Behind The Scenes

O.A.R. provides the backbeat

O.A.R. performing live at Stage AE in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, July 20th. (Credit: Joe Scalfaro)

O.A.R. (short for Of A Revolution, Twitter handle @ofarevolution ) has provided music for ESPN’s coverage of the College Baseball World Series for a number of years. Some song titles include Wonderful Day, One Shot, and This Town.

This fall, O.A.R. will provide many of the tracks heard during ESPN’s presentation of college football.

Providing music for ESPN’s college platforms is something the band really enjoys.

The band members are huge sports fans. All attended The Ohio State University and are huge Buckeye fans.

I recently caught up with Jerry DePizzo, saxophone and guitar player for O.A.R., and asked him what it’s like working with ESPN, his thoughts on Ohio State’s recent football controversy and much more.

FR: You guys are big sports fans and were the College World Series artist for a number of years and are going to be involved with ESPN’s music during the college football season. What’s it like having your music featured on ESPN?

JD: It’s been a great experience for me. Personally, the only thing I watch and listen to is ESPN programming and sports radio. I’m a big sports fan and love what ESPN does. It’s great to hear our music used in conjunction with sports, because it’s something I feel really passionately about. Sports and music are my two real passions in life. With the College World Series and College Football programming, that’s our audience and core demographic. It’s great to have that kind of exposure; it’s a great opportunity for us.

FR: You guys are big Ohio State fans. What are your thoughts surrounding the recent controversy with the Ohio State football team and former coach Jim Tressel?

JD: I live in Columbus, Ohio. It’s certainly been a trying couple of months. I think when you build a reputation on integrity and honesty and you do the opposite, you can’t help what happens. I certainly understand the outcome and it’s unfortunate that Jim Tressel had to go. But I think that’s one side to him. He’s certainly done a lot of great things in the community, helping young people, helping other communities like Youngstown {Ohio], where I grew up. It’s unfortunate to see it happen. As far as the program, I’m still a Buckeye fan. I’m still rooting for the Buckeyes football team this year and pulling for them to have a successful season.

FR: A few years back you guys got to play at the MLB All-Star Home-Run Derby in Pittsburgh. What was that like?

JD: Another great experience for us. It started a relationship that we’ve had with the Pirates for a number of years now and they’ve been great to us, always been very accommodating. We’ve done after game performances for them over the past couple of years. My opinion is always put us in front of people, give us a chance to succeed and impress. I always appreciate those opportunities to go to a ballpark, where I watched games as a kid. It was pretty special and unique for me.

Jerry DePizzo from O.A.R. (Credit: Peter O’Hare)

FR: What are your favorite sports to watch and who are your favorite teams?

JD: My favorite sport is NFL football. I love college football in the sense that I’m a big Buckeye fan and I hardly ever miss a Buckeye game. I could watch any NFL football game. I think it’s perfect for TV. Watching on TV is something I love to do. But in the summertime nothing beats going to the ballpark and watching a good baseball game. Growing up in Youngstown, led me to become a big Indians fan, but I’m also a big Boston Red Sox fan. Growing up I collected Roger Clemens baseball cards.

FR: Out of everybody in the group, who is the best athlete?

JD: I would say our drummer Chris Culos. I believe he’s running a triathlon in Chicago coming up in a few months. I certainly couldn’t touch that. I would say he’s by far the best athlete.

FR: What is your most memorable sports moment?

JD: I have two actually. I remember [Denver Broncos quarterback] John Elway’s “drive” against the [Cleveland] Browns during the 1986-87 AFC Championship game. I just remember the whole family sitting around the TV rooting for the Browns to pull through. I remember them losing that game in the fashion that they did and remember crying as a kid. It was probably the only time I cried about sports to be honest. I still remember it like it was yesterday, it certainly was a memorable moment.

The second would have to be when Peyton Manning and the [Indianapolis] Colts came back from a 21-point deficit against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2003 regular season. Watching Manning in the fourth quarter, for me, transcended the position of quarterback into an art form. Watching what he did was absolutely unbelievable. It made me a huge Peyton Manning fan and he is one of my favorite NFL players and sports figures.

FR: What are your favorite ESPN shows?

JD: I’m a SportsCenter junkie. I’m one of those guys that can watch it five times in a row and not get bored. I love Around The Horn and I like listening to The Herd with Colin Cowherd. I enjoy Colin’s perspective and think he does a really good job.

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