NILES, IL, June 10, 2009 — As a touring band, Of a Revolution (or O.A.R. as it is more commonly known) is still a campus favorite. Formed in 1996 by frontman Marc Roberge and drummer Chris Culos, the band took root within college life in its early years, penning hit songs based on the collective experiences of its members at Ohio State University, and growing on the strength of online distribution and word-of-mouth alone.
With the fundamental structure of the band taking shape when Roberge and Culos were in the eighth grade, the pair were juniors in high school in 1996 when O.A.R. became an official entity. “When we were young, we struggled to find meaning in what our songs had to say,” Culos recalls. “Really, at 16 years old, we hadn’t experienced real life, love, and all that kind of stuff, so we didn’t feel right singing about those kinds of things.”
To compensate for their inexperience, Roberge took a literary approach, writing songs from the viewpoint of characters he had written about in short stories. “I think it was a way for him to address certain topics without having to feel like he was older or more experienced than anyone else our age,” Culos adds. “I feel like we’ve matured a lot as songwriters since we started, but the basic foundation of just trying to be honest in what we’re saying is the same.”
Onstage, O.A.R.’s technical evolution has brought them to a point where Shure UHF-R® wireless is a primary player among the components responsible for capturing its sound.
“I love the wireless systems, and it’s funny…” saxophonist and guitarist Jerry DePizzo says, “we did a small club show at the end of our summer tour last year, and my guitar tech handed me a hardwired guitar. I played it for half the show unplugged because I’m so used to being wireless. Plugging in a cable is just too much work for me these days. It was a funny moment and extremely embarrassing, but very liberating. I’ve been using the UR stuff and Beta 98 for years. It’s really been a part of my sound for almost the entire time I’ve been in the band.”
Back on the drum riser, Culos confides that Shure maintains a regular presence there as well for O.A.R.’s live performances.
“It seems like anything made by Shure has been on my drum set,” he points out, struggling to take mental count of all the mics he’s used over the years. “We’ve been using Beta 98s on toms for the past couple of years, and we’ve had great results with 57s on snares, both top and bottom, forever. We just haven’t missed with that. They come through our in-ears just sounding as natural as they do when I play in a room.”
O.A.R. will tour extensively across North America through spring and summer this year, finally coming to a halt on September 5 in Toronto, Ontario. Supporting the notion that allowing fans to record their live shows is a positive thing, a thriving tape-trading community follows the band wherever it goes. Using USB wristbands as a medium for distribution of its own live recordings, when asked to explain the logic behind the marketing move, Culos says simply that “USB headbands were sold out.”