Amazing rediscovery of Harrogate's ‘lost’ rock band after 30 years

One of Harrogate’s best-known rock singers has been shocked to see one of his earliest bands suddenly appear in the spotlight again - 30 years after they split up.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 1st July 2022, 4:53 pm

Paul Kettley, who still attracts big owds with pop and rock covers band MFOR in Harrogate’s live music scene, told the Harrogate Advertiser he was excited that great lost Harrogate heavy metal band Noussommes have finally been rediscovered.

Incredibly, they are also going to have an album released for the first time - and it's all happened almost purely by accident.

Flashback - Noussommes, the great ‘lost’ Harrogate band pictured in 1990.

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    “After all these years we were approached by a Dutch indie label who had stumbled onto a cassette demo tape of ours,” said Paul Kettley.

    “It seems they loved it, and they asked to release Noussommes music.

    "After three decades, that's unbelievable!"

    Another great Harrogate band that got away in the town’s musical history, that first line-up of Noussommes featured Kettley on powerful lead vocals plus guitarists Nick Dunne and Grant Kirkhope, bassist Gareth McKenzie and drummer Brian Wilson.

    Released worldwide on June 18, the ‘debut’ album by Noussommes includes nine songs recorded by the long haired, black- leather clad hard rocking band between 1989 and 1992.

    After forming in 1986 as a four-piece, with the addition of Grant Kirkhope in the summer of 1987, Noussommes headed in a heavier direction, though still with an accessible sound.

    The band soon gained a strong following locally and started picking up radio airplay. Before they knew it, they had been invited to open up for Ozzy Osbourne on his No More Tears UK tour, playing in front of capacity crowds.

    After making their first recordings with producer Stephen Harris, who had been working with Little Angels, the band were able to headline their own national tours by 1990.

    Such was their influence at that point on the entire Harrogate live music scene, Nousommes even influenced a then young band that would eventually outstrip them in terms of national impact - Acid Reign.

    One of the UK's legendary pioneers of thrash metal, Acid Reign met as teenagers at Harrogate High School in the 1980s and went on to achieve worldwide fame.

    Lead singer Howard 'H' Smith said "Our first-ever gig was at the old Lounge Hall in Harrogate supporting Nousommes, one of Paul Kettley's early bands.

    "We were a pure Harrogate band but the whole time we were in the top ten heavy metal charts we were Harrogate's dirty little secret.

    But, let's return to the story of Nousommes all those years ago...

    After receiving a five-star review in Kerrang magazine, the band were even asked to record a session for BBC Radio One’s Friday Rock Show, a major coup for a band without a recording contract.

    But they never did release an album, despite recording at Slaughterhouse Studios in Driffield, KGS studios in Wakefield and Chrysalis Studios in London.

    As happens in the story of many rock bands, musical fashion changed, as did the band’s line-up as one member after another was tempted by greener grass elsewhere.

    Bassist Gareth had a falling out with life on the road.

    The band’s second drummer Michael Lee was lured to The Cult.

    And Grant Kirkhope went on to pursue a very successful career in music soundtracks for video games, gradually becoming one of the best in the world, even winning a prestigious BAFTA award.

    But, now, all these years later, there finally is an album by Noussommes.

    The album is available on LP or CD via www.dustrecords.com. For more info, visit www.noussommes.info