Dozens of stars have emerged from the 2018 Winter Olympics, but perhaps the most impressive isn’t even an athlete, it’s a band.
More than 20 years after coming together to create music, O.A.R. — you know, those guys you spent your middle school/teenage summers listening to — have become unexpectedly and overwhelmingly relevant again.
It all started when a doping scandal got Russia banned from competing as a team in the 2018 games. To participate, 169 Russian athletes decided to compete under the Olympic flag using the team name “Olympic Athletes From Russia,” which, yep you guessed it, is abbreviated “OAR.”
Suddenly the three letters once almost exclusively associated with chill AF music were all over uniforms and television screens worldwide. But while everyone was busy trying to find out what the heck OAR meant, Mashable grew concerned with the wellbeing of the real O.A.R. (The band.) Being the kind people that we are, we checked in with lead vocalist and guitarist Marc Roberge to see how he and the boys are handling the new OAR in town.
“When the games started the phone calls started coming in, the emails, the texts — now to the point where every single morning I have a funny run-in with somebody about it,” Roberge said. “It’s grown into this thing, but it’s hilarious, it’s awesome and I love it.”
Though the band heard rumblings that their name might be jacked for a few weeks they had no idea it would become so widely noticed. Roberge explained his mornings now consist of watching the women’s hockey team destroy OAR and getting calls from his friends who poke fun at the team name.
O.A.R <3’s the Olympics
One of the reasons band O.A.R. is so cool with Team OAR is because they’re huge fans of the Olympics.
“As a group we’re huge sports fans, we’ve always toured the country and visited a lot of different sports teams,” Roberge, who’s a huge hockey fan, said. “The Olympics is a huge event. I have memories my whole life watching with my family and now I do it in the mornings with my own kids.”
In fact, the band loves the games so much they even performed at the 2015 Special Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Sure it sucks to be dealing with this strange identity crisis, but Roberge is doing his best to be a good sport (ha ha) and admitted he loves hearing the color commentator say O.A.R. 30 times a day.
“I’m trying to enjoy it, and we’re athletic by proxy now at this point,” he added, joking that the band should update its bios to include Team OAR’s Olympic achievements and stats.
The O.G. O.A.R
The Russian athletes have been dominating OAR coverage lately, but Roberge reminded us that the O.G. O.A.R. stands for “Of A Revolution” and only has five members: himself, Benj Gershman, Chris Culos, Richard On, and Jerry Depizzo.
“When we came up with the name we were in the basement of our drummer’s house like most bands in high school are,” he said, sharing the name came from a story he was writing at the time called “The Wanderer.”
“We thought that we were making a new kind of music and we thought it was different,” he said. “And people will always wonder what the first word before ‘of’ is and we’ll always keep that a secret among the band.”
The band was originally called “Exposed Youth” in their middle school years, but they wouldn’t have made Olympics coverage with that one so good call on the switch.
What to do if you stumbled upon this band for the first time while Googling the Olympics
Maybe you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades and had never heard of the band O.A.R. until Googling the Olympics. That’s a little embarrassing, but Roberge has got you covered. He thinks potential fans who happen upon O.A.R. in their quest for Olympics knowledge should do the following:
Listen to the band’s first recording: “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker”
Listen to their newest single, “Just Like Paradise”
Listen to an old hit like “Shattered,” “Peace,” or “Heaven”
After this diverse range of songs you will probably know if you’re a fan of band O.A.R. or not. But if you’re still not sure I personally recommend watching the iconic training scene from the 2006 film, She’s The Man. Channing Tatum teaches Amanda Bynes to play soccer as O.A.R.’s “Love and Memories” plays in the background and it’s beautiful.
While the Olympics buzz was unexpected, it really couldn’t have come at a better time for the band. “It’s the most coverage we’ve had ever,” Roberge quipped, which is ideal considering O.A.R. dropped their new single, “Just Like Paradise,” on Monday.
“The song is intended to be an early taste of summer and we really everybody we know needs a little more brightness in their lives,” he said. “A lot of crazy stuff’s going on and we just wanted something that would make people happy.”
The band also has an upcoming tour planned this summer, so if you’re a fan now you can go check that out. Until then, you can catch the other OAR on the Olympics.