The band train has been riding the tracks of success again with its October 2009 release “Hey Soul Sister” from the album Save Me San Francisco. Based in San Francisco, California, the title of their album seems pretty apt. The song has already spent sixteen weeks on Billboards Hot 100, sitting at #7 on the week of January 30, 2010. Train hasn’t witnessed such success of a single since it released “Drops of Jupiter” in 2001.
The band Train was formed in 1997 with members Patrick Monahan (lead vocals) and Rob Hotchkiss, (guitar and vocals). The two later recruited Jimmy Stafford on guitar, Charlie Colin on bass and Scott Underwood as drummer. The group began touring nationally in 1997, opening concerts for groups such as Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows. The group was quickly signed by Columbia Records label Aware Records. Their song “Free” saw significant airplay on mainstream rock radio. It was followed by the hit single “Meet Virginia” a song that became a top 20 hit.
Before releasing their second album, the band issued another single, “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me). Not realizing the success of the song, it entered the Hot 100 on March 10, 2001 and spent 53 weeks on the chart. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song as well as a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement. The song’s writer Pat Monahan stated the song was written about a dream he had regarding his mother’s death. The album became Train’s first multi-platinum.
In June 2003 the band released its third album My Private Nation. Its single “Calling All Angels” drew great attention to the album, as the song became Train’s third top 20 hit. Other hits on the album included “When I Look To The Sky”, a song used as a trailer for the 2004 movie Jersey Girl. In 2004, their non-album song “ordinary” was featured in the Spider-Man 2 movie and later on NBC’s Heroes.
After this, Train struggled. They released their fourth album For Me, It’s You in 2005. It was Train’s first album to fail commercially. With this, the band decided to take a break in November 2006. Lead singer Pat Monahan released a solo album Last of Seven on September 18, 2007. Single’s “Her Eyes” was released in July with second single “Two Ways to Say Goodbye” following. Staying separated didn’t last long. In April of 2009 the band returned to its three original members, leaving them without Johnny Colt and Brandon Bush. It was then they released their first single in over 3 years, “Hey Soul Sister”. Monahan later commented how important the break was for the band.
“I think taking time away from each other really made the heart grow fonder,” Monahan said. “We realized how important we were to one another and taking a few years off helped us all really look at ourselves and what we could contribute to this band as opposed to what we weren’t getting from the band.”
The title of the new album “Save Me San Francisco” was named due to the band’s identity tied so deeply with the city. The group said they wanted to pay homage to the Bay Area metropolis, a place the band holds dear to them. “Save Me San Francisco” is an autobiographical account of Train’s beginnings, and embodies not only the spirit of the album, but also the soul of Train as a band. Band members’ say the song’s lyrics take the listener through the three-piece’s humble start in the mid-90s up through the time when Monahan, in particular, left the City by the Bay. “It’s very related to my existence, but Jimmy, Scott and I have been through a lot together in the last 14-15 years, so it represents a lot to them, too, because they don’t reside in San Francisco anymore, and we all miss it,” Monahan said.
Critics say the album taps into Train’s organic sound, recalling the blues and folk-infused rock that put the band on the map from the start. “It’s pretty basic,” Monahan explains of the record. “But really cool because there’s super catchy riffs and melodies in it, which I think are way more important that any production trick or great-sounding vocal production. It’s kind of us going backward so we can go forward.”
The band is currently touring with Butch Walker and the Black Widows. We haven’t seen the last of Train yet.
Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.