Have you ever been to Rockville, Maryland? I haven't, but I want to. Besides being the birthplace of Jamshid Amouzegar, the former Prime Minister of Iran and famed film director Spike Jonze, Rockville also has a "friendship relationship" (one step below being a sister city) with Jiaxing in the People's Republic of China. That's a lot of very strange and intriguing things to be wrapped up in a small city with over 60,000 people. I want to go to Black Rock, but it doesn't even have to be physical...I want to go to "Black Rock" in my mind. Let me explain...
O.A.R., or Of A Revolution, is an American rock band that has delighted fans with their "jam rock" style of music for two decades. There is a casual, yet professional vibe that makes them infectious to me. To expound upon this, I can tell you that while their music sounds effortless, there are many components. You can find the same level of musical mastery in the studio as you find on the stage. I'm rarely left unsatisfied by an O.A.R. jam, but "Black Rock" hits the spot like none other.
When you hear the first version of "Black Rock," recorded on 1997's "The Wanderer," it is somewhat lackluster. A little bit fast, a little unspirited, and a whole lot of potential fill out the undertones of what would become my favorite song.
But then, as jam bands typically do, they started performing it live and it just got better and better. There are multiple live recordings of "Black Rock." They have some things in common, but every live recording has it's own idiosyncrasies and special bits of white guy, reggae magic. Things in common are as follows:
- There is always the Black Rock
- There is always guitars
- Fighting alone is always the worst damn way that you can fight
- There is always an old man (spoiler alert, his name is Old Man Time)
Sometimes there is blood pouring all over Mark Roberge, but no matter what happens in the midst of the song...no matter where it takes him, he brings it back to his desire for love to be an all-encompassing force in our lives. I have great affection for these live recordings and collected them into Spotify and Youtube playlists to share. I think that you will like them as well.
So, bump one of these playlists in your car with your windows down or in your living room while you dance like no one is watching...because "Black Rock" by O.A.R. is What's Good, Scott.