There was an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry was contemplating marriage. Kramer, in his inimitable style, says, "Do you know what marriage is? It's a prison. You sit at the table and you say, 'How was your day?' 'How was your day?'" And according to O.A.R. frontman Marc Roberge, that's the subject that shaped this song. Marc and his bandmates set the stage for a marriage of behavior by rote: "That vision of this couple just sitting at the table going through the motions, and this man has disengaged. He's out. His mind is completely out of this marriage. And she's saying to him, 'Hold on,' and asking him questions. She's saying, 'It's okay if you lock yourself up at the end of the day. It's all right if you let yourself go.' And it's saying all these things, but it's also saying, 'Hold on, there's something here.' 'Hold on, you gotta remember, you gotta be strong.' And in the end, I think the guy does realize how special it is."
This song was written around the year 2000. The band's decision to not include it on an album was overruled by their fans, who the band listens to, and whose opinions they respect. "We play it literally once a year," says Marc. "And on the message boards our audience would always be listing certain songs they want to hear. They'd say, 'What's up with "Dinner Last Night"?' Because they've really heard a lot of the live stuff, they're very supportive. And we watch that stuff. We said, 'All right, let's give it a shot.' So we started playing it live again, and it was working, and then we tuned up the lyrics for the record, because a lot of these lyrics from the old songs are just kind of made up on the fly. The decision to include it on All Sides was definitely driven by fans saying they want to hear it."
Fame often presents a conundrum: the balance of respect between the band and the fans. Too many times a line gets crossed. The difficulty is in deciphering what is acceptable behavior. Fortunately for the members of O.A.R. the fans they've encountered are, for the most part, above the line, and Marc, for one, enjoys the camaraderie. "I got a wedding invitation to someone's wedding, and it wasn't weird. It was like I've known these people for ten years. A lot of these folks have been coming out for 8, 7, 6, 5, even a couple of years. But you get to know these people because they support you so much and they have stories. There's a guy, an FBI guy who comes, and I love seeing the FBI dude, because he gives me cool hats and sh*t. It's really an interesting thing. A lot of teachers. I have a soft spot for teachers, so any teachers who come I'm always willing to give them tickets or something."
"I guess we don't fit into that category of the crazy party girls. It's just not like that. It's like a big high school reunion or something. The other night I was in Ohio playing at the Newport, where I haven't played in years, and we were doing this show for the Michigan game. And I walk out the back after soundcheck and there's this kid that I recognize from the shows. And I'm like, 'Hey, what are you doing here?' He's like, 'Oh, man, I just flew in.' And I said, 'Where are you from?' And he said, 'North Dakota.' I was like 'Holy sh*t.' He said, 'I had to see the Newport.' I said, 'Well where are you staying?' He was like, 'Oh, I don't have a room yet.' (laughing) It's like, 'Are you crazy?' And then he says, 'Well, all I know is that you're doing a radio show in Minnesota in a month, and there's no tickets. Can I have tickets?' And sure enough, a month later he e-mailed our manager and he showed up in Minnesota in the front row. I mean, this kid comes alone. In one way you want to say, 'Oh, is that weird?' And in another way, it's not. These folks just really like to be around people and have a good time. I've had some weird ones. I've had some pretty scary weird ones. But I just like prefer not to talk about them." (laughing)
The edges begin to blur when people are so willing to read something from song lyrics into their perception of their religion. Marc confesses, "It's always religious based. It's always dudes coming out with the Bible, 'Hey, man, your song, I know it's about this section.' I'm like, 'I have never... But... okay… cool, thanks.' And on one hand you're like, 'That's really sweet,' and on the other hand you're saying, 'That's kinda weird.' I don't know why that is, I don't know why Bible passages can scare you so much. And meanwhile, I'm a Jew from Maryland." (Check out our full interview with Marc Roberge.)