O.A.R. hasn’t had it easy since the group’s last album, “All Sides,” in 2008.
First the quintet parted ways with Atlantic Records, eventually signing on with the smaller, independent Wind-Up label. Then frontman Marc Roberge’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, which brought recording on the new album, “King,” to a halt — but, Roberge, also helped the group focus even more on what it wanted to do with the 16-song set.
“I felt strongly I wanted to make an album about what I’d gone through to that point in our lives,” Roberge explains. “I just realized it was time to take control of my life and really own it. Then life just started throwing obstacles at us, just one thing after the next, and we were forced to stick to that theme...and that idea that you have to really overcome these things and own it and really just be yourself, whatever the cost.
“And that’s really what the album’s about. It’s about being a king or a queen, but of yourself.”
Adding to O.A.R.’s angst recently, however, is the disclosures about the rules violations by the Ohio State University football team. The band members, most of whom are from Maryland, attended Ohio State, and even though Roberge says he’s “a casual fan” of football he still feels the pain of the controversy — and knows he may hear a bit about it from this weekend’s Michigan crowd.
“The more I look into it, the more frustrated I get,” he acknowledges. “I don’t want to judge, but you’ve got to know that if you keep doing anything wrong for a long period of time, eventually you’re gonna get caught.
“I just wish people would ride that line a little closer. I know there are coaches who know how to push it as far as they can but don’t cross the line. Playing dumb only lasts so long, and it just caught up with (the Buckeyes).”
O.A.R. and SOJA perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester HIlls. Tickets are $36.50 pavilion, $21 lawn with a $64 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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