Summer tours have always been a staple for jam band O.A.R. (Of A Revolution) who, like Dave Matthews Band, rose to popularity in the mid 90’s thanks to their well-deserved reputation as one of the best live acts around. Currently in the midst of their Sounds of Summer Tour: 2013, O.A.R. guitarist Richard On called Gina J to talk all about the traditions the band has adopted after nearly two decades of summer touring, and more!
No summer show is complete without a solid opener, and this year, O.A.R. is bringing along singer/songwriters Andrew McMahon and Allen Stone. It’s the camaraderie between the bands that Richard On enjoys the most while on the road.
“It is literally like summer camp for us,” said On. “We hang out all day, we play together, and at the end of our set we bring everyone out on stage and we do a song together… then we go out afterward!”
Not keeping things too routine during the tour, On explained that the bands always have some light-hearted fun at each other’s expense.
“It’s tradition that every summer tour you prank the opening band, and vice versa. There is the typical baby powder on the snare drum… taping the keyboard player’s keys with clear tape, so when he hits the first note all the keys hit… silly stuff like that.”
The guitarist recalled a time when the band’s whole crew even got in on the act. “We were touring with Robert Randolph, one time, and he has this part in his set where he would bring up girls from the crowd and they would come and dance on the stage… Instead, we had our crew dressed up in tutus, and when he called [the girls] to come up, our crew went up and danced!”
What does the band have in store for Andrew McMahon and Allen Stone this year?
“I don’t want to tell you,” On laughed. “Because what if they hear this interview, and they are waiting for it?”
O.A.R. will make a stop at the Toyota presents Oakdale Theater in Wallingford on July 26th, but fans can get a taste of what to expect beforehand with the recently released Live On Red Rocks— a DVD that documents the band’s live performance at Colorado’s famous amphitheatre last summer. Also included in the DVD is Standing on a Burning Hot Sun, a short feature that shows an inside glimpse at what goes on during their summer tour.
Those who purchase tickets to an O.A.R. show this summer will also be giving to the non-profit “Heard the World Fund” –another tradition the band has adopted throughout the years.
“We take fifty cents of every ticket that is sold and it goes into this fund,” explained On. “At the end of the year we choose a charity, a cause, or something that we are all passionate about, and we donate all the proceeds.”
“After a while, fifty cents of every ticket adds up,” he continued. “It ends up being a nice little contribution.”