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Buckeye pride fuels O.A.R. into 20th year

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, August 28, 2015

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Fair warning: The members of O.A.R. have always been ardent Ohio State Buckeyes fans.

Now, with a national football championship in their pocket, they feel entitled to be a little bit insufferable.

Most of the group members hail from Maryland but got the band going while attending Ohio State during the mid-90s. Touring horn player Jon Lampley even played in OSU's marching band. "So, yeah, we can drive people insane with our Buckeyeisms," acknowledges frontman Marc Roberge. "The other day we did went to a Pittsburgh Pirates game. Everybody was saying, 'Go Bucs!,' so it was easy for us to do all their cheers. "We try not to be too obnoxious, but we have that pride."

However, Roberge promises, "We've been through Michigan enough times to know to keep it in check up there."

O.A.R.'s connection with Ohio did not escape the state's governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich. "We heard he used one of our songs ('This Town') for his (campaign) announcement. That's a first for us," reports Roberge, 36, adding that he didn't necessarily mind it use.

"All I ever hear about is artists telling people not to use their songs or not giving them permission. And I would never use music as a platform to express my beliefs or any of that. But I thought it was pretty cool. I thought it was interesting. I don't know much about (Kasich); hopefully he doesn't come out and say anything awful. But to me it's just interesting that our songs have gone from the basement in Rockville, Md., and made their way into that type of situation.

"To me that's just crazy."

More songs are on the horizon for O.A.R. (which stands for Of A Revolution), according to Roberge. That group has been writing and recording since the June 2015 release of "The Rockville LP." It's even playing some of the new material live, and Roberge predicts the band will have an album out during 2016, which also commemorates O.A.R.'s 20th anniversary as a band.

Meanwhile, the troupe is still pushing "The Rockville LP" but is also enjoying a certain freedom that comes with the period between albums.

"I don't think we're out selling an album right now. We're kind of selling the experience of the band and the tour," Roberge explains. "We're out here again just enjoying the act of touring, and what we're trying to do is bring that attitude to the stage.

"Right now we're in a jam mode, just playing songs and trying to write and maybe playing some new stuff on stage. Last year we had a great time playing the ('Rockville') material; now we're jsut digging deep into our catalog and having as organic an experience as we can."

O.A.R., Allen Stone and Brynn Elliott

6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29

Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills.

Tickets are $29.50-$75 pavilion, $25 lawn.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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