Covering over five hundred artists in under three years, from all over the world, it’s always good to find someone to feature from your own backyard. Even better is when that same band not only leaves the backyard but goes on to become one of the hottest touring acts in music today. The Rockville born - now New York based – band Of A Revolution or O.A.R. as they are known today, is and has been one of my favorite bands for years. This comes in many parts however, since years ago at Camp Airy I met a skinny kid that named Marc Roberge, who at the time was a standout wrestler, but would later forgo the mat to follow his true dream of becoming a musician. And he did just that, forming O.A.R. as the front man and songwriter for the group since its inception. Little did I know when I was twelve, that the kid I spent summers with playing sports, hiking and seeing how much trouble our bunk could get into, would one day have his face plastered all over MTV.
Before MTV and radio came calling though, O.A.R. was an emerging band that every high school kid from in the mid-Atlantic area knew about. If the internet was around when I was in high school - and as powerful as it is now (with Facebook, MySpace, etc.) - O.A.R. would have been “that band” much, much sooner. However, knowing success takes time O.A.R. had a plan. Agreeing to all stick true to their dreams, O.A.R. (as a band) attended Ohio State University, where they sold out bars and clubs regularly. I had a cousin attending at the same time and would email me and say lines were wrapped around the block – twice! Now this is the late 90s, still pre-internet craze, so the only word of mouth was done… well by mouth so to be able to pull in such crowds several states away is astonishing! Needless to say it was sign of more to come.
Yet, despite several offers and many opportunities to leave school early, the boys of O.A.R. were committed to their schoolwork and made the best of their unique situation, that would only be a lesson learned for how to handle life on the road. “We’d find ourselves traveling back in the van with one light in the back, so only one person could study. I learned how to study in the back of a van, I learned how to study in the back of a bar, I learned how to study in all these weird situations and plus I was taking double the credits, since I wanted to graduate on time.” Like true professionals they earned it the hard way. But as fast as the diploma hit their hands, O.A.R. was back on the road opening and playing with the likes of Dave Matthews and many others.
Fortunately, O.A.R.’s years on the road has paid off, with 6 studio albums and 4 live albums selling a combined more than 2 million copies, O.A.R. no longer has to pile up in a van. This week, O.A.R. has put together a new package of material for their fans called “Rain Or Shine”, a 4-disc set with 37 tracks including acoustic versions and electric versions of our favorites and rarely played material. Covering hits like, “Crazy Game Of Poker”, “Hey Girl”, “Right On Time” and most recently, “Shattered” (which earned #2 on the Adult Top 40) “Rain Or Shine” offers a rare glimpse into the on stage presence of the band, which as one who has witnessed it live, is something to truly celebrate. They offer the crowd crazy live shows and the sit down acoustics that have made them a hit from the beginning. It’s stripped down and amped up - all in a way that makes the sound of O.A.R. stand out over other bands today. So, check it now and support a local band that really made it big. Cheers to dreaming big and nailing it.