O.A.R. to play concert in Vail Village | VailDaily.com

O.A.R. to play concert in Vail Village

Chris Outcalt
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Danny Clinch

VAIL, Colorado ” Jerry DePizzo likes to try and keep his answer short when he’s asked what kind of music O.A.R. plays.

That rarely happens. He often stumbles off on a tangent littered with “well, you know, it’s kind of like.”

“It’s always hard to describe,” said DePizzo, the band’s saxophone player. “I try to keep it simple. It never works.”

He usually ends up with: “I play sax in a rock band.”

“I try to explain the level at which we do things and go from there,” DePizzo said.

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Part of his difficulty pinpointing the group’s music comes from the band’s evolving sound. Its first record had college rock written all over it. Three of the nine tracks on the band’s debut album, “The Wanderer,” are longer than seven minutes. O.A.R., which stands for Of a Revolution, toured relentlessly during its first few years as a group and tunes such as “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker” and “Hey Girl” gained the band some popularity on the jam band scene.

But the band’s sound has tightened quite a bit since its college field house playing days. “All Sides,” O.A.R.’s new record, has more of a pop-rock sound and is pretty radio friendly. Only one of the 13 tunes on the album stretches into six minutes. And the record’s first single, “Shattered,” was an instant radio hit.

“Music grows and adapts and evolves and it will continue to do so,” DePizzo said. “If you put the first record against ‘All Sides,’ if you listen to them in context, you can see the maturation process. You can see the song writing and things evolve.”

Whether the band is still defined by its early college rocking days depends on who you ask, DePizzo said. He’s happy with what the O.A.R. sound has turned into.

“It’s been a re-education process,” he said. “For a lot of years we played frat parties and house parties and bars. I think we were written off from that. There was a negative stigma with it. This band is more than frat parties and kegs and beer bongs.”

The tune “Shattered” is perfect example of that, he said.

“There’s a lot of new fans who know us for just ‘Shattered,'” DePizzo said.

And the people who find the band through “Shattered” are starting to discover the old stuff, he said.

“All we really ever wanted was a shot to give people a song they can gravitate toward or embrace,” DePizzo said. “I think we’ve found a good balance.”

That’s exactly the kind of sound James Deighan with Highline Sports and Entertainment, the company that booked the music for Spring Back to Vail, thinks O.A.R. is going to bring to Vail Village. O.A.R. will play a free show in the village tonight, capping off a week of Spring Back to Vail events and Vail Mountain’s last day.

“They’re a fun, festival-type band,” Deighan said. “I think they fit exactly in line with the whole spring theme.”

The band was in town earlier this season for a private VH1 event. It was a big hit, Deighan said.

“They blew everybody away, more so than The Fray,” he said. “The talent level was the buzz of the event.”

Deighan said he wouldn’t be surprised if the band sells out its Red Rocks show this summer.

The extra attention and popularity, to this point, has been a good thing for the band, DePizzo said.

“More people know about us and are aware of the band. It’s a great thing,” he said. “We’re excited to be where we are.”

The first track on “All Sides,” “This Town” is set to be released as the second single on the album. It’ll be the first time the group has released two singles off one record.

DePizzo figures a couple of his bandmates will hit the slopes during Vail Mountain’s closing weekend, but it won’t be him.

“If I nip a pinkie, I’m out,” he joked.

As far as what to expect from the show, expect anything, DePizzo said.

“It changes night to night,” he said. “That’s probably one of the more exciting things about what we do. You’re thrown into all these difference situations. You try to do your best and win these people over. That challenge is one of the more appealing things we do ” trying to go out there and kill it every night.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

Jerry DePizzo on file sharing and Napster:

“It certainly helped grow the band. I think it has been a double edged sword for music, not only this band. That was the first time people could have instant gratification of music. Now there are some legal ways and appropriate ways to have that same access. It’s a completely different situation.”

DePizzo on how his playing has changed:

“It’s all about picking moments. When we were doing ‘Stories of a Stranger’ I would play all over everything and (the producer) would say ‘What they hell are you doing?’ I trimmed all the fat (this time), every idea that I had ended up on the record.”

DePizzo on what he listens to:

“I have a fairly eclectic taste in music. I just listened today to John Mayer’s ‘Continuum.’ That’s a badass record. There’s so much texture and so many layers. It’s all good and it’s very musical.”

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