Welcome to another installment of inteREview, where we (can’t stress enough that we don’t really) sit down with some of our (least) favorite musicians for a collaborative reviewing process where they (DO NOT ACTUALLY) share some thoughts on their past work. Today, we’ve got Pat Monahan, lead vocalist from the band Train.
: Pat, let’s start out with a little history of the band. You guys have been all over pop radio in the last couple of years, but you’ve actually been around for well over a decade. Why do you think you’ve become such a hot item lately?
Pat Monahan: Gosh, I just don’t know. It’s hard for me to keep track of where our career’s gone. But I do remember that song "Drops Of Jupiter" getting a lot of airplay back in 2001 and thinking to myself, "Boy, I hope this doesn’t lead to us becoming one-hit wonders!" But then my mom reminded me that we’d actually already had a hit song a couple years before that called "Meet Virginia", which still kind of perplexes me, because I’ve heard it probably a thousand times on the radio and I still don’t think that’s one of our songs. I think my mom’s a little confused.
UG: “Meet Virginia” is a great tune.
PM: I know and I really wish it was one of ours. It sounds more like "Sister Hazel", though. It might be theirs. Or what was that band? "Five For Fighting"? Maybe they put that one out. I’m not sure.
UG: [Verifies on Wikipedia.] Actually, that one came off your self-titled debut.
PM: Huh. Who knew?
UG: Let’s fast-forward a little and talk about "California 37".
UG: Is that all right?
PM: Sure. I just thought we could discuss our most recent album.
UG: ...That is your most recent album, isn’t it?
PM: Is it? [Long pause] You’re right. Sorry about that. Sometimes they all blend together.
UG: That’s ok. I certainly understand how that could happen. Now, "California 37" has already spawned two major hits. Do you expect any others to go to radio?
PM: Absolutely. We try to put at least five or six songs from every album out as singles because we don’t want people forgetting about us like they did a few years ago. I’m not 100 percent sure what our next one will be, but I can say “Sing Together” has been nixed. It’s got ukulele on it, and we already went through that fad with “Hey Soul Sister”, so we’re done with that. The title track is also out of the running because it’s only a couple minutes long. We like to make people listen to us for an extremely long time. Or at least make them feel like they have.
UG: How would you describe the sound of this album?
PM: The same way I’d describe any Train record. It’s completely “of the moment.” We don’t necessarily set trends, but we can follow along with the best of ‘em.
There’s something for everyone. If you’re a suburban soccer mom who likes a little bit of reggae but doesn’t like all that - how do I put this? - Rastafarian-ity, you’re gonna dig “Drive By”. If you’re a suburban housewife who’s sick of listening to her daughter’s Radio Disney albums and wants something a little more relatable, “This'll Be My Year” is for you. Coincidentally, a lot of people seem to think that’s a Plain White T’s tune, but I’m pretty positive it’s ours.
UG: No “Meet Virigina” type of confusion there?
PM: What’s that?
UG: Oh, I was just referencing when you said the thing about “Meet Virigina” being someone else’s song...
PM: "Meet Virigina"? [Long pause accompanied by vacant stare] Oh! Right! Sorry, I have this habit of completely disregarding anything I’ve said or done recently. That’s probably why our albums sound so eclectic. Speaking of which, we’ve gotten a lot of letters from rural mom’s who want us to write more songs like “Bruises”, which has this whole country-pop thing goin’ on. I keep telling them we’re probably gonna wipe that song from our memories in about a month, but I guess they don’t wanna hear that.
UG: There may not be much consistency in your albums but there’s certainly a pattern forming with your answers. Would it be fair to describe Train as “Your Mom's Favorite Band?”
PM: Ooh, I don’t know about that. Maybe “Your Mom’s Favorite Pop Rock Band”.
UG: So you would put yourselves in that pop rock genre?
PM: Well, not entirely. I mean have you heard “50 Ways To Say Goodbye”? That song literally oozes mariachi-ness.
UG: [Laughs] Well that’s-
PM: No, seriously. I’m still recovering from something called Traveler’s Diarrhea I got from our trip to Mexico, which helped inspire that song. It’s disgusting.
UG: [Clears throat] You’ve been pretty reliable with putting out albums lately. Can we expect another one in 2013?
PM: I don’t see why not. We don’t have much else going on. There’s only so long you can stare at your living room wall before you have to put another album out.
Check out more interREviews with Lars Ulrich and Chad Kroeger.