Mel of



1. Of course the opening question shall be obvious and so tell us about Leather Zoo and the history so far?

We formed in 2004 and have had over 15 drummers since then. Actually we stopped counting about a year ago! We were signed to a small label called DMMG in 2007 who paid for our 5 Track EP but they went bust and we were lucky to inherit back our recordings. We have had some great exposure and some still to come. Two tracks ‘Stranger’ and ‘Belliss Coldwine’ will feature on a Pillay-Evans film, ‘Tattoos: A Scarred History’ which had its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2009 and will be on release in April this year. It's a pretty hard core look at famous folks and tattoos. The new Harry Sparks film 'Rotkäppchen: The Blood Of Red Riding Hood' has also included 'Stranger' in the film and on the soundtrack and was released in September 2009.

2. Tell us about a few of your favourite Leather Zoo songs and what they entail. Also add where you find the influences for each song and who does most of the writing?

Biff writes the songs, with a little help from me, then we all get together and thrash them out.  I personally like ‘Fleur’ as it is a passionate song with a strong message. When I was learning this song, I really welled up inside, hard to explain but that is what happened.  We have a few songs that should not to be taken too seriously like ‘Kit Kat’, it is a fun song very short, but  Biff plays this great melody which really makes me want to dance. We also do our version of the weebles Badger song which is also great fun. I am not influenced by anyone or any style of music really, I just do what feels right but then I am only the singer!

3. What is your local scene like and who are the faces and bands to note?

We are from Sheffield and due to recent success stories and a bit of Hype about the 'Buzz' in the Steel City, there are many, many copy cat bands that form and hope to get famous. There are many trend followers and very few trend setters. But having said that there is a lot of good live music in Sheffield. All my own favourite local bands have split up now... Sukmonkey, All Except and S.W.A.N. Still going after 95 years are 'The Rogues' though and I always love to see them. They are the only band that I have seen playing and women get their boobs out!!

4. Leather Zoo hey - very sinister. Dean Diggle of Slit Records infamy once opened a cardboard cut-out zoo but the first downpour made all his animals go soggy and so he turned to seashell porn to relieve his frustrations. Personally I can't blame him as one a two of those starfish are darn cute. However I digress and the question is a two parter - a) Would you grow barnacles on your buttocks so as to save them from the desires of Slit Boy Diggle and b) Would a stitched leather elephant be a good way to gain employment with the benefit fraud office? Elaborate answers please!

a) Sounds to me like Slit Boy Diggle would be more of a pest if I did have barnacled buttocks. No I would ask him to dinner and feed him Clam Chowder, Prawn Cocktail and then give him Crabs!!  That should relieve his frustrations!
b) A leather elephant?  No probably not. It would be more likely if you were to stitch a mate up for false claims.

5. How are the gigs going at present and how do the crowds take to your chosen style.

At present we are having a time out from gigs and we are writing new songs. Good job as we have never had so many gigs cancelled as in the last 6 months. Venues and promoters are struggling. We were gutted to hear that our tour with Eddie and the Hot Rods was cancelled for March this year. Crowds in the UK are not as receptive to us as they are in Europe.  The UK is very much a 'spoon fed' music consumer. People like what's trendy and in fashion. Which we aren't. But across the waters more folks are open minded and will decide for themselves what they should like to listen to or watch.

Best gig ever is the Rocktreff in Berlin at the Folkspark Football Stadium where we played to over 15000 folks and had a queue of them waiting for signed stuff afterwards. But then my favourite fun gig ever was outside the Hauptquartier in the streets  of Aachen Germany. It was an officially licensed protest gig as the really cool owner, Dieter, had his live music license revoked. Around 30 police turned up and their main role was to protect us!!! After the gig they took me to the local gay bar. They were really cool coppers. Worst gig…don't have’s always fun. But we did have a disaster at the 'Nice n Sleazy” festival last year. Biff's super expensive amp broke and we sounded crap.

6. Best and worst gigs to date and also best and worst CD's in your personal collection please!

Best personal CD is always changing but the best track I have on my ipod is the worst track but it’s so bad it's good!  We had some friends, a fantastic band called Maze over from Holland and we had got them a few gigs. At the Black Market Venue in Warsop they were supported by a cover band that gave them a CD and on there is their take of ‘Poker Face’. We all played it over and over afterwards as it really is a gem! I will grace you with it sometime.

7. Gentle Jipwap the creator of the Cornetto complex has, and I quote' recently had visions of armies of rectal lice eating selected bishops in order to quell the worldly sensations of corner lust. Now then can you decipher these rantings and in some way wangle in to your answer the word cuttlefish!

Gentle Jipwap was not, in fact, the creator of the Cornetto complex. He was the designer. The selected bishops that created it were exploited heavily and cruelly to the point where they were not eaten by rectal lice as in Jipwap's somewhat perverted visions but actually started to eat each other. Jipwap was advised by a top Cornetto nutritional consultant going by the name of Diggle that high protein shellfish was the best treatment available to cure the Bishops of their savage cannibalistic habits and the most abundant local source of this was cuttlefish! It’s not common knowledge that the cuttlefish has an internal shell and recent studies indicate that cuttlefish are among the most intelligent invertebrates.

8. What are your views on the music scene in general and also at the level you are cureently working at. Good, bad, right, shite - go on vent your spleen!

Well maybe it best to mention firstly that we are on a mission only to enjoy ourselves and have a good time. We are not so ambitious like many bands. If we can go on tour and it doesn't cost us anything then we are pretty happy with that. Things have been a bit difficult over last year but we still did pretty good. In the UK it is pretty grim though. It’s like in Europe venues tend to put on fewer gigs and don’t bother so much with the pay to play and bring all your mates to watch! So they get better crowds because they learn to trust the venue or promoter. Which means they can look after bands more. There are only a few venues we knowlike ‘The Appleby’ in Burton U Trent that tend to do this in the UK.  In a more general sense yes the commercial scene is toss!! I am not in touch with it though so I shouldn't comment.

9. Describe thy fellow band member is 5 slanderous words apiece on of which must relate to a flavour of pop!

Biff: A secret lemonade shandy drinker
JK: lives on Vodka and Coke
Jamie: A slightly queer ginger beer

Only thing is that one of these is not slanderous at all!! 

10. Travis McTucky religiously goes around his mums every Sunday for a slap up roast and 8 bottles of Edwin Pisspots home-made sherry. When hammered they swap clothes and hit each other over the head with doors. I doubted this tale but recently had a conversation with whom I thought was Travis at a gig. The lump on the forehead displayed all the signs of door abuse and imagine my shock when later in the evening the bald mohawk wig was ripped off and it turned out to be Travis' mum all the time. Now then the question - should Mr T McTucky seek help for family transvestism and would you live a life as a sherry bottle so as to progress the careers of all in Leather Zoo.

I think if Mr Travis has been going round to his mums religiously every Sunday for such a feast, and getting hit over the head with a door so frequently my guess is the sherry is a good one and she is a damn good cook, in which case what’s a bit of head banging between relatives?  So no I do not think he should seek help for transvestism. One of our many drummers was a transvestite and I thought it would be fun but it wasn't. He just put a skirt on no wig or make up etc.  he looked a bit sad really. Sherry not being my fave I would not live the life of a sherry bottle but maybe my band might.

11. You are promoter for a day and have a 10 band special to organise. Who is on it, where is it at and who would be barred from entering?

Billy Bragg, The Pogues, Flogging Molly, Violet Femmes, Gogol Bordello, Lenigrad Cowboys, Terrorvision, The Wildhearts, Cowboy Junkies, Mad Marge and the Stonecutters, The Ramones

I know it sounds boring but I wouldn't bar any one … unless it was indoors and they were wearing sunglasses.

12. Finally - push your bands cause and get some notice to the way of Leather Zoo. Contacts, merch, gigs etc - this is your moment!

Everything is online at or If you want to book us contact Rock Artist Management at We have a forum with lots of touring stories including a toilets on tour section which is a popular favourite.

Watch out for the Pillay Evans film coming out in April called 'Tattoos: A Scarred History'.  There is a trailer out now on youtube.