Last modified on October 4, 1995.
SOUTHBRIDGE -- What's in a record label? A lucrative contract maybe. Or perhaps the opportunity for world-wide exposure. Some musicians and artists may think that way, but not the members of The Curtain Society.
For this local rock trio, a record label and the legal status that accompanies it could mean abandoning the images and sounds that define them and their music. The Curtain Society is made up of Southbridge natives Roger Lavallee, Ron Mominee and Jeff Paul.
They describe the music they make as "a mixture of influences from great pop songwriters of the past, with an airy, textural wall of sound that creates a dynamic new brand of rock."
And although they would pounce on the opportunity to record under a popular and well-known record label, the band members say they are more concerned with maintaining their integrity, personality, and fans than simply maintaining a high interest bank account.
"To be original, you have to be involved in doing your own thing," says Jeff Paul, drummer and backup singer for the band. "Too many times bands end up with a sound and image that is completely different from when they started out.
"They don't necessarily change because they want to," he adds. "Sometimes they change because the record label they are recording under wants them to change for the audience."
Paul says that bands shouldn't change for their audience, but "for themselves -- during a natural progression. The fans will catch on."
Roger Lavallee is lead singer and guitarist of the band. "We are looking for our own market because we don't want to become commercialized," he says. "Commercialization isn't happening to us," he adds. "If I were in this for the money, I would have bailed out a long time ago."
The band suffers no shortage of paid performances. Though Paul lives in Boston and is a full-time student and both Lavallee and Mominee live locally, the band has managed to get together often enough to rehearse and play for gigs in Worcester, Billerica, Providence, Boston, and as far away as Toronto and Virginia, on occasion.
Over the summer, The Curtain Society toured and promoted their latest album, "Where are you" and joined forces with Bedazzled Records. The band also recorded a song entitled "Chelsea" over the summer, adding to the seven tapes and records they've released since 1988.
Based in Washington, D.C., Bedazzled Records is a small recording label the band believe will allow them to "keep a handle on things and remain in control." Involvement with Bedazzled is a transition that will take some getting used to, since the band has always managed and promoted itself, as well as other area bands.
"It's an experience we are looking forward to, because it could mean nationwide exposure as well as exposure in foreign countries," says Paul.
Categorizing their music as "alternative rock," the band has a specific -- if eclectic -- market. Although the band members shun others' descriptive labels, they have rocked their way into the hearts of fans from all over the world.
"(Fan) mail comes in from practically every continent," says Lavallee.
And while the music of The Curtain Society reaches many cultures, Southbridge will always be home to these modern rockers. They contend that no matter where a musical career may take them, the integrity instilled in them in their hometown will always be their signature sound.
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