9:30pm Saturday 08/27/16
O.A.R. (short for Of a Revolution) is an American rock, jam band founded in 1996 in Rockville, Maryland. The band consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Marc Roberge, drummer Chris Culos, guitarist Richard On, bassist Benj Gershman and saxophonist/guitarist Jerry DePizzo. Together, the band has released eight studio albums, including their latest release, THE ROCKVILLE LP, in June 2014. The band is well known for their live shows and extensive summer touring, and have released five records of various live performances to date.
Classic American author Thomas Wolfe famously stated “you can’t go home again,”but don’t tell that to the members of O.A.R. On their eighth studio album, THE ROCKVILLE LP, the shape-shifting rock band found that returning home triggered a journey of creative renewal and inspiration.
“This isn’t about us going back to our musical roots per se,”says lead singer Marc Roberge, who founded O.A.R. in 1996 with his Rockville, Md. high school classmates, drummer Chris Culos, guitarist Richard On, and bassist Benj Gershman (saxophonist Jerry DePizzo joined while the group was at Ohio State University). “It’s about us getting inspired by the place we came from. We’d drive the same roads, visit the old haunts, spend time with our people. Rockville was the catalyst then, and it’s the catalyst now.”
For the first time in a while, the band found that visiting their Maryland hometown gave them a sense of peace. For years, they had been pushing themselves to reach new levels of success, searching for their place in the world. Plus, turbulent times within their personal lives had led them to a slightly disconnected state.“I went home to Maryland many times while making this album and based these songs on all the familiar feelings that Rockville gave me,”Roberge says. “I tried to focus in on the simple things that always made this band so creative and driven. For everyone in the band, this was a restart. We’ve been hanging out, enjoying life, letting things go…The whole album is about a reboot.”
O.A.R. is renowned for its intense, vibrant live show —including selling out Madison Square Garden twice —and the communal feeling it shares with its fans. With each studio album, the band has endeavored to achieve that sense of immediacy. On THE ROCKVILLE LP, “it comes the closest,”Roberge says.”Every live band I know will always want nothing more than to carry their live performance onto the album. It’s an elusive thing to capture, so I’ll never say we nailed it,”Roberge says. “But I can guarantee we put that same live show energy and passion into each minute of THE ROCKVILLE LP and we can only hope the audience feels that.”