Members: Marc Roberge, Chris Culos, Richard On, Benj Gershman, Jerry DePizzo
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Hometown: Rockville, Maryland
Albums: The Wanderer (1997); Soul's Aflame (2000); Risen (2001); In Between Now and Then (2003); Stories of a Stranger (2005); All Sides (2008); King (2011)
Hits: "Shattered (Turn the Car Around)"
If there's only a handful of bands that practically every college student has heard of, O.A.R. is likely at the top of the list. This upbeat musical group seems to epitomize the frivolous essence of youth, providing a classic, distortion-free sound that's backed up by the jazzy fillers of the saxophone. In fact, many of the band's songs are based on the personal endeavors of every member as they grew up in Rockville, Maryland and attended Ohio State University, making their art even more authentic to the young fans that flock to the amphitheaters and fairgrounds to see them live.
Although the band seemed to sprout from nowhere after the millennium, O.A.R. was originally founded in 1996 by Mark Roberge and Chris Culos, who gained some inspiration from Mark's older brother, who already played for a separate band. Chris covered percussion while Mark took over the vocals and lead guitar, and the two spent a few months to recruiting Richard On and Benj Gershman for more rhythm and vocals. The next year, the newly formed group went on to record their first album, The Wanderer, at Gizmo Recording Company in Maryland.
After graduating from high school, they took a brief break to adjust to their first few years of college. It was then that they met Jerry DePizzo, a talented saxophonist who served as the band’s cherry topping, providing some intricate melodies to the steady upbeat rhythms.
After the release of its fifth album in 2005, O.A.R. quickly began to top the charts and blossom into the jam band that every youngster seems to love and cherish. This album earned them a lot of radio play across the country and music video appearances on VH1 and MTV. It was then that the band began to shift from the reggae jam band sound to a more pop-oriented group. This change only boosted the numbers, allowing the band to become a sensation on the Internet and legends on the stage - especially in their performance at the Madison Square Garden in January of 2006. The new pop sound also managed to attract the attention of a larger demographic.
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