When you hear that people have gone to see the group O.A.R. not two times, or three times, but 16 times or 30 times or more than 100 times, it really makes you wonder about the word comfort.
What exactly makes people feel so comfortable that they want to go back again and again and again over decades? The way they might keep seeking out a treasured piece of clothing in the closet. They never get tired of it. It always makes them feel happy and even energized.
Obviously, there are songs that bring everyone back to the happy time in their lives when they first heard it. Like O.A.R.’s That was a crazy game of poker. But I thought it had to be more than that.
So I went to meet lead singer Marc Roberge before a concert in San Diego to find out how the group bonded with its fans. It didn’t take long to understand. And in the end, I also realized why Marc and O.A.R. are among Sportiqe’s biggest fans. Because it all comes down to finding comfort in discomfort.
The time frame from 1999 to 2001 was deeply uncomfortable for many musicians. Before 1999, they lived in a long-established pattern. If people wanted music, they went to a record store to buy it.
But then Shawn Fanning created the coding that allowed people to share audio over the Internet.
Shawn’s company, Napster, made it possible for people to share entire libraries of music over the Internet – for free. This changed the entire music industry. Record stores closed, singers and groups could no longer depend on CD sales to survive, and record companies had less resources to develop artists.
This was a threatening time for many in the music industry. And you’d think it would have been for O.A.R. That was a crazy game of poker was released in 1997. Suddenly, people didn’t have to pay to listen to it. Anybody could go on the Internet and get it for free. We have gotten use to this in this world of the iPhone and YouTube.
Back then, many musicians filed lawsuits to protect their material.
But as you can hear in these clips from my podcast with Marc, O.A.R. got comfortable in this time of great discomfort.
It’s no wonder that Marc has become so tight with Jason Franklin, one of the founders of Sportiqe. Because it’s a similar way of thinking and drive that created the sweats and comfy tees that band members reach for to be comfortable as they roll on to their next gig.
Comfort does not come easy. Which is why we appreciate it so much.
In a coming blog, I’m going to find out what hardships Jason and co-founder Matt Altman had to push through to make that soft fabric that keeps us reaching for it again and again and again . . .
--- Cal Fussman
Full podcast can be heard, here: