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The Revolution returns to Vail

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyTo date O.A.R. has sold more than 1.7 million albums and 1.5 million concert tickets, including two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. Their last album, "All Sides," was their highest debut to date and the first single, "Shattered," was the band's first single to go platinum. The band is preparing to release its 7th album.
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VAIL, Colorado – It was a common love of Pearl Jam that brought three of the founding members of O.A.R. -lyricist and guitarist Marc Roberge, drummer Chris Culos and guitarist Richard On – together. The boys were in eighth grade when they started making music together in a basement in Rockville, Md. Three years later bassist Benj Gershman joined the boys and O.A.R. –of a revolution – was born.

The band is in town for a show Saturday night at Ford Park, as part of Vail Snow Daze.

The five members are quite familiar with Vail – they’ve performed here twice in the past year-and-a-half alone, once at a corporate gig for VH1 and at Spring Back to Vail a year-and-a-half ago.



“They’re coming back by popular demand,” said James Deighan of Highline Sports and Entertainment, which produces the event. “They have a huge following in Colorado. They sold out Red Rocks this summer and the show they did here last time was bigger than anyone had imagined. We traditionally don’t repeat bands in such a short window but they were so popular, we felt like we didn’t give their fans enough, so they’re coming back for another one.”

The band members were disappointed the last time they were in Vail because they had to catch a 6 a.m. flight out of Denver the morning after the show, which meant they didn’t get in any time on the mountain. That will not happen again, said Culos, who planned to come in a day or two early and make a long weekend of it.



“I snowboard. I’m not that great, but I love it,” he said during a phone interview this week. “My first time ever skiing was in Vail. My aunt and uncle took me there on a family vacation when I was 14. It was awesome. But until I went home and skied the 3,000- or 4,000-foot mountains in Maryland, I didn’t realize how great it was.”

The band recorded and released their first independent record, “The Wanderer” in 1997, while still in high school. They picked up fifth and final member saxophonist Jerry DePizzo while freshmen at Ohio State University. Now, nearly 14 years after that first album, the band is finishing up its seventh studio album, set to be released in early 2011, Culos said.

“I’m really excited about it,” he said. “It’s been three years since our last studio album and I feel like we just made a record we’re really proud of. It feels like the live O.A.R. people come to see, but also with that studio sensibility.”



As for the name of the album, or an exact release date, Culos is keeping quiet.

“We haven’t announced it yet,” he said. “We’re getting ready to make a whole bunch of announcements actually. We’ve been working on the album for almost an entire year, which for us is the longest we’ve been able to spend. It’s the first time we were able to take our time and I think it’s really paying off.”

To date O.A.R. has sold more than 1.7 million albums and 1.5 million concert tickets, including two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. Their last album “All Sides,” debuted at No. 13 on the Top 200 chart, the best debut of the band’s career. And the first single from that album, “Shattered,” was the band’s first to go platinum.

Part of the band’s recent success might have to do with the open arms with which they’ve embraced social media. This summer they released the track “Light Switch Sky,” which was co-written with the band’s fans via Twitter. Fans supplied the lyrics while the band created the music.

“It was our singer Marc’s idea,” Culos said. “When he first started tweeting he thought this is such a cool way to reach out and keep in contact with our audience and have direct communication with them. It was cool when the contest was over, Marc had assembled a complete, well-written idea from all these bits of different lyrics.”

Proceeds from were donated to the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Mission: Able campaign. Giving back to the troops is another common love the band members share, Culos said.

“We just can’t thank them enough.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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