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Train set for another runaway hit

NBC’s Katie Couric reports on the group that released ‘Drops of Jupiter.’
/ Source: TODAY

The guys behind such soulful songs as “Drops of Jupiter” and “Meet Virginia” have had some serious success lately. Since 1998 the group Train has sold almost 5-million albums and won a Grammy. Now with the release of their third album, “My Private Nation,” Train is hoping to have another runaway hit. NBC’s Katie Couric has this report on “Today’s Backstage Pass.”

Train's lead singer Pat Monahan has reason to be confident. Their last CD, “Drops of Jupiter,” shot to number one and earned the band from San Francisco a Grammy in 2002 for best rock song and sold 2.3 million copies. The other big hit from that album was “She’s On Fire.” Their 1999 debut album was self-titled “Train” and spurred the big hit “Meet Virginia.” That debut album sold 1.2 million copies.

In the early 90s Monahan was singing in a cover band in Erie, Pa. Eventually he pulled up his roots and moved with his school teacher wife out to Los Angeles to pursue a bigger musical career.

Nothing was happening until his wife was talking about him at school one day to another teacher. The teacher mentioned how her husband was a struggling musician as well. They decided to introduce the two — the other husband wound up being guitarist Rob Hotchkiss. The two musicians ended up staying in touch and in 1994 reconvened in San Francisco to form a new band today known as, “Train.”

Now, the group which includes Charlie Colin, Jimmy Stafford and Scott Underwood — Hotchkiss left the group in 2003 — has released their third CD: “My Private Nation.”

“We have a single on the radio called ‘Calling All Angels,’ which will soon be followed by more smash hit songs. Then will be followed by tons of cash, which is really why I’m in the business. Jimmy is actually in it for the Dunkin’ Donuts,” says Monahan.

Monahan prefers not to speak of what a song he writes is specifically about because he believes different people can find different meanings. “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,” he says.

Whether it’s for cash or donuts, the guys from Train are happy to be back on the road.

They credit their energy on stage to the time they spend together behind the scenes.

Stafford says, “About a half hour before show time, we kind of get together — just the band members — and kind of joke around and have good time.”

“We just love to laugh. We’ll just take turn making each other crack up,” says Monahan.

But despite the fun and games backstage, they remain passionate about performing.

Monahan says, “We get to watch these songs effect people, which is really a lot of fun for us. I can’t tell you a more magical feeling — there can’t be one.”

Train will be touring across the U.S. this summer starting on June 26th.