Of a Revolution, better known as O.A.R., is an American alternative rock band. Founded in 1996 in Rockville, Maryland, the band consists of Jerry DePizzo, Benj Gershman, Richard On, Chris Culos and Marc Roberge. To date, the band has released eight studio albums, twelve singles, one EP and five live albums. Their last album The Rockville LP was released in 2014. Two of the band’s singles “Shattered (Turn the Car Around)” and “Love and Memories” were certified Platinum and Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) respectively.
The band is known for their energetic live performances and extensive summer touring. If you’re a fan, O.A.R tickets are available here.
O.A.R. - The Beginning
O.A.R. is a quintet comprising of Jerry DePizzo (saxophonist/guitarist), Benj Gershman (bassist), Richard On (guitarist), Chris Culos (drummer) and Marc Roberge (lead vocalist/guitarist). The band was founded in 1996 and its founding members were Culos and Roberge. Gershman and On joined the band later. Soon after their formation, the band went about releasing their first album. Their debut album The Wanderer was recorded in 1997 in Silver Spring with the Gizmo Recording Company.
The Wandering O.A.R.
The Wanderer was released at a time when the band members were still in high school. The band was not widely known, and went by their full name ‘Of a Revolution’. However, at the time of album’s cover design, ‘Of a Revolution’ turned out to be too long a title to make into a logo hence “O.A.R.” the abbreviation was finalized as the band’s name.
At the time when the album was recorded and later released, O.A.R. was without a record label and therefore the album was available mainly online, where it did well amongst college students. Out of the nine songs on the debut album, "That Was a Crazy Game of Poker" and “Black Rock" became so popular that they are still played at every O.A.R. concert.
The Completion of O.A.R. and Soul’s Aflame
By the time the second studio album was released, the four members of O.A.R. had graduated from Wootton High School and accepted into Ohio State University. It was here that they met DePizzo, a local, who joined the band as saxophonist. In 1999, the band members once again came back to Silver Spring to record their second album Soul’s Aflame at the Gizmo Recording Company.
The album came out on April 8, 1999, and had eleven tracks on it. The album initially had twelve tracks, with “Earthward” being the twelfth track; however it was later removed. The album included “I Feel Home,” “Hey Girl,” “To Zion Goes I,” “When Can I Go Home?” “The Wanderer,” “On Top the Cage,” “Ran Away to the Top of the World Today,” “Night Shift,” “So Moved On,” “Untitled” and “City on Down.”
Keeping in with their earlier marketing strategy, the band relied solely on word-of-mouth to break into the mainstream music scene.
Extensive Touring and Risen
In between their second and third studio album, O.A.R. played extensively to a wider audience, ranging from Ohio State University’s fraternities and sororities to local bars, clubs and festivals. Their aim was to get as much exposure as possible and it paid off when their third album came out.
Risen was released in 2001 and debuted at No.66 on the Billboard Top New Artists. It also peaked at No.44 position on the U.S. Billboard Independent Albums chart. Risen had eleven tracks, however most of them were re-recorded songs from previous albums.
O.A.R. - In Between Now and Then
In Between Now and Then was the band’s fourth studio album, which was released in 2003. It debuted at No. 156 on the Billboard 200. While Rolling Stone gave the album two out of five stars, Allmusic gave the album 4.5 stars. The album had fifteen tracks, out of which “Hey Girl” had previously featured on Risen and Soul’s Aflame.
Till the release of this album, O.A.R. had not signed with any record label, however their continuing success got them the right exposure and the band ultimately signed with Lava Records.
A New O.A.R.
Signing on with a major record label brought a stylistic change to the band’s music. Earlier, they were known for jam, ska and reggae inspired songs. With the release of their first album with Lava Records Stories of a Stranger, the band moved towards more pop-inspired tunes, less acoustic instrumentation and shorter run-times.
Stories of a Stranger was released in 2005 and peaked at No. 40 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album had twelve tracks, out of which “Lay Down,” “Heard the World” and “Love and Memories” became fan favorites. “Love and Memories” peaked at No. 18 on the Adult Top 40 chart.
Madison Square Garden and All Sides
On January 14, 2006, the band made history – it sold out Madison Square Garden. 2006 was exceptional otherwise too as the band crossed 1 million records sales.
All Sides was released in 2008 and became the band’s sixth studio album. The album peaked at No.4 on the U.S. Billboard Top Rock Albums chart, however it generally garnered negative reviews from the critics with the Rolling Stone calling it “a poor man’s Goo Goo Dolls”.
O.A.R. - The King
Released in 2011 and King was the seventh studio album and their most successful album to date. Debuting at No.2 on the U.S. Billboard Rock Albums chart, the album included sixteen tracks out of which “Heaven,” “Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes” and “King” did extremely well.
The Rockville LP
The Rockville LP was released in 2014. This album also did exceptionally well, selling 18,000 copies in the first week of its release and reaching No. 1 on the US Independent Albums charts.
If you’re a fan of roots, indie and alternative rock, and looking for Oar tickets, you’ve come to the right place. They are available here.