TRAIN ‘Save Me San Francisco’
Over the course of 15 years, Train has made its mark on music history with their Grammy-Award-winning song â€œDrops of Jupiter (Tell Me)â€ and chart-topping singles â€œMeet Virginiaâ€ and â€œCalling All Angels.â€ Since forming in San Francisco in 1994, the multi-platinum selling band has traveled a long, successful and sometimes arduous journey. Following their 2006 release,Â For Me, Itâ€™s You, the band took a three-year hiatus, and in that time, Train has, for all intents and purposes, experienced an epiphany as a whole. Now, with their fifth album,Â Save Me San Francisco, Train has channeled their early days, revisiting the roots rock sound that has made the band such a tour de force â€“ and, in turn, the band is united stronger than ever before.
â€œI think taking time away from each other really made the heart grow fonder,â€ frontman Pat Monahan says of the break. â€œWe realized how important we were to one another and taking a few years off helped us all really look at ourselves and what we could contribute to this band as opposed to what we werenâ€™t getting from the band.â€
When looking back, Train credits the city of San Francisco with cultivating the bandâ€™s identity and foundation, so itâ€™s no wonder than the title track of the record would pay homage to the Bay Area metropolis the band holds so dear. â€œWe owe all of our gratitude to San Francisco because they embraced us back when, if they hadnâ€™t have, no one would have,â€ Monahan explains. â€œBasically, this album is our way of paying tribute, giving thanks and also recognizing that we kind of need San Francisco to OK this band before anybody else does. Those were the best times of our lives â€“ even though we didnâ€™t know it â€“ living in San Francisco and struggling to make a band work.â€
â€œSave Me San Franciscoâ€ is an autobiographical account of Trainâ€™s beginnings, and embodies not only the spirit of the album, but also the soul of Train as a band. The songâ€™s lyrics take the listener through the three-pieceâ€™s humble start in the mid-90s up through the time when Monahan, in particular, left the City by the Bay. â€œItâ€™s very related to my existence, but Jimmy, Scott and I have been through a lot together in the last 14-15 years, so it represents a lot to them, too, because they donâ€™t reside in San Francisco anymore, and we all miss it.â€
Train spent April and May of 2009 holed up in Londonâ€™s Kensaltown Studios with producer Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, James Morrison) with whom Monahan credits with helping the band â€œget back to the roots of the first record.â€ â€œIt was an incredibly refreshing environment that Martin created for the band,â€ the singer says. â€œIâ€™m really appreciative of his approach on things because heâ€™s really great at what he does. I had more fun making this record than ever in my life. I think Iâ€™ve made seven records and it was by far the most fun.â€
Save Me San Francisco taps into Trainâ€™s organic sound, recalling the blues and folk-infused rock that put the band on the map from the start. â€œItâ€™s pretty basic,â€ Monahan explains of the record. â€œBut really cool because thereâ€™s super catchy riffs and melodies in it, which I think are way more important that any production trick or great-sounding vocal production. Itâ€™s kind of us going backward so we can go forward.â€
It is befitting that the focus ofÂ Save Me San Francisco is as uncomplicated as the record sounds. Monahan explored the age-old concept of love through his signature storytelling lyrics and the album, as he explains, is â€œabout love in every way you can think about it.â€
â€œThere are certain songs that, instead of there being an intention, there was almost a theme,â€ he says. â€œI think a lot of the way I wrote on this wasnâ€™t necessarily, â€˜Hey, this reminds me of a situation I was in,â€™ but more how I see certain things being lived out in life, whether itâ€™s from myself or someone elseâ€™s perspective.â€
In this day and age, career artists are few and far between, and after a decade and a half of being a band, Train is ready to present one of their strongest efforts to date. Monahan recognizes the bandâ€™s accomplishments, and, as he states so clearly, is more than grateful for the success they have experienced. However, for a band as consummate as Train is, Monahan still sets his goals high and hopes the bandâ€™s fans will continue to come along for the ride.
â€œI still remember what itâ€™s like to paint houses,â€ he recalls. â€œI had fun because I loved the people that I worked with, but itâ€™s really not what I want to do â€“ not because itâ€™s a degrading job or anything, but because when Iâ€™m on stage I feel so much more connected to who I think I truly am. I just want to stay connected to the highest level myself can be and I think it comes through music. With that said, Iâ€™ll never stop wanting to sell out Madison Square Garden, so my goals are very simple, but theyâ€™re pretty big at the same time. I think Train fans who have watched the good and the bad, have been a part of all of it and have loved some of the music and not liked some of the music, are really going to like this record a lot — I think, much more than they have in years.â€