Detour Records have been trying to track down members of this band since the 90s but all the leads went nowhere. Then fast forward twenty years and after doing more research and from reading a post on the excellent "My Life's A Jigsaw" blog we went on a mission to track this elusive band down.
It is not true that the leads went nowhere because at last he managed to track the band. So would present perfect be better in that case? For example, "All the leads have gone to nowhere" (until recently).
Did he choose past simple to emphasize the contrast between the leads that went to nowhere and the good one that managed to track the band?