It's fair to say that the members of O.A.R. are, er, charged up about this year's Summer Olympics.
The quintet is part of the festivities thanks to "Champions," a track it recorded with B.o.B. for battery maker Duracell that's available for free download via its Facebook page. "It's a tune for the underdog and to kind of get you pumped and get you excited and motivate you towards your goal," explains saxophonist Jerry DePizzo. "It certainly evokes the spirit of an athlete, but you can also put it in the artistic mind, the hunger and drive it takes to succeed in life and believe what you can do something or believe in yourself. That's where we're coming from, and that's something that can relate to anybody or any situation."
DePizzo says the initial charge for "Champions" was "to write a song that kind of evoked the spirit of the Olympics and the American athlete." It was also pitched as "a collaboration between two different genres of artists," and B.o.B. was "at the top of our list" to partner on the song. "We like his solo stuff and what he did with Bruno Mars," DePizzo explains. "We put our O.A.R. flavor on it, then B.o.B. came in and did his thing. It was pretty cool to watch him work. We played through the tune a couple of times and I thought he was texting, but he was writing down lyrics. He went in with his iPhone and knocked it out in two or three takes. He was really pro about it."
The only downside, of sorts, to the project? O.A.R., which is on its usual summer tour of North America, won't be able to make it to London to check out any of the games. "There was a shot for it to happen, but it didn't end up working," DePizzo says. "I would've loved to have gone. It would've been really, really cool, but at least we're a part of it with ('Champions'). And we think it will live on past the campaign, too."
O.A.R. certainly isn't lacking for things to do, however. The group filmed its July 15 concert at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre -- "Just a really magical night," DePizzo says -- for a fourth-quarter DVD release, while the group is just starting to get to work on its follow-up to its 2011 album "King," though DePizzo doesn't expect O.A.R. will be using any of the remaining tracks worked on while recording that album.
"I think we ended up with somewhere near 20 songs, but knowing us everything is just going to be a fresh start," he explains. "Everyone's got a bunch of ideas about it. We'll working on it for the rest of this tour and then get into the fall and start recording in October-November." DePizzo says O.A.R. has "talked about a couple different producers" but is also talking about handling the album on its own.
"I think we've had enough experience in this thing that we knew what we need to do," he says. "We know that trusting our own instincts has always yielded the best success. I think it'll be five guys in a room recording tunes; that's a pretty simple, broad way of putting it, but I think these days we're putting less emphasis on what we think other people expect. After 15 years we're pretty confident that if we just write honestly and from the heart, people will connect with it."