The Circle Around https://t.co/MhA8hEAp8m
— Stuart Huggett (@dizzytigerstu) November 22, 2016