It may be hard to believe, but O.A.R. is about to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Their latest album, King, has been one of their highest charting albums to date. As the band prepared to head out to the West Coast for the first time in over a year, we caught up with saxophonist Jerry DePizzo to chat about a bunch of things O.A.R.-related.
With your recent album charting so well, would you have ever expected that 15 years down the road, band is still going strong and resonating with people?
I take a lot of pride in that, especially with this being the band's best charting to date, that's a great feeling for us. To be contemporary 15 years later, as a matter of fact, even to exist 15 years later, is not very easy to do. I take a lot of pride in this record and just the fact that we're still out there and I to say that I'm still a musician instead of a pizza delivery guy is something to feel pretty good about.
What was the motivation for writing this record? What were some of the themes you touched on and was the songwriting process different?
The process was certainly different. What we did was, since we all live in different cities, we spent a week in everyone's respective hometown. We hung out, jammed and wrote tunes together. We spent a month doing that and by the time we went in to make the record, we were pretty well rehearsed and polished that we cut 20 songs in 10 days. For us, that's a hell of a lot of material. We went on a tear and were able to knock it out. Then we went on a bit of a break and went on tour. Then our singer's wife got diagnosed with cancer so we shut things down and helped the through things. Thankfully, she's fine now. Then we wrote a couple of more tunes and after dealing with that, it was pretty therapeutic to get some of things off your chest, which translated into tunes like "Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes," "Heaven" and "Back To One." So it was done in two stages.
So this session certainly had its highs and lows then.
Yeah it did. It was cool to have a little bit of everything. We got together and relived the time had hanging out and making music without having to deal with expectations and deadlines, and things came very organically. Then we went to the songwriting from building from the ground floor up experience. We touched on a pretty comprehensive studio or record-making experience.
You've guys have traveled around the country many times throughout your career. That being said, what city are you excited to play and why?
Right now, just to do the California run is going to be great. It's snowing and cold as hell, so I'm looking forward to seeing tan faces and getting out there. It's great driving there and seeing the landscape changes. We always do the San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Francisco runs and it's one of my favorites and we do it every year. We haven't been to the west coast in quite a while, at least for us, which is a little over a year.
What's your favorite thing to do in California?
I like to do some golfing. I guess it depends on the city as well. In San Diego, I like to get out and run down the coast. In Los Angeles, I like to sit somewhere, people watch and watching the craziness of tourists in Hollywood. I also love seeing the skyline and landscape of Northern California as well. Can't forget In N Out either. That goes without saying. Oh and the cool food trucks too, we don't have that out here.
Being that you were formed when you attended Ohio State, is it safe to say that you guys are big Buckeye fans?
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Absolutely. I still live in Columbus, where football season never really ends. It's good to take part in that kind of atmosphere and it's cool to see people go crazy over football.
How's 2012 shaping up for the band?
We're excited first and foremost to get out to the west coast. In February and March we're doing extended residencies at some of the great venues in New York, Philly and D.C. We're spending a week celebrating the 15th anniversary of the band by going deep into the catalog and with covers and guests. That's something a little bit different for us that I'm excited about. I'm a big Allman Brothers fan, so when they spend a month in New York at the Beacon, I always thought that's a cool experience. I'm excited to be on the other side of the stage this time. Then we're gonna tour in the summer and fall then break down and start working on another record.