Volume 93, Issue 52
Wednesday, December 1, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Train just keeps on comin'
Photo by Rick Diamond
BETCHA THE GUY ON THE RIGHT WAS THE FIRST TO PASS OUT. Alternative crooners Train stop in to talk about life on commercial radio and their debut self-titled album.
By Luke Rundle
Rare is the band which eschews glitz and glamour to embrace a hardworking, honest approach to their music.
Rarer still is the band which prefers to bring their music to their fans live, rather than making a video destined for airplay ad nauseam on music stations. California rockers Train are one of the few remaining bands in the popular spectrum, who embrace the notion that hard work truly pays off.
Last year's release of their debut self-titled album shows the union of Patrick Monahan (vocals), Jimmy Stafford (guitar/vocals), Rob Hotchkiss (guitar/vocals), Scott Underwood (drums) and Charlie Colin (bass) has yielded great dividends. In addition to landing impressive opening slots for the likes of the Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Collective Soul, Blues Traveler and many others, Train have also had their songs "Free" and "Meet Virginia" featured on shows such as Party of Five and Dawson's Creek.
"We've been on the road touring the United States and Canada for about two years now and we've become a very road-worthy band," says lead singer Monahan. "It's important to us, because there are a lot of bands out there that sell a lot of records and no one wants to see them live. We don't want that. When we play live, we want there to be people there and the way for us to ensure that is to earn it. All we're doing right now is trying to earn it."
And trying to earn it for a while, as the band's early years were slow and steady, to say the least. In fact, one could almost trace the band's course of success in vehicular terms.
"We started a tour two years ago in an '87 Dodge Ram that ended up breaking down in Nebraska. So we had to rent a U-Haul and got a bunch of moving blankets and pretty much rode in the back of this U-Haul with our gear," Monahan recalls. "Then we started our next tour with a '97 Dodge van that lasted us a year and now we've got a decent tour bus. So everything has been a gradual growth."
However, this is exactly the way Monahan and his bandmates want their musical ride to be constantly improving and enduring. "If you become too popular too fast, you can also become unpopular just as fast. A nice, even route would be in our best interest, so that's the way we would like to have it," Monahan explains. "We're evolving still and we'll see by our third record where we are and how people consider us. I hope we evolve like U2 has, where by the fifth record they're still making great records that have hits on them."
With all their recent successes, however, the question of being classified as "one-hit wonders" has to weigh on the minds of Train's members. Monahan, however, has no anxieties over the prospect.
"It's just become a topic lately. I don't think any of us are worried about it as much as other people are," he states. "We've already made an EP that has a bunch of new music on it and when it's time to make a record, we have more material that we know what to do with, so we're going to get in there and spend a couple of months and make a great record."
As for the future, Train seems content to keep on rumbling along a leisurely route to fame and fortune. "We're gonna finish up this tour on the 12th of December and then we're going to go to Los Angeles and do some television stuff, like Craig Kilborn, Martin Short and there's a chance I'll do Politically Incorrect, so we're pretty busy," Monahan says.
"In the new year, we're not sure what's going to happen, but we may record, we may go to Europe, we'll maybe tour again, we just don't know. We're just having a good time right now."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999