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."Train kept on Rolling"  at KFOG Kaboom


........rain don't derail themselves by sticking solely to greasy jams and high-wire guitar acrobatics. The San Francisco-based five-piece keep their slice-of-life sound simple and lean, never overdoing what doesn't need to be overdone. Frontman Patrick Monahan has a voice that was made for this material. Bearing an uncanny vocal resemblance to Blues Traveler's John Popper, he slip-slides from one drunken heartbreak to another, but always gets up, brushes the dirt off his jeans, and keeps on living.
......San Francisco's started the band Train in 1994. It was in late 1993 that Patrick Monahan left Erie, Pennsylvania and met up with the Los Angeles band, the Apostles. Lead singer/guitarist Rob Hotchkiss and fellow guitarist Jim Stafford had basically disbanded by this time, but the chance meeting with Patrick Monahan proved fortuitous as Hotchkiss extended an invitation to the crooning Monahan to become a two-man band. After making exhaustive appearances in low-key coffee houses, they decided to form a full band and enlisted former Apostles' members Stafford and bassist Charlie Colin. Colin brought along his good friend, drummer Scott Underwood and Train was on its way. Train settled in San Francisco to develop their sound in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.
...... In an unlikely scenario, executives from Columbia Records expressed an interest and, in a somewhat cooperative strategy, farmed the fledling band out to the minors -- in this instance, Aware Records -- where they could grow naturally and unhurriedly. In 1997, they went on tour, opening for the likes of Blues Traveler, Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows. Train knew they had arrived when they sold out a performance at San Francisco's Fillmore on Nov 3rd.
...... Train is a great new band that definitely has a possibility of becoming big. With the couple radio-friendly songs they put out, it's easy to see. Songs like "Meet Virginia" and "I Am" are very catchy, and the melody sticks to your head. "I Am" is a powerful country-rock ballad about a man filled with self-doubt preparing to close a chapter of his life. ...........No song in modern rock can equal the baggage this song carries with it. "If You Leave" is that cynical rock love song that makes people cringe or think. "Homesick" is another country rock ballad about coming home, a nice pretty harmless tune. Then "Free" comes, a rock song about loneliness and freedom. All in all, Train did the impossible, make a good rock record. Train is steeped in soaring melodies and drenched with quirky lyrics.

By Randy Cohen

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   Train Members Are !
Patrick Monahan: Vocals, Percussion Jimmy Stafford: Guitar, Vocals Rob Hotchkiss: Guitar, Vocals Scott Underwood: Drums Charlie Colin: Bass