Train looks to ‘emotionally connect’ with fans on new album release
Train’s Bulletproof Picasso on Columbia Records is the follow up to 2012’s California 37, the band’s sixth studio album that features the Top 10 single ‘Drive By.’ The new album produced by previous Train collaborator, Butch Walker, is said to reflect frontman Pat Monahan's penchant for “distinctive musical stylings,” saying he’s always wanted to “emotionally connect with people through the songs.” Monahan adds he also wants to “get into people's lives with this album.” First single, ‘Angel In Blue Jeans,’ rose quickly into the Top 15 of Triple A and Adult Top 40 radio after only a month, and the song is currently No. 9 on the Mediabase Hot AC radio airplay chart.
Monahan says ‘Angel In Blue Jeans’ is about “dreaming about trying to find that woman that did a magical thing to you and then you wake up from the dream at the end and you’re laying next to her. And then you can relax,” he explains in an interview, adding all 12 songs on the record are unique. “In my opinion, this is our best collection of songs that we’ve ever put on one record,” he says. “It’s really great writing, really great melody. Overall, I think it’s our best work.” Other cuts on Bulletproof Picasso include the “combustible” title track, ‘Cadillac, Cadillac,’ ‘Just A Memory,’ ‘Give It All,’ and ‘The Bridge.’
Despite its early success, the band admits it was feeling that “mainstream cool” was beginning to elude them. In a bio posted on iTunes.com, Monahan claims his desire to record a commercial yet emotionally connected album required several ambitious goals that began with the writing of the new album. In addition, the band was faced with replacing original drummer Scott Underwood, who left the band amicably before production began.
Guitarist and Train co-founder Jimmy Stafford says the writing process behind Bulletproof Picasso began with the music or a melody. “That's been the case with most of Train's songs,” he tells CBS News. “One of the exceptions was with the Grammy-winning ‘Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me).’ That track started with Monahan coming up with the lyric ‘Now that she's back in the atmosphere.’ Everything else followed that one line,” explains Stafford. The current process is best-described as “fluid” with songs demoed as soon as they are written. “Then we go in the studio and kind of tear them apart and put them together again. And that's when it really starts to sound like Train,” reveals Stafford.
As for the future, Stafford says he and his bandmates believe they are still relevant. “I don't think any of us had any idea of where things were gonna go. It seems like radio still kind of cares and people still care,” he says. “I think the band is just in a really good place. We get along better than we ever have … [and] we're enjoying the process of writing, recording and touring together more than ever.”
The band currently made up of co-founders Monahan (vocals) and Stafford (lead guitar) are joined by Jerry Becker (rhythm guitar and piano), Hector Maldonado (bass), and Drew Shoals (drums). Train is on the road touring select major city venues including two nights at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles (Sept. 17-18); The Masonic in San Francisco (Sept. 21-22); Radio City Music Hall in New York City (Sept. 25); Weber State University in Ogden, Utah (Oct. 9); and Wine Amplified on the Las Vegas Strip (Oct. 10).
Watch Pat Monahan camp it up with Machete actor Danny Trejo in the official music video for ‘Angel In Blue Jeans,’ a new single from Train’s new album, Bulletproof Picasso.
As A Matter of Fact…
* The roots of Train began in San Francisco in 1993 when vocalist Pat Monahan left his Led Zeppelin cover band in Erie, Pa., to resettle in California. He met guitarist Rob Hotchkiss and the two played coffee houses and local clubs, sharing vocal duties with Hotchkiss on guitar and harmonica, while Monahan kept time on a modified conga drum.
* The duo decided to form a full band in 1994 by recruiting guitarist Jimmy Stafford, bassist Charlie Colin, and drummer Scott Underwood. An attempt to sign with Columbia Records in 1996 initially fell through, so the band independently released its self-titled debut CD, scoring a hit with the Top 20 single ‘Meet Virginia.’
* In 1997, Train began touring nationally as the opening act for bands such as Barenaked Ladies, Hootie & the Blowfish, Cracker, and Counting Crows. Multi-platinum breakout album Drops of Jupiter was released by Columbia in 2001, and the title track single became an international hit, winning a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
* Train's platinum-selling third studio album, My Private Nation, appeared in 2003 led by the single ‘Calling All Angels,’ which peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and charted on the Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 charts as well.
* The 2009 album Save Me, San Francisco was another benchmark project featuring three top singles including the six-times platinum international hit, ‘Hey, Soul Sister,’ which picked up a Grammy as Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Follow up singles ‘If It's Love’ and ‘Marry Me’ also charted in the Top 40 of the Hot 100.
* Train supports Family House and other charities that help children through its Save Me San Francisco wine company. Family House serves as a “home away from home” for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses by providing free accommodations and emotional support.