Frontman Marc Roberge and his rock band O.A.R. are returning to San Francisco this weekend in triumph, with three sold-out Independent shows, each promising a different set list. Their jubilant new effort “The Rockville LP,” which comes June 10, is frothing with celebratory new anthems like “Peace,” “Two Hands Up” and “We’ll Pick Up Where We Left Off” – tracks every bit as addictive as the No. 1 breakthrough single “Shattered (Turn the Car Around).”
The band’s victory is over serious misfortune, as well.
“After ‘Shattered,’ we had some success, played The Garden, everything was on track,” says Roberge, the whiskey-voiced singer who has a keen ear for great pop hooks.
“Then one day, my amazing, beautiful wife walked in and said, ‘You know that thing we were talking about that bothered me? I went to the doctor, the biopsy came back and I have cancer.’ And that was when the world just stopped.”
O.A.R. had been finishing a “Shattered” followup album, called “King,” at the time, three years ago.
“But it came and went,” says Roberge, who didn’t leave his spouse’s side to promote it.
It was touch and go for a while. Roberge’s spouse endured several major surgeries, after which the Manhattan-based couple regularly returned to their hometown of Rockville, Md., to be near friends and relatives.
“It was a very turbulent time, and the band got put on the back burner,” he says. “But no one was complaining about it.”
In fact, the members frequently returned with him, until ‘The Rockville LP’ concept began to coalesce in a wave of nostalgia.
Roberge began driving the same scenic back roads he zoomed down in his youth, hitting the old familiar haunts, back when he first formed O.A.R. with his high school buddies.
“The city and the people and the landscape and the forest – that was the catalyst,” he says. “And all those records we made in the beginning when we were just kids in Rockville.” Soon, they were evoking memory-lane material like the reggae-flavored “Favorite Song,” the sonic equivalent of an 1980s teenager’s poster-plastered bedroom.
“So this album was written, recorded and processed by those repeated trips back to Maryland,” says Roberge, who also co-produced it.
“And we came out the other side of it – my wife is completely cancer-free now. But the people that stand by you, that support you on every level during such times? That was really inspiring, and helped us find the restart button.”
IF YOU GO
: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F
: 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday
: $30 (sold out)
: (415) 771-1421, www.ticketfly.com