Following in the proud west coast rock tradition established by such legendary forerunners as Jefferson Airplane, the Steve Miller Band, the Grateful Dead and more recent bands like Third Eye Blind, American Music Club and Primus, Train emerged out of San Francisco's Bay Area music scene in the mid-90s. Founder singer and multi-instrumentalist Pat Monahan had previously been a member of a Led Zeppelin covers band in his home state and having relocated to California met up with singer/guitarist Rob Hotchkiss. Initially gigging as a duo they later recruited guitarist Jimmy Stafford and bassist Charlie Colin who had both played with Hotchkiss in the Los Angeles band The Apostles. In 1994 with the addition of drummer Scott Underwood the band, now named Train built a sizeable audience by headlining around the Bay Area and supporting bigger acts throughout the country.
After touring in support of Blues Traveler and Barenaked Ladies in 1996 they recorded their self-financed, independently released, self-titled debut album and later signed to Aware Records and Columbia Records who re-issued the record albeit in a slightly different form two years later. Released as a single 'Free' went largely unnoticed but the follow-up 'Meet Virginia' became a huge Top 20 hit and despite a third track 'I Am' failing to hit the charts the album was certified platinum.
2001 saw the release of Train's second album Drops Of Jupiter, produced by Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, The Killers, Korn, Bob Dylan etc.) the record debuted on the US charts at No 6 while the title track 'Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)' became a massive hit around the world including the US and the UK where it reached No 5 and No 10 respectively. With the single winning Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song and Best Arrangement (the latter courtesy of long time Elton John associate Paul Buckmaster) the album went on to outsell its predecessor and was soon certified double platinum. Although 2003's My Private Nation proved to be another (their third) platinum seller and yielded the US Top 20 hit 'Calling All Angels' the band were experiencing internal problems and the record was the last to feature founder guitarist Rob Hotchkiss who departed for a solo career and released his debut album Midnight Ghost the following year. Line-up changes didn't stop there and later in the year bassist Charlie Colin was asked to leave due to his addiction problems. While the remaining trio recruited bass player Johnny Colt and keyboards player Brandon Bush they too would prove to be temporary and following the release of 2006's For Me, It's You Train was reduced to a three piece. Despite reaching the American Top 10 the album was the least successful record of their career and failed to provide any hit singles.
With Pat Monahan releasing his debut solo album Last Of Seven in 2007 the band were relatively inactive until the return to form Save Me, San Francisco hit the shops in October 2009. Debuting inside the Top 20 the record also contained the US Top 3 single 'Hey, Soul Sister' which topped the charts in sixteen countries and with sales in excess of six million copies in the USA alone became the best selling release of their career so far. A largely acoustic, ukulele and percussion driven track 'Hey Soul Sister' also enjoyed a brief flirtation with the country charts and found the band performing it live on a number of TV shows including Tonight With Jay Leno, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Howard Stern Show. While 'If It's Love' and 'Marry Me' were less successful the subsequent album California 37 (2012) and its lead single 'Drive By' were Top 10 hits on both sides of the Atlantic. Following the Top 20 success of '50 Ways To Say Goodbye' Train embarked on the Mermaids Of Alcatraz Tour and while on the road Monahan started writing songs for the next record. When the band reunited to start recording what would become 2014's Bulletproof Picasso drummer Scott Underwood had quit to pursue other projects, and this further derailing reduced Train to a duo of the remaining founder members Monahan and guitarist Jimmy Stafford.
Initially building their career on slickly produced powerful rock ballads tailor-made for heavy rotation radio play such as 'Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)' and 'Calling All Angels', Train's sound has evolved to embrace more acoustic songs that frame Monahan's easily recognisable voice and extremely catchy pop hooks. Other than massive commercial success and an immense global following Train have also been recognised with a number of industry awards; the single 'Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)' won Grammys for Best Rock Song and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist, the live version of 'Hey, Soul Sister' also won a Grammy, the studio recording of the same track won the 2011 ASCAP Pop Music Award for Song Of The Year and the 2011 Billboard Music Award for Best Rock Song while the band themselves received the 2011 Billboard Award for Best Rock Artist. Although never fashionable with the cognoscenti, Train's track record of sales and hits is undeniable.
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