Winning Grammys, selling millions of albums, and playing to audiences worldwide might just be the icing on the cake, but Jim Stafford, lead guitarist of the popular band Train, wants his audience to stop, take a look, and really soak in the Train experienceówhether it be live or listening to their music right in their own homes. Train wants to be remembered for a lot of things, but most of all for their ability to pen and craft amazing songs. No matter how you may think of themówhether it be adult contemporary or just an amazing rock band with a story to tellóTrain is the little band that could, as they gained some serious steam over the years with the hit singles, "Meet Virginia", "Calling All Angels", and more recently "Cab".
From the albums Drops of Jupiter, My Private Nation to the more recent release For Me, It's You this Train keeps it going, and finally made one pit stop on their recent tour in Buffalo, NY, here is what Stafford had to say.
Q: How is the tour going for the new album?
A: "The tour has been going great. It's actually been our best tour as far as ticket sales. The band is playing better than ever and we have more production on this tour than ever before. The touring process is pretty busy. We are fortunate that we have a singer that can sing six nights a week. We do six nights a week, we travel at night, and do any press during the daytime, and then do sound check. It's really fun to tour and play to different crowds. After six months the creative cycle kicks in and you get ready to record music again."
Q: Train's music is very contemporary driven. The band's demographic seems to reach a more mature, adult audience. Was this Train's plan from the start?
A: "No, we didn't really have a plan. Our plan was to just make music and hope that people liked it as much as we did. We are an older band. We were all in our thirties when we had our first hit, "Meet Virginia". I think that's the age people naturally attract to our music."
Q: For your latest single, "Cab", what is the single about and where do you draw inspiration for writing your lyrics?
A: "It comes from all angles, really. Sometimes it comes to us individually or when we are together or when we sound check. Patrick Monahan, the lead singer, does all the lyric writing. "Cab" came about from Brandon Bush, who is our keyboard player. He had this piece of music that Patrick really liked and eventually the right lyrics came for this piece. Patrick went through a lot in the past couple of years. He got a divorce and a really close friend of the band passed away as well. In "Cab", he really felt like he was the only one going through some of this stuff."
Q: Train has had numerous hits and has slowly built momentum over the past few years. Where do you see yourself and the band in the next few years?
A: "We are kind of at a crossroads. This is our fourth studio album. We kind of managed to have some success over the years and radio has been kind to us over the years. It's kind of like a marriage where you have this seven year itch where you still love your wife, but you get a little comfortable with it I guess. It is hard to keep challenging yourselfÖI do see this band continuing to write and record music in one way or another because we enjoy doing it."
Q: You have been nominated and won two Grammys. How do you feel about the awards?
A: "It was amazing considering who we were up against. We were up against U2 and Coldplay and Matchbox Twenty. To win and to perform at the Grammys was amazing. To look into the audience while we were playing and seeing Bonnie Raitt and Elvis Costello and U2 just sitting there and watching you perform is just amazing. Celine Dion was just singing along to every word! It's really special to have that kind of support from your peers and to even consider them your peers is exciting."
Q: What do you want Train to be remembered for?
A: "You know, I always wanted to leave behind a library of work. We have done that. We have a nice library of music already and I think there will be more and I would like to be remembered for a really good songwriting band and a really good live band because that is what we do. We craft songs really well and we put a really good live show and we are really proud of that."
You can catch Train currently on tour for their latest album, For Me, It's You and visit their website at www.trainline.com.
Writer: Robert Frezza