O.A.R. and OAR: Band from Rockville finds unlikely connection with Russia, Olympics

Russia and Rockville, together at last.

OK, it’s not exactly an obvious pairing, but thanks to the Winter Games, an odd connection has formed. That’s because, due to Olympic sanctions for a nationwide doping operation, Russian competitors are competing in South Korea as “OLYMPIC ATHLETE FROM RUSSIA.”

Or, as it’s been abbreviated: OAR.

Enter one of Maryland’s most successful contemporary bands: Rockville’s O.A.R. — which stands for Of a Revolution. The unlikely connection hasn’t been lost on the group, lead singer Marc Roberge told ESPN recently.

“At first I thought it would be a cool coincidence, maybe somebody would mention it on TV or something,” Roberge said. “But now, every single morning I’m getting phone calls, emails, text messages. Family, friends, strangers. It’s pretty wild to think somebody is watching the Olympics and thinking of us.”

The group saw a 46 percent increase in Spotify streams between Feb. 9-16, the Washington Post reported.

Of course, Twitter took notice, too. Users suggested O.A.R. songs like “Shattered” and “Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes” should play when Russian athletes win gold. A sampling:

Despite the band’s new connection to Russia, Roberge said that won’t get him to root against his own country.

“I want to see the U.S. win,” he told ESPN. “But that makes it so weird. I’m watching the U.S. hockey team go down and get it pretty good from Russia and they just keep talking about OAR dominating over and over and over.”

A band for more than two decades, O.A.R. has been doing more than just watching the Olympics lately. Earlier this month, the group released the first single, “Just Like Paradise,” from its forthcoming album. This summer, the band will hit the road with Matt Nathanson, though no show is currently scheduled for the Baltimore area.

wesley.case@baltsun.com

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