Just out, new album 'Stories of a Stranger' is on O.A.R. bassist Benj Gershman's mind as the band's fall tour gets underway.

Our new record, "Stories of a Stranger," came out Oct 4. Talk about a sigh of relief... felt like we'd been working on it for years, though it was really just a whole year. The day it was released I was so busy with promotional stuff with the guys in NYC I really didn't get to look back and reflect on everything it took to get the record together.

In some ways, finding the producer was like finding our major label. We talked with so many different individuals trying to feel out who would be the best fit for us. We met a lot of talented people who we all knew (through their work) and respected because of it.

Anyway, we met Jerry Harrison and we all said, "No way in hell are we working with that guy!" Haha, just kidding Jerry... We all liked meeting him out in San Fran, he was pretty calm and really got into the show. He said good things about the band and noticed strengths and weaknesses, said he wanted to work with us, you know, a lot of things we had been hearing. But I think it was the way he said these things, sort of in a passive manner instead of saying, 'I really wanna get YOU to sound like THIS.' It was like, 'I wanna accentuate your strengths here and work on yours there.' We really felt a sort of connection through that approach.

It turned out to be the right match as we now love our record... it is the record we always knew we could make... stylistically varied, live sounding yet structured, energetic, hooky, full of stories and meaningful lyrics. We're so damn proud of it that I'm forcing myself to shut up now. That's enough of record talk, I'll write more next time on this subject.

So at present I'm at home. We took a couple days off for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. I would not play a show on it. It worked out nicely 'cause Marc needed to be with his family for something personal too. We were on the road last week and I'll talk about that now.

We did a string of dates, including one in New York City at this new venue, the Nokia Theatre... it's in Times Square and we did it as a CD release show. Great spot, I really liked the venue a lot. Fits about 2,200, two balconies, plush bleacher seating in the back for lazy asses who don't wanna stand/dance at a concert(?), a big floor area, and of course some bars for boozin... watch out teenagers, they'll bust ya...

That concert was fun, we did a few special things. Got backup singers, a horn section, really played the record live as it was recorded in the studio, yes the WHOLE RECORD... it was rad to do. We also covered "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel. An old favorite of mine... of course on the first note I played I was so nervous I hit a C-sharp instead D-sharp. Oops. Let’s see, Marc had his birthday surprise and the two lovely backup singer ladies sang to him. A tear falls as his cake is delivered

OK, that show rocked. We then did Charlottesville, Va., Penn State, Providence, R.I., and Ithaca, N.Y. All went well. Penn State was a bit scary cause we are Ohio State Buckeye Alumni... well sort of... we all went to school but only two of us graduated. :)

At any rate, they were yelling "*%$#*! Ohio State!" before we walked onstage. Luckily Marc handled it very well and they ended up not killing us. Which is nice.

Looking forward to our tour that is sort of in progress as we speak, yet on hiatus right now... strange, but great cause my butt likes my couch. I guess that's it, thanks for keeping an eye on our Billboard.com road journal.

Peace,
Benj