Train is a Grammy Award-winning rock band formed in San Francisco, California. To date, three of their albums have peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and have sold a total of over 4 million albums in the US. Three of their songs have been top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including their biggest hit "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)". Train has found success on modern adult contemporary radio stations, where they have had eight songs in the top 20 of the Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks chart.
Emergence and first album
The group started out in San Francisco with only two members, Patrick Monahan (lead vocals) who was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Rob Hotchkiss (guitar, vocals), who performed in coffee houses and local clubs. Monahan had previously been a member of a Led Zeppelin cover band before turning his attention to creating his own music. Hotchkiss had been the lead singer for L.A.-based "Apostles." After deciding to form a full band, the duo recruited Jimmy Stafford on guitar, Charlie Colin on bass and, at a later date, Scott Underwood as drummer. Train attempted to get signed under Columbia Records in 1996 but were rejected. By 1997 they were touring nationally, opening concerts for groups such as Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows.
The band members financed their self-titled debut, which cost them a total of $25,000 to produce. Columbia Records agreed to sign Train under Aware Records after hearing their first album. Their song "Free" saw significant airplay on mainstream rock radio, later being featured in the TV show Party of Five. Train then released the song "Meet Virginia" as a single. The song became a major hit on modern adult contemporary radio stations, and became a top 20 pop hit. The success of "Meet Virginia" helped their album graduate from the Top Heatseekers chart and enter the top half of the Billboard 200 album chart.
Drops of Jupiter
Pat Monahan performing in West Palm Beach
Prior to the release of their second album, the band issued the single "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)". The song entered the Hot 100 on March 10, 2001, and spent over a year on the chart (53 weeks) before being relegated to the recurrents chart. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement.
The album Drops of Jupiter was released on March 27, 2001, and became Train's first multiplatinum album, due in part to the strength of the leading single. Drops of Jupiter was produced by Brendan O' Brien, who had previously worked for artists such as Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. The album was Train's first top 10 album, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard 200. The album was also a top 10 hit in the UK, where it peaked at number 8. "She's on Fire", the second single from Drops of Jupiter was a modest success on radio and was featured in the 2001 comedy The Animal with Rob Schneider. During the Drops of Jupiter tour, the band released a live DVD of a sold out concert in the band's hometown of San Francisco at the Warfield theatre. The DVD was titled Midnight Moon and featured Train's hits from the first two albums among other fan favorites. Included is also the Led Zeppelin cover of "Ramble On". The concert was recorded on May 21, 2001. In 2002, founder Rob Hotchkiss left the band to pursue a solo career, after having contributed to 6 of the 11 songs on the upcoming My Private Nation album. Also in 2002, Train was chosen to do a cover of Aerosmith's classic rock song "Dream On" on an episode of MTV's show Icon that was dedicated entirely to Aerosmith. Train now performs the song live at many of their concerts. Since 1998, Train has performed thousands of concerts in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia. Their tour manager is Thomas O'Keefe.
My Private Nation
The band's third album, My Private Nation, was released in June 2003 with "Calling All Angels" as the lead single. "Calling All Angels" became Train's third top 20 hit, and was a major hit on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. The album's second single was "When I Look To The Sky", which was also a Hot 100 hit. The song was also used for the trailer of the 2004 movie Jersey Girl. In 2004, their non-album song "Ordinary" was featured in the movie Spider-Man 2. In 2007, it was featured again, this time in the NBC series Heroes. The music video for "Ordinary" was in rotation on MTV, but the song only charted on the Adult Top 40. In July 2005, after the song was featured in an advertising campaign for Cingular, the band released "Get to Me" as the final single from My Private Nation. "Get to Me" reached #9 on the Billboard Adult Top 40. The band released their first live album, Alive at Last, in 2004. Also in 2004, Train won a Radio Music Award for best artist.
For Me, It's You
Train began recording their fourth studio album, For Me, It's You, in Atlanta during the summer of 2005. They released the first single "Cab" on November 14, and the album was released on January 31, 2006. The album and the single both saw disappointing sales, and For Me, It's You is the only Train album yet to be certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album was the only Train album to include members Johnny Colt on bass (formerly of The Black Crowes original line up) and Brandon Bush on keyboards.
Break from recording and Save Me San Francisco
Starting in November 2006, the band took a break from recording and touring to be with friends and family. Lead singer Pat Monahan released a solo album, Last of Seven, on September 18, 2007. The first single, "Her Eyes", was released in July. Train announced in April of 2009 that the band would be returning to its three original members with the departure of Johnny Colt and Brandon Bush. On August 11, 2009, Train released their first single in over 3 years, "Hey Soul Sister," from their new album Save Me San Francisco, due to hit shelves October 27. The single was released on Billboard a day earlier, August 10, 2009.