Latin Conference & Awards

Train Makes Bid For Longevity With Third Set

Excerpted from the magazine for

In these troubled times, even platinum-plus bands like Train are expected to watch their pennies.

But that is just fine with frontman Pat Monahan. "We did get hit with spending less on this album, but that's been happening to us from the beginning. No one ever handed us a million dollars and said, 'Have a good time.' [Cutting budgets] is where things are right now."

In fact, Monahan says the band had the smallest video budget of its career for current single "Calling All Angels," but "it's one of the best videos we've ever made," he adds. "We had a friend of [drummer] Scott Underwood shoot it."

The song, which is No. 8 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart, is the first offering from Train's third album, "My Private Nation," out June 3 on Columbia. Once again, the band teamed with producer Brendan O'Brien for the project.

Train hopes to continue the growth it saw from its first album, a self-titled 1999 set, which sold 1.2 million albums in the U.S., to its second, 2001's "Drops of Jupiter," which has sold 2.3 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

For Monahan, releasing a third album shows fans that Train is a band they can depend on.

"In this day and age, people kind of expect to see acts come and go, so there's less reason to attach yourself to a band. You have to earn it," he says. "With a third album -- and with how well 'Calling All Angels' is doing -- people might say, 'I can grab on to this band, because they are not going anywhere.' This is the album that gives us longevity."

Monahan says he kept thinking the band -- which also includes bassist Charlie Colin and guitarist Jimmy Stafford -- had finished the album. But, ever mindful that the 2001 Grammy Award winner for best rock song, "Drops of Jupiter," was the last tune submitted for the band's previous album, Train kept adding latecomers to the project. "Finally, we just said, 'We have to be done,' " Monahan says.

Train is planning a release-day outdoor concert in New York in conjunction with Tower Records' lower Manhattan store, and on June 5, the band will appear on CBS's "Late Show With David Letterman." Next come appearances on NBC's "Today" (June 6) and "Last Call With Carson Daly," and "CBS This Morning" (both the second week of June), and NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (June 23).

On June 26, Train will start its first headlining tour since achieving platinum status, kicking the run off in San Francisco. But just because the band isn't restricted to a 40-minute opening act set, don't expect any long-winded stories about the songs' origins from the stage. Monahan admits that such tunes as "Calling All Angels" and "When I Look to the Sky" have spiritual overtones, but he is loathe to discuss specifics.

"I don't want to take that away from people. I feel really strongly about this one. I try not to read about songs if it's a song I love. I don't want to hear Robert Plant say that 'Stairway to Heaven' is about a grocery store."

Excerpted from the May 31, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Premium Services section.

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