Catch Train this summer at the NY State Fair (Exclusive Interview)

Catch Train this summer at the NY State Fair
Interview by Michael Aaron Gallagher

Train Music
There will be more than one kind of train pulling into the New York State Fairgrounds this year, but the Grammy award-winning band is sure to receive the loudest cheers.

Known for their hits “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter” and “Hey, Soul Sister” the group has certainly evolved since its early years playing in San Francisco.

In a recent interview, lead singer Pat Monahan talked about his upcoming concert in Syracuse at the New York State Fair.

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Have you spent any time in the Syracuse area before?”

Pat Monahan: “Yeah, man. I’m from Erie, Penn., so I’ve been to Syracuse many times.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Over the years, how have your stage performances changed?”

Pat Monahan: “Oh, man it’s changed quite a lot…When we started the band, it was during kind of the end of the grunge era, so long plaid shirts and long hair was what we started as. And then it got a little hippy, because we started in San Francisco, and then it just has evolved into who we are now… I think that over the years we went from being kid’s mom’s favorite band to mom’s kid’s favorite band in a lot of places. So we’re just trying to be the right band for the whole family.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “When you first step out on stage, what’s going through your mind in those first few moments?”

Pat Monahan: “The first entry for me is a little bit stressful. I stress before a show, whether it’s television or a theater or an arena or whatever, it doesn’t matter. I want to connect with people. That’s kind of what I feel like I’m supposed to do. I’m the connection between the music and the music lover. I guess the first few things that are going through my head are more of an observation and I try to visualize sending love to everybody. And then eventually I visualize all of it coming back. And then it becomes like a circular motion where we all just are giving and getting and it’s really fun, man.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Why have you taken up playing so many instruments and what do you think they add to your abilities as a songwriter and performer?”

Pat Monahan: “Well, my Wikipedia page is a huge liar. Whoever put all of those instruments in there is a friend of mine. I don’t know who it was but I appreciate it. I just should add other stuff that’s as ridiculous as what I’ve seen on there. I have tried many different instruments. I play many different instruments very badly. I actually started as a drummer, so I think I’m more confident as a drummer than anything. But I play a little guitar and some horns. I’ve never played a mandolin or all that other stuff that it says I do. I don’t know if I play a tuba or what… but I don’t play a tuba.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What’s your favorite song to perform on stage right now and what song do you want people to walk away humming after your show at the New York State Fair?”

Pat Monahan: “Well, for the most part, I think we’ll end the night with “Drops of Jupiter.” “Soul Sister” is always so fun. You know you get that big moment of joy from everybody. I love going out in the crowd during “Marry Me” a lot. I think that’s probably a favorite for me. It’s a time for me to visit everybody in the cheap seats, where I used to have to go when I was going to concerts.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “You’ll be performing with Maroon 5 and Gavin DeGraw. What do you like most about them?”

Pat Monahan: “You know, Gavin’s an awesome guy. I think he’s a lot of fun to be with. I remember seeing him for the first time in Alabama and then we just did a show together not so long ago… I’m looking forward to hanging out with him and hearing his set. He’s always great. You know the Maroon 5 guys, they’ve got a lot of hits, so it will be a lot of fun to listen to them every night. I really want this to be a tour that’s about sharing and turning each other’s fans on to each other’s music. I don’t really want it to be a competition. I want it to be more about, whether it’s cliche or sounds ridiculous, I kinda want it to be about everybody just loving music and being out there together – just feeling super grateful that we all get to do this.”

Catch Train this summer at the NY State Fair
Copyright 2011 by Michael Aaron Gallagher

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