3pm Monday, April 21, 2003
Richard On from O.A.R. (Of A Revolution)
The band has another album coming out May 27 called In Between Now and Then.
This will be your first studio album on a major record label (Lava Records), how has the experience differed from your previous albums that you released on your own label (Everfine)?
Well, Gabriel, the only real difference was the big push you feel when you have a major label supporting you. As far as the creativity or artwork or anything like that everything in that sense has stayed the same. We’ve been looking at signing for a major label for a couple of years now and we were just waiting for the right feel.
The people at Lava have all been really great and that’s the biggest difference. It’s a small label in that it doesn’t carry many artists but it is still very professional and the feel is just great there.
Marc (Roberge), the lead singer, has said that the songwriting on the upcoming album has really improved, why is that?
As a band we’ve been writing stories since we were in high school and I think that the songwriting has really grown as we have grown. Being in a band and touring is just like practicing, so the songs have just become better written as we’ve practiced and grown as a band.
The name of the band, Of A Revolution, which has since been shortened to O.A.R., has its origins in a short story “The Wanderer” written by Marc. Many of your songs and even sets communicate through stories, is there eventually going to be an O.A.R. novel or something like that?
(Laughing) Actually a volume set (more laughs). Actually, I don’t want to speak for Marc, but he’s been writing since high school and the previous albums were more based on fictional stories while the recent album is more based on our experiences.
The band has said they really enjoy Colorado as one of their favorite spots to play. Why is that?
I think Colorado just has a really great music scene. Every time we play here we just really love the vibe and have had awesome shows.
I actually attended your November show at the Fillmore Auditorium last year, it was a really great show and the audience really got into the shows.
Thanks, yeah, Colorado just gives out a really great vibe.
Another couple of bands who have large support in Colorado and with whom you are often compared are the Dave Matthews Band and The Samples. What do you think of these comparisons?
I think that they’re great. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be compared to Dave Matthews Band, which is one of the greatest live bands ever?
I agree, another way in which O.A.R. is likened to Dave Matthews Band is in that you allow and encourage live taping of your performances and trading of these recordings. I know you have really strong ties to your fans in the D.C. area, is this out of respect for them?
That’s a good way to look at it. I mean it’s the greatest way to spread live music. It’s a way to remember certain shows. You can say “Oh I remember what I was doing during this song” and things like that. Live music is great.
But despite allowing recording and trading of live shows, Lava Records, your new major label, has to be worried about piracy; what are you doing to prevent piracy?
Well it is a big problem and I think the answering lies in the packaging of the album. When albums were being made a while ago there didn’t have to be anything too special with the packaging, but now we’re including different things like booklets and a bonus DVD is being packaged with the upcoming album.
Before the interview I was listening to Any Time Now, a two-disc live album that the band released last year. Is this something the fans are going to be able to look forward to in the future?
Definitely, yeah. We’re planning on releasing about one live album for every studio album we release.
Recently the band has said that your looking forward to taking “the next step as a band,” what do you hope this entails?
We just want to step up and for more people to hear the music.
O.A.R. began in high school and despite success, the members of the band all decided that going to college was important. Why was this a priority for the band?
Well, I know a lot of people who have gone to college and are unemployed, but just the college experience is something that is very important. A lot of kids look at their professors and think they’re just saying a lot of mumbo jumbo, but there’s a definite reason that they’re up there telling you the things they are saying.
I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because I have a semester left before I finish school, but two members have graduated and it’s really just the best of both worlds.
When we first started out and were booking our own shows and everything, we basically booked around our tests and classes. We would try to schedule our schoolwork for Monday through Thursday and then leave Thursday to play a show. We’d also play a show Friday night, Saturday night, and maybe even Sunday sometimes and then it was back to school on Monday.
That must have been difficult. Touring and going to school sounds very tiring.
Yeah, but it really was great. I love Ohio State and we really enjoyed going to school there. It really was the best of both worlds.
By the way, congratulations on Ohio State’s recent college national football title.
Yeah, thanks a lot, let’s just see how long we can keep it up.
Your band really tries to communicate a positive, peaceful vibe in your music. What do you think of the situation in Iraq?
I think we just want everybody to be aware of the situation.
A couple of years ago MTV did something really cool called Rock The Vote when they had Bill Clinton on and everything. They weren’t taking sides or really making any kind of political commentary, they were just helping the kids become more aware of the situation. I think that’s more how we feel, nobody wants to know what O.A.R. thinks, we just want you to be aware.
On a lighter note, your most famous song is called “That was a Crazy Game of Poker” are any of you guys actually poker players or is that just the lyrics of the song?
(Laughing) Well if that song hadn’t been so big we might play a little more. A couple of the guys play blackjack here and there but not really much poker. Since we all suck at poker, why don’t we just say it’s just the song.
Fair enough Richard, look forward to the show. Thanks for sharing your time.