Friendship at heart of jam band O.A.R.'s continuing success

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comJuly 10, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    WHEN: 6:30 p.m. July 17

    WHERE: Family Circle Magazine Stadium, 161 Seven Farms Drive, Daniel Island

    COST: $40.95

    DETAILS: www.ofarevolution.com

For the five members of popular Columbus, Ohio, rock band Of A Revolution maintaining their original lineup after more than 15 years of touring and recording has required equal parts patience, understanding and, as saxophonist Jerry DePizzo says, a little bit of luck.

The band, known to its fans as O.A.R., originally formed in Rockville, Md., before its members moved to the Buckeye State to attend Ohio State University and has released seven studio albums and five live albums, most recently "Live on Red Rocks," which hit shelves in November. The band is at work on its eighth LP.

In that time, DePizzo said the members of O.A.R. have remained close friends and have been spared the jealousy and petty in-fighting that often plagues successful ensembles.

"There's just not a ton of ego in our band," he said. "And that's kind of luck that all of our personalities fit really well together. I think we have this general philosophy in our band of just knowing your role, and everyone is in line with that. There's a mutual respect between the five of us and what we bring to this band. We truly love each other."

O.A.R. will bring their internal harmony and homeostasis and their jam band sound to Family Circle Stadium on Daniel Island on July 17, which is the second of two local shows the band was expected to perform this summer.

A June 8 date at Grayson Stadium in Savannah was canceled more than a week before the show for undisclosed reasons, though a statement on the band's website said they are hoping to reschedule a show in Savannah in the near future. All who purchased tickets were given refunds, according to a band spokesman.

DePizzo discusses playing new songs on the road, digital downloads and social media.

Question. You guys have a full slate of summer dates ahead, will you be road-testing a lot of the newer material?

Answer. Everything that we do throughout the year really supports our summer, and we work really hard each year to make sure that our summer shows are as good as they can be, so we are really excited to be able to play some of these new songs this summer. I think it'll be something different for us. On some of the songs, we have stretched and expanded them into six, seven, or eight-minute songs. We really want to play them for our fans and see what happens, hear what they think. That being said, we still play the "hits" every night. I mean, you have to. I know that if I went to see Van Halen, and they didn't play "Hot for Teacher" or "Eruption," I'd be pissed.

Q. Like several other bands, O.A.R. offers live downloads of nearly every concert on your website, why did you guys decide to do that?

A. Yeah, every show is recorded and is usually available within 24 hours of any show. It's just a really cool service. We're a touring band and ... every show is going to be different and every song is going to be different night-to-night. That's been something I've been really involved with and I think it's great for archival purposes as well. It's like game film for athletes. I can listen to a show and go, "OK, on this night, we did this song very, very well but, ooh, that was terrible." It helps us become a better band and lets our fans have that show, that moment that they can play at home and relive as many times as they want.

Q. In addition to putting the shows online, you are very active on social media, what do you think that's done for you and for the band?

A. It really gives me and our band a chance to interact with our fans on a one-on-one basis. I mean, if you would have told me that I would have been able to ask Eddie Van Halen a question or tweet Kurt Cobain, that would have blown my mind.

Q. The music business has changed a lot since O.A.R. formed in 1996, what has been the biggest change you've seen?

A. Technology has really been a double-edged sword for a band like us. We really popped during the Napster-era and we were able to get our music in the hands of like-minded people and that really helped us grow our audience when we were just starting out. But now, as a more established act, when you look at a lot of that stuff, it's very different. There's no telling how many more records we would have sold or how much more money would have been in my bank account.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.

An inside look at OAR recording their new record in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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