Brian Ries, our social media editor (and one of your tumblr’s here), and Chelsie Gosk, our director of Audience Development found themselves at a Train show last night. They were given an opportunity to speak with the band—Scott Underwood, Jimmy Stafford, and Patrick Monahan. This is their story—a Tumblr exclusive.
Brian Ries: So you guys are now the Grammy-award winning band, Train. You recorded, correct me if I’m wrong, the single ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ for Apple’s iTunes Sessions, as an exclusive for Apple. What was it like dealing with the company, and iTunes?
Pat: It was really easy, and really nice, the thing is, being from San Francisco and Apple being a very Bay Area company, we are like-minded in a lot of ways. They hire a lot of really smart people, and those smart people are psyched about their job, so they end up being nice people. It was really fun, we had a great time, and we actually recorded right here in Manhattan.
BR: Was that your first time dealing with a major company that wasn’t your label, in terms of creating music?
Jimmy: It was an Apple deal.
Scott: I’d say the only other time we did that was for the Mel Gibson movie. It was something we wrote and recorded, for that.
Jimmy: And Spider-Man.
Scott: But they kinda took one of our songs and used it. But Pat wrote a song for Mel Gibson. It was kind’ve the first. It was really good for us b/c it was nice to record something really stripped down and you got to hear just us in a studio recording. No overdubs, stuff like that. You got to hear the essense of the song.
Jimmy: We actually won a Grammy for that version.
BR: What do you think of music in terms of the future of music on the internet. Have you been following Spotify in the UK?
Pat: Spotify’s the shit, dude.
BR: Do you use it?
Pat: I just found out about it this week. I didn’t realize what it was, and they were like this is going to replace itunes and everything else.
[He explains Spotify to his fellow Train members. They compare it to Rhapsody, “but better.” Pat says he went to the website, which notes it’s “Coming soon.”]
BR: The guy who started Napster is involved, as a financier. (Ed: I’m talking about Sean Parker here, not Fanning.)
Scott: That guys dumb though. He’s just an idiot…no, that’s sarcasm. He’s actually pretty brilliant.
BR: I know you guys are friends with Howard Stern. Are there any misconceptions about Howard, in terms of a person?
Scott: I bet a lot of people have an opinion of what he’s like as a person, and it’s probably much less of a noble thing than he really is. He’s a really, really sweet dude. It’s kinda like hanging out with your older brother. He’s very cool, and caring, and smart, and nice, and all that stuff. I love that guy.
BR: You usually stop by his show when you’re in town.
Pat: Yea, he’s been very kind to us through the years. I know a lot of my female friends—they don’t listen to his programs. They think he’s sexist, or something, but I don’t find him to be that way at all. I think he’s very respectful of women, and he’s really great at his job. He knows how to get people to talk about interesting things, so rather than just the normal night show chatter that Leno and those interviewers would do, he just hits on some different subjects that people are curious about, but I think he’s the opposite. I’m always arguing with my women friends that.
Scott: [Imitating Pat] “He’s a good guy!”
Pat: That he’s really a good guy. He’s so not like that, he’s totally respectable.
Jimmy: Did you say women friends?
Pat: Women friends? Female friends?
Jimmy: I’ve never even heard that said before.
Pat: It’s all a misnomer except for that small penis thing.
BR: Oh! It’s true?
Pat: [mumbles] I don’t know.
BR: You guys have been friends for years, I don’t know.
Pat: Well, that’s true.
BR: Last summer you toured with John Mayer. You guys both have romantic songs. Who has more romantic songs, and which band—you guys or John Mayer—is more likely to excite the ladies?
Pat: Oh, John Mayer, easy. He’s far better looking than all of us…combined. When you write a song called ‘Body is a Wonderland,’ I mean, you know, from there…
Scott: Just forget it!
Pat: Forget it!
Scott: Just Fuhgeddit.
Pat: And then to follow that up with a song called ‘Daughters’?!
Scott: [in a ‘Brooklyn’ voice] Pssssht. Fucking Fuhgeddit.
Pat: He’s winning.
BR: He’s winning?
Scott: Ah, God I can’t believe you just said that!
BR: Yea, you have to drink or something.
[Chelsie, who accompanied us on the interview and arranged the whole thing thanks to Ford & Sony, then asked a question.]
Chelsie: Can you guys maybe tell us a little bit about the partnership with Ford and Sony and why you’re here, just so we have some background?
Pat: [ironically] Who gives a shit?!
Pat: That was a joke. We’re on Columbia Records. Columbia Records is a Sony outfit, and I’ve owned a Ford for 12 years, still going, it has 200,000 miles. That has nothing to do with this, I’m just hoping they’ll give me something. But you know, Sony & Ford came together for the new Taurus to create an incredible sound system, and they have a new exciting dashboard that Sony was involved with helping design, so us being music helps with the whole thing. So, that’s where we all came together.
BR: So what’s your favorite driving song?
Pat: ‘Boys of Summer’s’ pretty good. [starts singing, “you got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on baby!”] That and, uh, ‘Your Body is a Wonderland,’ probably?
BR: You mentioned Bieber when you were at the Grammy’s. Where’s your beef stand with Justin Bieber? Is there beef? [Ed: At the 2011 Grammy’s, Pat thanked Bieber for not being in a duo or group—the category in which they won. I asked this question hoping they’d confirm a “beef,” so I could then let the Beliebers take this tumblr post and run with it.]
Pat: There’s no beef. I felt bad for the kid, b/c I felt like he was going to win everything. And the one thing he wanted to win….But then he paid us back. When we were at the Nickelodeon Kids Awards, he took the award from us.
Jimmy: And he didn’t show up for that.
BR: Oh, really? He accepted sattelite?
Jimmy: We were there. We brought our kids. It was fun.
Pat: He’s pretty big…that Justin Bieber guy.
BR: Physically speaking?!
Pat: No. You know. I’ve seen that guy twice. And I have a two-and-a-half year-old daughter…he plays with her, for five minutes, everytime he sees her.
BR: Nice guy?
Pat: He’s just a sweet kid. It’s hard not to root for him, except when you’re up against him for something. You don’t want him to lose, you want him to, like, maybe get hurt.
Pat: I’m kidding.
BR: You guys use Twitter a lot. Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter?
Pat: It was Charlie Sheen for a minute, but then it was like, ah, I’m so done with that whole thing.
Jimmy: Didn’t you like The Sulk for a while?
Pat: I liked The Sulk for a long time, he’s a friend of Sarah Silverman. You know who my favorite is? It’s Norm Macdonald. He’s real funny, but he doesn’t have to be funny all the time, because that gets boring too. It’s like, someone who can actually say something positive and cool.
BR: You mentioned Charlie Sheen—you guys were somehow related to that whole drama, right?
BR: Wasn’t it about one of your songs? What was that like!? Was it weird?
Pat: It was weird, man.
BR: Because usually your songs are about love.
Scott: You know what is the weirdest part about that? We were instructed to not talk about it. We had a different publicist back then, and they were like, ‘Yea, we don’t want you to talk about it.’
BR: So how’d the tweet come about? [Ed: Pat tweeted, “I’m pretty sure that Drops of Jupiter is a positive part of Charlie Sheen and his daughter’s relationship. Just gonna look at it that way.”]
Jimmy: We got in trouble for it!
Pat: Yea, we got in trouble. They were like, you want to stay out of this.
Pat: It’s like, dude, it’s the first time we’ve been involved with anything like this at all, let’s just jump in.
Jimmy: And what you said was awesome, I thought.
Pat: I was gonna say I slept with Charlie.
Scott: I like how our publicist was like, ‘You don’t want to get involved. You might get a lot of publicity out of it.’ It was smart.
Scott: She got fired.
BR: So, last question. Your name’s Train. You’re going on a boat for next week’s VH1 cruise. What are your thoughts—this is political—on high-speed rail.
Pat: You mean the future of high-speed rail?
BR: Yes, do you think that can help America get off oil?
TRAIN: [Nearly in union] Absolutely man. It would be amazing.
Pat: But you know, with all of these things, there’s new energy that has to come from it. So you can’t have high-speed rail without energy. And so how do you create energy for that? And we’re, like, knocking mountains down in West Virginia for coal. And so all the things we’re burning and trying to get…we knew a guy who used to tech for us who was buliding windmills…and they laid him off. So I don’t know if that industry’s doing well.
Scott: It’s doing well.
Pat: Is it?
Scott: It’s just like, all that stuff costs tax dollars. And that’s the big debate. I feel like people are like, ‘we need to get off of coal and oil and stuff like that, but we don’t want to spend the money to do it right now.’ We don’t want to deal with the costs of it. I think that’s the debate, because all those trains are going to cost a lot of money, and we don’t want to deal with it.
Pat: So, geothermal, maybe, is going to be the long-term answer. Not corn.
Scott: And those magnetic rail systems, that technology exists. It’s weird what’s going on.
BR: That will confuse the Insane Clown Posse too much if we use magnets.
Pat: If they could just somehow hone in on being able to bottle the energy of all the bullshit celebrity crap that we watch all the time and put it into energy, wouldn’t that be amazing? It’d be like, E! or Extra! Or, TMZ!
BR: TMZ fuel?
Pat: Yea, TMZ fuel.
BR: Charlie Sheen Green.
TRAIN: Charlie Sheen Green! Yea. Cool.