In January 2011 Mike Jolly went to watch Andie Mills of Monmon play at the George. In a parallel universe Katie Jane Hill and Rich Higgins checked out a Moose Wrench gig at the Brudenell Social Club. After the bars at the Brudenell and George had called time, there was only one place to go – The Chemic Tavern in Woodhouse, and here the worlds collided and the idea for the Leeds Music History Project was born. Stumbling up the hill from the Brudenell, Rich said to Katie “If I won the lottery, I’d put on a festival of all my favourite Leeds bands…” and Katie, being foolhardy and optimistic replied that you don’t need to win the lottery to do that, let’s just do it. The conversation continued and once at the Chemic, who should join us but the legendary (and award winning) Mike Jolly of Cloth Cat fame. Mike had a bee in his bonnet about Leeds not being as well known as Manchester, Sheffield or Liverpool for it’s music even though he knew for certain it had just as much to offer. Mike had with him a copy of Plastic Paddy, the first novel by Andie Mills, who co-incidentally also had also written a proposal for postgrad research on the history of popular music in Leeds, and was subsequently tricked into joining the project. We seem to have captured the imagination of fellow Leeds music fans and many people have joined us along the way, but this is our project and we thank you all for helping us to make it happen.
Mike Jolly is Co-ordinator of Cloth Cat Leeds, a not for profit organisation that brings music training to people in inner city Leeds. He has been going to gigs, playing in gigs, putting on gigs and training other people to do all of that his whole life and is passionate about the Leeds music scene. He set up The Leeds Music History Society on Facebook a couple of years ago and has been instrumental in bringing together all of the artefacts for the exhibition. His band, Slideshow, feature in the disco corner of the exhibition, alongside Sisters of Mercy. We’re not sure if Slideshow had anything to do with goth or disco, but we had to put it somewhere.
Katie Jane Hill is a design researcher, lecturer and musician who has been hanging around the art school and music scene in Leeds since the late 90s. After spending many years listening to tales (in the Fenton) of the old art school bands such as Gang of Four and The Mekons through to Soft Cell and Kaiser Chiefs, she decided it was time to do something to bring all of these stories together in one place. Katie has been organising and promoting the exhibition and is the only member of the organising committee not to have her work or band on display.
Rich Higgins is a researcher and writer who looks after the ITV archive and specialises in music video. He’s been going to gigs in Leeds since he was a young lad, and his knowledge (and record collection) are the backbone of this exhibition. He famously interviewed Age of Chance in 1987 and his review (and mullet) have pride of place in the exhibition.
Andie Mills is a musician and writer who came to Leeds in response to an ad in Melody Maker to join Salvation. His current band is Monmon and he recently self-published his first novel. He earns his living (just about) through technical theatre and has been sorting out the practical stuff, like hanging up pictures and pressing play on the DVD player. He’s also featured in at least three of the bands on display although you will struggle to recognise him because in true shoegazer style he always has his hair covering his face.