O.A.R. eyes Olympic dreams with new song

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
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O.A.R. is always working. Even the band's unfinished songs take on a life of their own.

The band recently debuted "Champions," a collaboration with rapper B.o.B., as part of a Duracell promotion for the 2012 London Olympics.

"It's a tune that was floating around in the O.A.R. camp," said Jerry DePizzo, saxophonist and guitarist for the band. "It was written and created by Marc [Roberge], our singer, with some guys he works with sometimes called Diji Parq. I think maybe its intentions really weren't known. The beat and the electronic element is a departure from O.A.R.'s sound and style."

But when the opportunity arose to come up with a song for the campaign, it found its life. The band just wanted to find someone else to work on the song with it.

"We had a short list of guys to do it with and B.o.B. was one of them. To get one of the top guys on our wish list to do it was great."

DePizzo minces no words when he says he hopes the song leads to an opportunity to head to London for the Olympics.

"We're politicking for it. I'd love to go to London. I've heard talk about it," he said. "What better way to do it than to go play for our athletes? I hope we have the opportunity to do it."


He does know, however, that O.A.R. is gearing up for its "Summer Crush 2012" tour, playing several big shows, such as at Red Rocks. He said the band is particularly excited about returning to Jones Beach Theater on Long Island, where rowdy fans caused a flap for O.A.R. a few years ago.

"We're very excited about that," DePizzo said. "We haven't been able to get in there the past couple of summers."

The band is currently taking a short break from touring in support of last year's album, "King." It's a natural cycle, DePizzo said, because O.A.R. plays so many college shows up until this part of the year. When May hits, and students are taking finals and graduating, the band gears up for the big summer stretch.

But DePizzo said the college crowd, which has propelled the band to the heights it's reaching now, is always a priority for the band.

"That audience, it regenerates. You go into these shows, to smaller schools, and smaller towns that you wouldn't get to on a major-market tour," he said. "It keeps a lot of perspective for us, gets us back to our roots and gets us to some areas for smaller ticket prices in smaller towns so it's a win-win."

DePizzo himself stays close to the college crowd. He still lives in Columbus, Ohio, home of Ohio State, where the band formed. (Roberge talked about the band's fandom in an interview with ESPN last year, and DePizzo did a chat with SportsNation.)

DePizzo said he's excited about the new direction of the Buckeyes' program with the addition of new coach Urban Meyer.

"[Former coach Jim Tressel] had a great deal of success at OSU. Probably in the eyes of a lot of fans he could do no wrong. But he did," DePizzo said, adding that the scandal was painful, but he's been pleased with the hire that was made. "I was really excited about this whole thing. My pipe dream, the top guy on my wish list, we ended up with him. I'm excited for next season."

A free download of "Champions" is available here.
Dave Wilson is a college football editor for ESPN.com. He joined ESPN.com in 2010 and previously worked at The Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune and Las Vegas Sun.

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