O.A.R. (aka Of a Revolution) converted from a local Ohio State University rock band to Billboard chartbuster and headliner at major venues across America. First, the band’s two demo recordings were hawked at universities. Then, word-of-mouth news spread about the band’s roots rock and reggae-inflected upbeat songs. Before long, the band got thousands of hits daily on its website at www.ofarevolution.com.
O.A.R.’s third CD, Risen, was produced by John Alagía (Dave Matthews Band, Ben Folds Five) and recorded in summer 2000 at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ, and at Dumbo Studios in New York City for the group’s independent label, Everfine Records.
Formed in 1996 in Rockville, MD, O.A.R. coalesced around lead singer/rhythm guitarist Marc Roberge, lead guitarist Richard On, saxophonist Jerry DePizzo, bassist Benj Gershman, and drummer Chris Culos. Roberge had known Culos since childhood in Rockville, MD, where he also became friends and played in local bands with On and Gershman. DePizzo, who hails from Youngstown, OH, met the others at Ohio State.
O.A.R. first recorded The Wanderer independently as a demo in 1997. Many of the songs on O.A.R.’s debut disc were written while Roberge and Culos were living in Israel. Two years later, the switch from student band to headliner started with the arrival of their popular song “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker.” (Many lyrics for the band’s songs came from Roberge’s interest in literature, particularly Stephen King’s novel The Stand.)
The group went back into the recording studio for a second demo, which was released independently as Souls Aflame in 1999. With the success of 2001′s Risen, Roberge began writing songs for a new CD late that year. To appease their dedicated fan base, they released the live Any Time Now in the spring of 2002. O.A.R. signed with Lava/Atlantic for 2003′s In Between Now and Then, and more touring followed. This led to the release of 34th & 8th, their second live offering. The band returned to recording again with 2005′s Stories of a Stranger, which contained a pair of Top 20 Hot AC hits in “Love and Memories” and “Heard the World.” The Live from Madison Square Garden CD/DVD appeared in 2007. – Robert Hicks