The rock band O.A.R. stands for Of A Revolution. But just like any good revolution, it began as more of a ruckus.
“When we were kids, we didn’t set out to get famous or be commercially successful,” said Maryland native and lead singer Marc Roberge. “I just wanted to be a traveling musician touring the world with my brothers.”
Not brothers by blood but by music, O.A.R has a rabid fan following with hits such as “Shattered” and “It Was a Crazy Game of Poker.” The band’s recently released CD “The Mighty” includes the hit single “Miss You All the Time.” The musicians will return to Vegas for an Aug. 20 performance at the House of Blues for which tickets are on sale now.
Review-Journal: What is your idea of a great Sunday?
Marc Roberge: A great Sunday to me is if I luck out and catch a hockey game either in person or on the road. It must be said right now. Vegas, you had an amazing season with the Golden Knights and are having another one now. Congrats. But back to Sunday. It’s very normal stuff for my family. I love to be with my wife and kids. We’ll hit the ballfield by our house, run around and then I’ll give them burgers and fries for lunch. What’s better?”
What’s your hockey team?
Rangers for sure! But we can all still all be friends. Hockey fans stick together.
You appeared in Vegas two summers ago with Train and were a revelation to those not familiar with the power of O.A.R. No offense to Train, but O.A.R. had that audience.
We really loved touring with our friends from Train because even 20 years into our career, there are people who still don’t know who we are and what we’re about. Our mission is to be a really good live band and to get that across to new audiences is the goal. We want to earn it night after night.
Tell us about the new album “The Mighty,” which is garnering rave reviews.
We never worked harder on anything in our lives. The songs provoke reactions. Some of the songs are risky, but we’re super excited to take that risk with you. You gotta take risks in your music. That said, the album is still very familiar O.A.R. songs. As for the title, our good friend Richie Sambora introduced us once as The Mighty O.A.R. and it sounded like a great album title.
“Miss You All The Time,” has provoked strong emotional reactions from people who have lost someone. Why write a song about the ghosts in our lives?
Sometimes you have to go through the valley in order to get to the mountain. … More than anything, the song says that all of us still have an amazing connection to our friends or loved ones who aren’t with us anymore. There’s a line in the song that goes, ‘In the house where the heart don’t cry/ Dancing in a silver light/ And I’m dreaming of you tonight/ I miss you all the time.’ People who have heard the song …have said that the silver light gives them this image of hope that our loved ones are still with us.
What was the inspiration behind the romantic new song, “All Because of You?”
My wife recommended that we have a song that could be for a first dance at someone’s wedding. We danced around that idea. What is that feeling like for the bride and the groom on that day? It was actually to find the emotions because I’ve been there with my wife and danced that dance. It has that line: “We’re so good when we’re together/ Let me hold you ‘til we’re older.”
What do you expect for the upcoming Vegas show?
The tour is always the highlight for me because we celebrate the songs and the people come out to sing their hearts out. It’s always one big happy family at our concerts. Plus, American Authors are opening for us and they’re the perfect band, plus really nice people.
Do you remember the first time you ever performed in Vegas?
Our second album cover (“Soul’s Aflame”) was shot in Vegas. And we spent a lot of time that year in Vegas visiting my brother who lived there. Some of the imagery from the early records is based on areas outside of Vegas, especially those beautiful Red Rock mountains. You know, I love the Strip, but the desert is so inspiring. We’ve played Vegas a lot and the town is filled with really solid, hard-working folks who are out for a good time and love their music.
How do a bunch of guys from Maryland decide to be rock stars?
We were friends who hung out in our neighborhood, which means our parents’ front lawns. When we were kids, our drummer Chris’ Dad was manager of the professional audio section of this iconic music store in Maryland. One day, we were on Chris’ front lawn and his Dad gave us our first PA system. We wondered, “Could we play? Could we do that? Could we be a band?” I think the first song all of us guys played together was a Pearl Jam number. My parents were all for us becoming a band even though my mom is a teacher and my Dad is a lawyer. They said, “Do what you want, but just do it well.”
What was the weirdest moment on the way to rock history?
We walked into Madison Square Garden to play our show and a security guard stopped us before we went into the elevator! But then he said, “Do you know who has been here?’ He listed all the greats and it was inspiring. The point was when you walk on stage at Madison Square Garden or onto a Vegas stage or at Red Rock, it’s on.
How does it feel to be more than 20 years into this career?
I’m really happy with it. I feel like it’s been a great journey with my best friends.