Some say curiosity killed the cat, but Pocono-based band Curious Dog seems to fare well.
The duo of Bobby Ventura and Claire Lochner found each other through luck on the Craigslist music listings in 2014 and have performed together in Northeast Pennsylvania ever since.
After years of playing covers at area bars and venues, the pair is dipping its toes into songwriting while still playing the old songs that get the crowds dancing.
Q: Where did your band name come from?
Bobby Ventura: We are both dog lovers and both had dogs. We had a list of names and just seemed to gravitate to that one.
Q: How did you each get involved in music?
BV: For me, I started playing drums in grade school and bought a guitar in high school to try to write songs. I ended up working as a sound man in clubs and found my way to be a road manager for many national artists.
Claire Lochner: I started loving music from the time I was a little kid listening to my transistor radio and had musicians in the family always playing music.
Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public together?
BV: Just getting back into playing guitar, I was nervous and excited. I was thinking, how are we doing this? But it worked out great.
CL: I was nervous also, but we got such a great response that it made us more confident.
Q: How do you choose which songs to perform?
BV: We like songs that bring out feelings and excitement. We also have found that different places have different crowds, and we change our set lists accordingly. We always have backup songs off the set list to jump to as we see fit. We have started writing. We perform only one tune now, but we are working on it.
CL: I love music with strong melodies and harmonies, especially songs that get people on their feet.
Q: How have you changed as musicians over the years?
BV: We have been together three years. … We have grown more confident in our playing and our harmonies, and we also seem to know exactly what each other is doing, and if one misses a change or something, the other takes the lead.
CL: Yes, we have become more natural in our playing abilities and more comfortable with ourselves as a duo.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories?
BV: Our first New Year’s Eve gig was awesome. We played an upstairs balcony and then came down to just play acoustic at the bar with people singing with us.
CL: We also had a great time when we played a new place during our first year, and the place was packed and everyone came right up to us to sing along.
Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
BV: I think the scene is getting stronger again. I was part of a trio when I first moved here from Brooklyn; we played everywhere, and then things changed. Money got tight for bars, and more and more, people got worried about DUIs and going out. I think things are still a bit tight. Most places still pay the bands the same as 20 years ago. … It’s still tough for bands to get a good-paying gig, but I think there has been a great resurgence for acoustic players like ourselves.
Q: What music do you listen to — either for inspiration or that you just enjoy listening to?
BV: The great thing about this duo is we listen to everything. Recently, Claire has become a big Blackmore’s Night fan, and we both listen to WXPN for new artists. We recently added the New Pornographers and Waxahatchie songs to our playlist. We play a large mix of all decades of music.
Q: Have you faced any major challenges as a rising band?
BV: I think the only challenge is having the time to put in when you work a regular day job and play every weekend. The gigs become the rehearsals sometimes, which isn’t a bad thing. We have been known to work on a song we like and just play it out to see what happens; mistakes live are not always a terrible thing.
Q: What are your future goals for the band?
BV: Writing and putting together material to do a CD and a video or two — 2018 goal. Expanding our territory for playing gigs is important to us.