Welcome all to a new regular segment on A La Une: Quarry Lore! In this section of the blog we will be going through the history of this great music venue in an attempt to discover its origins. We will be looking back on how it came to be and how it has survived and suffered through various historical landmarks. Looking back, it’s crazy to think just how long Quarry has been a Liverpool institution. We’re currently not even sure quite how far back it dates. As the weeks go on and we discover more about this venue, we’re sure we’re going to uncover lots more cool stuff about Quarry!
For this first instalment we thought it would be fun to talk about the current iteration of Quarry. We all know by now the current owners, Jack, Pauline, Chrissy and Dr. August Herzog. Each brings something special to the table, whether it’s Jack’s knack for sound, or Dr. Herzog’s wrath. The story of the current generation of Quarry is oddly remarkable though…
If we drag ourselves briefly back into 1994, a year I’m sure you’re all familiar with, you’ll remember the grand re-opening of Quarry after it’s brief closure due to someone doing a disco shift serving people pints of cat blood. The now infamous ‘Quarry Riots’ ensued, including a brief takeover of Buckingham Palace in which the Queen of England was forced to make a public statement announcing a compromise: Quarry could reopen so long as the bar staff were put in stocks and had rotten tomatoes pelted at them. This is where the annual Quarry Tomato Festival originates, as a sign of respect to brave staff that endured the pelting.
Making our way now to the end of the 90’s we reach Y2K, a monumental moment in Quarry’s history in which the higher ups once again tried to shut them down after blaming them for the Millenium Bug. Quarry scholars have theorised that this attack on Quarry took place after Prince William, while watching DJ Shadow play Entroducing from start to finish, was served a pint with too much head.
Nothing could stand in the way of Quarry now though, as by the early noughties it was considered the forefront of the NYC indie-rock scene. After Jack recorded the Strokes album Is This It in Quarry, they were deemed unstoppable. They were stopped, though, after critics lambasted them for recording a Razorlight single there a few years later.
This faux pas on Quarry’s part went down in the history books as the moment in which they nearly lost everything, that is, until 2012, the year the world ended.
The Aztecs were right, it turned out, and meteors rained from the sky, crushing everything in sight. The only safe refuge was the Quarry. Even with its 120 person capacity, miraculously Quarry managed to house around 6 billion people during the crisis. Not a single person died during the entirety of the apocalypse. Better luck next time, God! It was from that day forward that all the owners of Quarry were given knighthoods (refused, of course) and generally considered to be the best music venue that ever lived.
There were setbacks, mind you. Brexit. Covid. Each of these cultural phenomenons led to trouble for Quarry. Brexit had them wildly fucked, with Quarry, at that point, being one of the main trade hubs in the UK. Covid meant they had to cancel their new experimental anti-money transactional service of coughing and spluttering into each other’s gobs as payment. But in the end they stood tall above it all, and eventually were able to get back to allowing niche local bands to play weird sets.
To this day, the venue is growing. Aidan also works there. I write this blog, a lifelong dream of mine as one of the world's leading Quarry Historians. It’s growing. But wait, don’t get too comfortable! Quarry is one of the most prolific buildings in the world, an 8th wonder! There’s more to be uncovered yet! Stay tuned to find out what the fuck was going on with Quarry in other periods of time throughout history.
As always, if you have any interesting Quarry facts, please, tell Aidan Shard on the bar! If you can tell him a fact he’s not heard before, he’ll turn off the farts pumps in the venue for the evening, allowing the smell to dissipate and the venue to go back to its natural scent of lavender.