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Train Prepares for Colonials Weekend
Guitarist Jimmy Stafford talks about their worldwide tour and life on the road.
September 14, 2012
Train has performed around the world in support of their latest album “California 37,” but according to guitarist Jimmy Stafford, some of their best shows happen on college campuses.
So it’s no surprise they are excited to headline Colonials Weekend at George Washington on Oct. 20.
“College shows have our most enthusiastic crowds,” said Mr. Stafford. “It’s our favorite age group to play in front of. We’re really looking forward to the show.”
Formed in San Francisco in 1994 by Mr. Stafford, Pat Monahan and Scott Underwood, Train has released six studio albums, including platinum-debut album “Train,” double-platinum album “Drops of Jupiter” and platinum album “My Private Nation.” Current singles off their new album include “Drive By” and “50 Ways to Say Goodbye.”
George Washington Today spoke with Mr. Stafford about life on the road, Train’s newest album and their almost 20-year career.
Q: Train’s Colonials Weekend show is only a month away!
A: The show is going to be great. We’ve got a really good record we’re out supporting, our show is big, and we’ve been having really great crowds, so we’ll have a blast.
Q: Have you spent much time in Washington, D.C.?
A: We’ve been to D.C. a few times in the 18-year span of our career, so I feel like I know the city and have had time off to see things. We performed at the White House last Fourth of July— the Obamas invited us.
Q: We read that for your latest album, “California 37,” most of the song writing occurred while you were on your last tour, “Save Me, San Francisco.” How did that happen?
A: By the time we finished our last tour we wanted to take a break, but our management heard the new songs and got really excited. All of a sudden, our break that we wanted to take turned into only a few days off over Christmas, and we jumped into the recording studio and started recording. Pat does most of the writing because he gets bored on tour after awhile and wants to get back into the creative side of things. On this tour, we’re really trying to keep a pen out of his hand because we want a break!
Q: Do you have a favorite song off the new album?
A: I love the song “Bruises,” which has a country flavor to it and is going to be our next single. I always go toward the deeper cuts off the record like “When the Fog Rolls In,” which is a beautiful, melancholy, rainy day kind of song.
I like the hits, although I get tired of hearing them on the radio. But I never get tired of playing them in concert, because the crowd goes nuts. A lot of those people are seeing us play those songs live for the first time, so that’s pretty exciting for us.
Q: When you were college age, what were you listening to?
A: I was into alternative music, which for me was U2, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths.
I think for many years, we weren’t cool to that age group; we were more of an adult rock band. Now, teenagers and college age kids respect the band a lot more, with our current songs. You can’t avoid us hearing us on the radio, so people are familiar with the songs.
Q: What’s the one thing about being on the road that people don’t know?
A: I think people don’t realize how hard it is. Especially when you invite friends to the show, they just want to party. We do this every single night, so I want to go to bed! It’s a lot of work being out here every night, being in a different city every day, and it’s draining playing a two-hour show every night.
But we’re having more fun than ever right now, because we’ve been doing this for so long and we’ve reached a certain level of success. Instead of everyone piling into one bus, we now have five buses and five semi-trucks on this tour. We all can get on our buses at the end of the night and not have it be crowded. We have a lot more hit songs to draw from that people know, and our fans’ age range has really expanded since “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Drive By” have been hits. We’ve seen little kids and older fans, singing all the words.
Q: In 2014, Train will have been together 20 years. Looking back, did you ever imagine your life would turn out this way?
A: No, we had no idea. Bands don’t typically last this long. We were fortunate to have one hit song, and at the time we thought, this is it. This is our 15 minutes of fame. Then we wrote another and another and all of a sudden it turned into a real career with multiple albums. And now we have VH1 Behind the Music on us. Really? I didn’t know we even had a story, but now we do.
We’re happy to still be here and to still be relevant and to still have people come out and hear us play every night. That doesn’t get old for us. We enjoy doing it— it’s kind of like us bringing our little bit of joy to the world.
Train will perform at 9 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Charles E. Smith Center. Tickets range from $45-$115 and are going fast! Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.
Check out Train online to order albums or songs.