When you meet four Scotsmen from Oban who are willing to travel 13 hours by road for one gig, and over 300 miles just to reach a recording studio, you want to ask "Why?". Geoff Howlett asked that very same question of West Coast rockers CURAM.
We were invited to play a one hour set at last year's Cross Rhythms festival," explains lead singer and guitarist John Cassie. "We drove 13 hours to get there, played the gig, had a sleep, and then did the journey home. For the new album we've come to Hull's Small & Hairy Studio because we wanted Christians to record it, and we knew of the engineers' ability from their work with Crossfire".
The new CD and tape is to be called 'Time Gentlemen, Please!' and will contain 10 tracks. The title was chosen because the band feel that IT IS time for many things. Time for the church to be the church Jesus meant it to be and time for us to be the type of Christians we are meant to be.
Curam's sound has certainly changed since their first recording ('Curam') appeared in 1992, although the follow up (The Potato Curry') did show signs of a harder edge. "It's just progression", chips in drummer Charlie Summers. John agrees, "Some of us had never played in a band before and it's still a learning experience."
Indeed, the original line up was formed from a worship group and included three female singers, giving a more mellow sound. At that time they didn't have a lead guitarist so prayed and asked God to send them the right person. Would you believe it? A new recruit to the faith, Calum Smith arrived on the scene to fit the requirement. When I first saw the band in the summer of '92 I likened his style to that of Big Country's Stuart Adamson, which is now complimented by his own individual skills.
I asked John why the band originally moved from worship to rock music. "We believed that God was telling us to move that way," John says. "The Lord has given us a ministry to preach His message in this way and this is exactly what we do."
The fourth member of the current line-up is Elliot Morrison who is joining the recording session later in the day. He's a no nonsense, solid playing bassist who slips in easily to the developing Curam mould.
Like a lot of Christian bands playing the smaller venues, Curam have come up time and time again with the problem of expenses. "I think it's naivety on the part of the organisers," John answers thoughtfully. "They have an idea about putting an event on but know nothing about how much a secular band costs, never mind a Christian one. We've travelled hundreds of miles to play free gigs but we can't afford to let that be the rule. One chap couldn't understand why I turned down £50 to play until I explained that petrol money alone would be twice that figure."
Live, the band are as good as any currently on the scene, and they want to transfer some of that excitement onto the new release. "It's the first time we've recorded in a studio," admits John, "the previous ones were done in someone's living room. We're hoping for better things this time."
All the members of Curam have that wry sense of humour that help to make them such a likeable bunch of guys. However, with that comes a sincere and staunch belief in God and the work they do in his name.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.