Live at Birchbox HQ: O.A.R.

Just two months shy of their band’s eighth studio album, The Rockville LP (coming in June), O.A.R. members Jerry DePizzo, Marc Roberge, and Richard On stopped by the Birchbox office for an up-close acoustic set.

Strumming songs like “Peace” (the forthcoming album’s lead single), “Shattered (Turn the Car Around),” and “Heaven,” the group’s Wednesday evening performance was a far cry from the sold-out stadiums the guys are accustomed to at this stage in their careers. Taken with the scenery, lead singer and guitarist Roberge paused between songs, looking around to examine Birchbox’s open floor plan, bright walls, and colorful desks.

“If I ever quit making music, I’m working here.”

And, by grooming standards, all three of these guys could hack it. On and DePizzo have perfected their high-and-tights. Roberge, for his part, was apologetic for wearing a hat. “Once I put it on, it’s all over for the day. I wish I could show off my hair but it’s molded to the hat right now,” he said. Oh, don’t get us started on hat hair, good sir.

"We’re always doing photos or meeting people, so we realized grooming was an important part of touring. Skin and hair both," said DePizzo as the trio quietly signed posters prior to the performance.

On interrupted him: “Is your hair product water soluble?”

DePizzo hadn’t ever thought about it.

“Like, when you rinse it out with water, does it all come out? Or can you still feel it in there?” On seemed genuinely concerned for his bandmate’s hair.

“It comes out, but that’s because I’m using shampoo,” replied DePizzo.

“Hopefully only every other day,” On added. “Don’t shampoo every day.”

DePizzo, laughing, then stated the obvious. “Richard turned us all on to product.”

Amidst a hectic touring schedule, this kind of easy banter is commonplace for the band. They’ve been together since the mid-90s. DePizzo joined the group in 2000 when all five members were attending The Ohio State University. The other four—Roberge, On, Chris Culos, and Benj Gershman—had been playing together for years since growing up together in Rockville, MD. These days, they’re spread across the country. Lead vocalist Roberge lives in New York, as does bassist Gershman, who is soon moving to San Diego. Saxophonist DePizzo is in Columbus, OH, drummer Culos in Nashville, and guitarist On in Arlington, VA.

Despite life taking them in various directions, their home bases keep them grounded. “Getting home is the rock of our lives,” said On. “We’ve made a rule saying that we’ll get home once a week to see our families. We always build consecutive days off into our breaks. If things are good at home, then things are good on the road.”

Water-soluble hair product helps on the road, too.

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