"There's a couple of traditional covers on there, but we tried not to do the same stuff everybody else does," Monahan explains. "Like, our favorite song on it is from The Band called 'Christmas Must Be Tonight,' so it's that kind of record where it's a vibey, make dinner around Christmas time and listen to an alternative kind of Christmas album."
Train has been recording the set since last month at Bear Creek Studios near Seattle, and Monahan says the band "may finish it on the road." There were no nods made to the season -- no holiday lights or Christmas tree in the studio -- either, he notes: ""That never works for me," Monahan says. "I remember the first few demos that Train would do, I would turn lights on and smoke pot and get in the mood and the next day we'd listen back and say, 'Yeah, we have to do that again. It sounds terrible.' So to Christmas things up, I don't know...We're more of a blue-collar band. We just go do the job."
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The holiday album will be a stop-gap between last fall's Bulletproof Picasso, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, and Train's next studio album. Monahan says there are "a couple" of new songs in process, but he also plans "on inviting people to come out and write with me all summer" while the band is touring. "That's something I did on the (2009) Save Me, San Francisco record. I wrote with everybody. You could've just been a neighbor down the street and I'd be like, 'Cool, let's do it,' 'cause you never know where the magic lies, and it's all in a combination of people being in a room together."
Train kicks off its spring/summer Picasso At The Wheel tour with the Fray and Matt Nathanson on May 21 in Wheatland, Calif. Monahan says the group plans to film some of the shows for a live DVD, and he'll also be setting up a tent in the parking lot for his Patcast podcasts. "People can listen to old podcasts or I'll come out and we'll do podcast interviews, play some songs maybe," he says. "There'll be music running all the time. We'll ask fans to tell everybody what their Train experience is and we'll record those and play them back on the podcast and try to have a very interactive tour."