Train made a huge splash a few years ago with their mega Grammy-winning hit “Drops of Jupiter.” Their latest album, “For Me, It’s You,” while a critical smash, has sold poorly.
That hasn’t deterred the band or its lead singer, Pat Monahan, from having a great time on the road. In fact, Monahan said they’re better now than ever before.
AP: Why do you think you’re performances have improved?
Monahan: I’m a better entertainer than I’ve ever been. I’m taking care of myself in every way I can. I think the band is playing better and my confidence is pretty high. It’s stuff like that. Having a record that people really like [helps].
AP: Some critics have said “For Me, It’s You” is your best album yet. Why do you think that is?
Monahan: I think having a couple of new band members and being that there’s a lot of content to write about from life experience. We’re just getting better at our art.
AP: How do you keep your music relevant?
Monahan: That’s a good question. I don’t really know. One of the key words to describe my writing is sincere. Maybe that’s enough, maybe not. I don’t know that we’re trying to stay current — that wouldn’t benefit us much. We’ve never been the flavor of the week. We’re writing songs we can grow old with.
AP: I know you’ve had success with producer Brendan O’Brien — did you ever consider changing things and working with a new producer?
Monahan: We worked with Don Gilmour when we recorded “Ordinary” for the “Spider-Man 2” soundtrack. He was great and I was glad we worked with him. I just trust Brendan and his ear and his ability to work with a band — my band — and he’s a great talent to me. We click on a lot of levels.
AP: One reviewer recently called you an androgynous frontman who can’t pull off rock star poses.
Monahan: I love that! Here’s what I like about writers who don’t say things that aren’t positive: be creative in it. Be creative if you’re going to insult me. One said my dance moves are more appropriate for the “Sound of Music.” I’m not trying to be David Lee Roth, I’m being Pat Monahan.
AP: But you’re covering Zeppelin and Aerosmith in your shows!
Monahan: We’ve always done that. We used to do “Sweet Emotion” and “Ramble On.” Now we do “Going to California” and “Dream On.”
AP: What other covers are you planning on pulling out on the summer tour?
Monahan: We’ve been talking about Queen a lot. We feel like we are a band to pull off Queen. You can’t go in there and screw that up — you have to go in there and kick [butt].
AP: When you’re on the road, how do you stay grounded?
Monahan: I try to run between 4-5 miles a day.
AP: What do you need to have on the tour bus with you?
Monahan: I drink a tea called Tou Cha, a Chinese herb. I’ve been reading a lot about Native American history. A good pair of running shoes.
AP: Do you still live in San Francisco?
Monahan: I have a home there but my kids are in Pennsylvania and I’m there quite often. I recently purchased a house in Sammamish, Washington — I want to die there.
AP: What makes it so great?
Monahan: It’s close to Seattle and my girlfriend is from that area. When she introduced me to it I knew I had to be there often. My connection to the Pacific Northwest is strong. I have to be there.
AP: What’s your big backstage Diva request?
Monahan: I would say organic everything, from almond butter to oranges.
AP: What’s the most out-of-control rock-star thing you’ve ever done?
Monahan: I rented a jet to go to the Super Bowl from New York to Detroit and on the way I went to Erie [Pa.] to pick up my dad, friends and my son.