Inspired by The Stand, the epic novel by horror writer Stephen King, O.A.R. lead singer Marc Roberge tells the story of this equally epic song - their first hit with the indie underground. "I'm a huge Stephen King fan, and I read The Stand in 7th and 8th grade constantly – constantly. I put it in this little leather book holder, I'd sit in class and just read it over and over. I loved the story. It was like the Bible, it was like the classic wanderer story. And at the time, I was writing a story called 'The Wanderer,' and I just felt inspired. But fast forward four years, I went over to Israel for high school, transferred over there for a semester. And I had a really bad night. I came home to my dorm and I wanted to start writing a song. It was about a card game with the devil, how it would be if you were tested constantly and you were in a card game. So the first half of the song was written there, the fast up-tempo part. And then we came back to the States and I cleared up a lot of my head, and I was in a really good place. And we started playing the second half of the song, which is kind of cut in half time, so more of an island feel. And that was because I felt that things had slowed down. It was one of the first songs we ever wrote as a band. And that was it. It just went along the story, this guy is losing all his money, all his gold, all his possessions, all his sh*t, but in the end, the devil couldn't convince him to give up his soul, so he decided to walk on his own. And it was inspired by that story, walking, meeting people, and that song then led to a couple of other songs on that record, 'About An Hour Ago,' 'Black Rock,' about this guy going around and picking up strangers and different characters. And I thought that was really fun. I want to do that again on another record, just kind of tie them all in together."
About his arguably best known novel, Stephen King says, "For a long time - ten years, at least - I had wanted to write a fantasy epic like The Lord of the Rings, only with an American setting. I just couldn't figure out how to do it. Then after my wife and kids and I moved to Boulder, Colorado, I saw a 60 Minutes segment on CBW (chemical-biological warfare). I never forgot the gruesome footage of the test mice shuddering, convulsing, and dying, all in twenty seconds or less. That got me remembering a chemical spill in Utah that killed a bunch of sheep. I remembered a news reporter saying, 'If the winds had been blowing the other way, there was Salt Lake City.' This incident later served as the basis of a movie called Rage, starring George C. Scott, but before it was released I was deep into The Stand, finally writing my American fantasy epic, set in a plague-decimated USA. Only instead of a hobbit, my hero was a Texan named Stu Redman, and instead of a Dark Lord, my villain was a ruthless drifter and supernatural madman named Randall Flagg. The land of Mordor was played by Las Vegas." (Check out our full interview with Marc Roberge.)