We’re only halfway through March but it’s already been quite the year for Of A Revolution. The band found itself in the headlines for a rather unlikely reason to kick off 2018: Russian participants in the Winter Games were referred to as Olympic Athletes from Russia or… O.A.R. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for a little (read: a lot) of free, unexpected publicity; that week, the band O.A.R. announced a new single and the “Just Like Paradise Tour” featuring Matt Nathanson.
But well before the cross-country trek kicks off in July, the quintet from Maryland is hard at work on a benefit show for the Garden Of Dreams Foundation called “Concert For Dreams.” The lineup includes the aforementioned Nathanson along with fun frontman Nate Ruess, Run D.M.C. co-founder Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Goo Goo Dolls’ singer Johnny Rzeznik, Counting Crows lead Adam Duritz, Robert Randolph and Gavin DeGraw.
“When you come in and the lights go down, you’re going to hear some O.A.R. songs, you’re going to hear hits from each one of those artists, you’re going to hear cover songs of us performing them together and at the end of the night you’re going to get to hear everybody out there doing some very classic songs in a very big way,” O.A.R. lead singer Marc Roberge told me. “It is a real concert; this is not a fundraiser, it’s not a corporate event. This is a concert and that’s what it’s going to feel like and be.”
That said, funds will be raised; all proceeds from “Concert For Dreams” will be donated to Garden Of Dreams, the non-profit arm of the Madison Square Garden Company. The charity helps to improve the lives of children across the tri-state area while also helping them overcome obstacles.
Mariah Carey and fun. lead singer Nate Ruess each released new singles on Monday, both in support of albums due out later this year.
For Carey, “Infinity” marks a new chapter in both her personal and professional life. The song is the first from the songstress since separating from husband Nick Cannon. “Infinity” is also the only new recording on the compilation #1 to Infinity. The album will feature the latest track plus all 18 of Carey’s number one hits. It hits shelves May 18. Carey kicks off “Mariah #1 To Infinity,” her new residency at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace, on May 6.
Perhaps suprisingly, you could say the same in regards to “new chapters” for Ruess. His first solo single, “Nothing Without Love,” was actually meant for fun. But according to Rolling Stone, it was his new relationship with designer Charlotte Ronson (Mark’s sister) and the hiatus away from the GRAMMY-winning band that allowed him to begin writing the lyrics to the song. Ruess confided in the magazine that for the first time, he felt “comfortable in my own skin.” This revelation led the singer to keep “Nothing” for himself and continue on with his LP. Grand Romantic will be released June 16. The artist dropped a second song from the album, “AhHa” on Monday.
A couple of pop radio staples released new singles on Monday to their eager fan bases.
After months of rumors and Instagram photos, the world finally got to hear the single that DJ/producer Zedd and Selena Gomez collaborated on. While speculation ran rampant over their personal relationship, there is no doubt that the duo can combine to create a hit record in the studio. Zedd, nee Anton Zaslavski, is billed as the title artist on “I Want You To Know,” with Gomez as the feature. OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder told Billboard that he wrote the single and gave it to Zedd.
Monday also marked the return of FUN. lead singer Nate Ruess. The front man is working on a solo album and unveiled “Nothing Without Love” as the first single.
“I remember taking a trip upstate to finish the lyrics,” Ruess wrote on Facebook, “and returning thinking that I’d finally been able to say everything I’d ever been feeling in that moment, and it’s applied to my life in so many different ways ever since.”
Ruess calls it his favorite song that he’s written. No other details on his solo effort are available yet.
Jack Antonoff is not taking a break from fun. – the Grammy award winning group just performed a new song on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and is planning a new album. But in the meantime, the guitarist will segue to lead singer and return to “Fallon” for a performance with his band Bleachers, a reincarnation of pre-fun. outfit Steel Train.
The group has an indie-pop-electro 80’s vibe that uses synths, catchy hooks, and random loops to create songs with an anthemic quality to them.
Antonoff stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” to talk about the project, along with update listeners on fun. and talk about an interesting bet that went down over the 4th of July weekend between his band.
Antonoff also performed the lead single “I Wanna Get Better” and “Rolercoaster” on “Ralphie Tonight.”
It isn’t hard to remember where I was when Sandy hit our area a year ago. Only a few weeks in to my new gig at 95.5 PLJ, I broadcasted my show that Monday night as the storm ravaged New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. I’ll never forget looking out our studio windows throughout the course of the evening to see Manhattan become darker and darker as parts of the borough lost power. The sound of the wind hitting the building and metal scraps and trash bouncing off the concrete below are still very clear in my mind.
The weeks after were chaotic. Families trying to not only figure out what they lost, but how they would get it back. Communities figuring out what was appropriate in the aftermath of the devastation and what could wait – whether it be a marathon, Halloween, a sporting event, or other activity. Government leaders placing politics aside and actually unifying for once to help the people that they were elected to serve in the first place.
From a music perspective, the first thing that always comes to mind is the band fun. The trio is based in New York; Jack Antonoff and his family were living in New Jersey at the time. I caught up with them after an unforgettable rendition of “Carry On” on “Saturday Night Live” and asked them about not just the performance, but the feat of returning to New York for the gig.
“We flew to Atlanta, where our bus happened to be driving through to pick us up for tour anyways,” recalled lead singer Nate Ruess on “The Ralphie Show” last year. “We spent 19 hours on the road, and by the time we got in to New York, ‘Sandy’ had happened that night, so we kind of saw the devastation thereafter.”
On Tuesday night, as we marked the one-year anniversary of the storm on-air, a nurse called in while driving to work. Exactly one year ago, she was at that same job helping patients evacuate from NYU Langone Medical Center.
So many have already given so much to help these areas rebuild, yet there is still more to be done. Find out how you can assist in the recovery here.
Twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin recently had their 33rd birthday on September 19. How do you celebrate your birthday while supporting fun. on its “Most Nights” trek? Well, it involved a number of surprises, including a very special invited guest.
“It was arraigned that we’d have a meet and greet, and when we went in to the room to have the meet and greet, it was all of the band and crew, and a bunch of friends and family, and they had basically rented a monkey,” Sara recalled. “We got to hang out with the monkey, and take pictures with it, and it was totally a big surprise, and it was so fun.”
The duo played UCF Arena in Orlando later that evening, but for Sara, the birthday highlight was the monkey. While the sisters did not feel comfortable posting photos with the animal online, the guest of honor did receive a shout out on stage during their set.
For the record: Tegan and Sara do not believe monkeys should be pets. They also insist that this is not a Canadian thing (See: Justin Bieber).
“It was from a really awesome… zoo that has this program,” Tegan explained. “They have these ‘experiences’ that you can pay for, so it was from an actual zoo. It’s not like a ‘trained monkey;’ it wasn’t like doing tricks or anything like that.”
Tegan noted that they’ve met koalas and held them as well. Although carnivores, both sisters seem to really enjoy animals.
“I think it’s neat,” Tegan continued about the experience. “It really reminds you that these are beautiful, real creatures who deserve as much love as we… well, I guess we don’t always give humans that much love, but to be respected and loved and taken care of.”
Animals aside, the indie-pop outfit has had a summer filled with great experiences. In addition to the fun. tour, Tegan and Sara have now witnessed first-hand the benefits of radio airplay with their hit, “Closer.”
“We wanted to make a record that wouldn’t immediately eliminate us from getting radio,” Sara said of Heartthrob, the band’s seventh studio album. “We have a great career, but there were certain things that we just never achieved.”
An album with their highest first week sales, a song regularly played on pop radio, and a performance on “The Today Show” are a few of the things that the ladies can check off if they feel so inclined.
“Maybe it’s our age, but we had finally gotten to a point where we were like, ‘Why are we limiting ourselves?’” Tegan said. “We absolutely saw so many awesome bands, like fun. and Gotye, reaching a much larger audience, and they’re both very intelligent, awesome, articulate pop-rock bands.”
Translation: The idea that you can sell a lot without “selling out” isn’t monkey business after all.
Nate Ruess told Rolling Stone that this track was ready for Some Nights but didn’t make the final cut due to a sample not clearing. The song was re-worked without the sample and offered up to fellow New Yorker Lena Dunham for the “Girls” soundtrack. Season two of the HBO series kicks off this Sunday, and the compilation album is available in stores now.
It was literally an unprecedented 2012 for the band fun. The group scored a worldwide anthem in “We Are Young” and six Grammy nominations from the critically acclaimed Some Nights. The trio comprise the first rock band to score Grammy nods in the four major categories.
This track is excellent, and is featured on a Christmas compilation album currently sold at Starbucks.
They did not face the destruction, or the heartbreak, that many in the tri-state area dealt with. But, it has still been an eventful week and a half by almost anyone’s standards for the band fun. The group spent a day in the UK, and was supposed to land back in New York the night Sandy wrecked the Northeast. That flight was shelved, and as airlines began to cancel thousands of flights, fun. began to wonder how it would return back to the States in time to rehearse and perform on “Saturday Night Live.”
“We flew to Atlanta, where our bus happened to be driving through to pick us up for tour anyways,” recalled lead singer Nate Ruess on “The Ralphie Show.” The band sat down for an interview on Wednesday night, as it prepared to perform an event in New York for Google Wallet while yet another storm hit the Empire State. “We spent 19 hours on the road, and by the time we got in to New York, ‘Sandy’ had happened that night, so we kind of saw the devastation thereafter.”
The trio lives in the tri-state area, and while Ruess and keyboardist Andrew Dost escaped any harm, guitarist and New Jersey resident Jack Antonoff hasn’t been able to return to his place yet – although he said there was no damage due to the hurricane.
“I just can’t get my crap, which I think in the scheme of things is probably the least people were affected,” Antonoff said. “All of us know people who have had really crazy stuff happen in the storm.”
Antonoff admitted that he didn’t think “Sandy” would wreak as much havoc as it did, due in part to the lack of potency surrounding last year’s “Irene” storm.
“’Irene’ last year was like, a tree kind of dinged my house, and that was the worst thing that happened in our neighborhood,” said Antonoff. “I think (underestimating ‘Sandy’ due to ‘Irene’) is exactly what happened.”
Dost noted that the entire “SNL” crew was super-accommodating as the unorthodox week unfolded. Then Saturday, fun. performed the title track from Some Nights and “Carry On” during the show. You couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song off the band’s latest album – and certainly the fact that it’s LP’s next single and the music video was filmed in Manhattan doesn’t hurt the notion.
“It was something I didn’t think about too much until someone brought it up,” Ruess acknowledged of the song’s relevancy to the events of the week. “I don’t want to say that it’s fortuitous that we have a single coming out that’s called, ‘Carry On.’ Yunno, I think it made the song more special for us… it was the right time and it was a very emotional moment for us on ‘Saturday Night Live’ performing that song.”
The singer confessed that his nerves ratcheted up a bit for the performance – to the point where he threw back a cocktail to calm down – but was careful not to drink too much.
“The crazy thing about this year is that we started out – the first thing that we did was the day Some Nights came out we had done Conan O’Brien,” Ruess said. “That was the first big TV we had done, and I just remember being a mess.”
Just eight months later, fun. has performed on pretty much every TV show that welcomes a band on to play a song.
“It’s crazy how much more you get desensitized to it,” Ruess said. “With ‘SNL,’ even for a second it was like, ‘Oh my God this is live, I could like trip and fall.’”
Interestingly enough, the entire band not-so-secretly carries this insecurity – as if to be careful not to become an Internet meme or punch line with a single misstep. Listening to Antonoff confirm Ruess’ fear, and Dost recall a time in high school where he was picked on, you would never think these three men have toured the globe, conquered late-night TV, and delivered one of the biggest anthems of 2012 to the masses.
Then you realize fun. did all of that, and then some, in only eight months. It’s pretty crazy, by almost anyone’s standards.