While ZZ Top has had the same three members since 1969, it’s rare for a rock band to maintain the same lineup for 20 years. O.A.R., performing with guests Welshly Arms and Huntertones at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Saturday, June 22, surpassed that milestone several years ago.
“We have a mutual appreciation and respect for each and that goes a long way,” Jerry DePizzo said. “One of the things I take the most pride in with O.A.R. is we are remarkably democratic to this day. It’s rare and unique and that’s probably why we’re still a band.”
For the new album, “The Mighty,” DePizzo (saxophone, rhythm guitar, vocals) and band mates Marc Roberge (vocals, rhythm guitar), Richard On (lead guitar, vocals), Benj Gershman (bass) and Chris Culos (drums, percussion) worked again with frequent collaborator Gregg Wattenberg.
“Gregg does a great job and we enjoy working with him and his team up in New York,” DePizzo said. “On this one, we worked with PomPom. She’s a female producer (named Kellen Pomeranz) that grew up in the Cincinnati area.
“She was up in New York as part of Gregg’s team and that was somebody who grew up on O.A.R.,” DePizzo continued. “She has a fresh perspective on music today so it was a lot of fun and really a great challenge to bring things to the table and have a fresh, female perspective.”
As a tie-in to the new album, O.A.R. has a new beer, The Mighty Lager, being released in mid-June by Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland.
“Everybody and their cousin has a fermenting bucket in their basement and wants to do a beer with somebody, but the Great Lakes folks are fantastic and they had the footprint and the reach to really hit our touring markets,” DePizzo said. “We’ve wanted to do a beer for a very long time and it took us four years to find the right partner. Great Lakes has a lot of other delicious beers as well and they’re just great to work with. Dayton is one of the venues carrying it this summer so we’re excited.”
While O.A.R.’s 25th anniversary is looming in 2021, DePizzo says the group is still on the rise.
“In a lot of ways, we keep growing, whether it’s in specific markets or just as musicians and band members,” he said. “There’s a lot of room yet for us to grow and as long as we can do that and keep people coming to the shows, we’ve got a good thing going.”
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