Volume 92, Issue 54

Wednesday, December 9, 1998

and to all a goodnight


Curiosity Shop's for '60s

Gazette File Photo
CAN I SEE SOME I.D.? PLEASE GUYS. Curiosity Shop is sure to grow after their Thursday show at The Embassy.

By Tania Madigan

Gazette Staff

"First and foremost I please myself and then, we as a band, please ourselves and nobody else," says Curiosity Shop's songwriter Thomas Barnes, in an indulgent, yet self-affirming tone.

While the vocals belong to all, Barnes brings the lyrics to the musical table of Curiosity Shop, a band on a mission to bring back the '60s. Bass and cello are compliments of Matt Teeter, Jae Ward adds the piano and organ and David Cavanagh ties it all together on the drums.

Classic pop is returning with Curiosity Shop, a band reminiscent of the Beach Boys and the Beatles. "Our music is different than what is on the radio today – we hark back to the '60s," Barnes explains.

But why the '60s? "Because I think it's the coolest period for music and clothes and stuff. We all grew up with that music. We are content to make music that we love and has meaning for us."

Curiosity Shop aims to continue the positive image of the era. "We are four happy guys who are enjoying what we are doing. We hope that when people see us so happy, it will make them happy as well."

Above the Glass, the band's debut album, keeps with the theme in its instrumental style, where music is the key and the lyrics are secondary. "The lyrics come second to me. I write the melody and the chords and when that's all done, I'll come up with lyrics," Barnes explains.

Even though the lyrics are not as dominant, a theme definitely runs through the album – a story, perhaps – about two people who can't seem to get it right. The story was not consciously done, but rather it emerged as the songs were written. "I started writing the songs, not thinking this is going to be for an album. I noticed after five or six of them, the theme that was running through them. When I was about halfway done writing the album, I made the conscious decision to continue the story."

This continuity gives evidence of the band's drive to be true to their own ideals and their own music. "I can't listen to the radio these days. I've been so disenchanted with the [generic] music that is coming out. We'll never succumb to any trick or do anything that will guarantee us a hit record. I'd love to sell a million records, but not if it is going to change the identity of the band."

Will the theme aspect continue? Barnes is happy with the band's station in life and wants to continue in the same direction, but believes some changes may occur. "I'm not sure if I should keep doing [songwriting] in the same fashion. We plan to strip away the metaphor and do a straight story, a Ray Davies-type character album," Barnes divulges.

Maturity will definitely add to Curiosity Shop and future interests of the members will be their main influence. "We all have really strong, polar personalities, but in different ways. It's great for the music. Not in a bad way, I mean we all get along, but we're not the same person."

As long time friends, Curiosity Shop will not let the little things stop them. They are ambitious and talented, with the knowledge that practice makes perfect. "I am a perfectionist, which can be good and bad. I won't walk away from something that I think can be done better."

So sit back and relax, maybe grab a Harvey Wallbanger and check out Curiosity Shop at Call the Office on Dec. 10.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998