Train’s lead singer Pat Monahan has a sobering reason why fans should see the June 18 Charlotte concert with Hall & Oates:
“Our heroes aren’t going to be here forever."
Monahan is touring with Daryl Hall and John Oates, who made their music debut in 1967. Monahan said while the duo — both now in their 70s — might decide to do another 15 years or more of live performance, they also might not.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will make their way to Charlotte’s Spectrum Center to co-headline with the younger American rock band Train on June 18. While the groups come from different music eras, Monahan said their fans have blended together well — making it difficult to tell who the fans came to see.
Monahan spoke to the Observer this week, and with wit — and at times, sarcasm — offered a sense of what concertgoers can expect at Monday’s show, and provided a deeper look into the story behind Train's new song, “Call Me Sir.”
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q. Are you excited for Monday's performance in Charlotte?
Yeah, I love Charlotte. I have family that come(s) in from Columbia, South Carolina. And I have a good friend who lives in North Carolina. So it’s fun. I get to have a family reunion when I come to Charlotte.... And then I’ll stay the day after and play some golf with a friend of mine.
Q. There’s always a certain vibe at your concert. Is that usually how it is across the board, or would you say there’s something different about the Charlotte crowd?
I don’t know what this will be like because we have not co-headlined with Hall & Oates in Charlotte ever. I do think the crowds on this tour are a little different just because there are a lot of people who have never seen us before and are Hall & Oates fans. We throw beach balls out during a certain song and it’s an enormous amount of fun for me to see these Hall & Oates fans getting riled up with these beach balls that they did not expect at all.
Q. How did touring with Hall & Oates come about? Kind of two different eras of bands co-headlining together...
Daryl has a show called “Live From Daryl's House," and it’s a cable network show that he’s done about 85 episodes (of), where he has people like me — you know Butch Walker, Fall Out Boy, all of those people. So you do a couple of your songs, a couple of their songs. Daryl and I just got on well, so we started talking about how we should do something fun together one day. So it’s taken about six years, but this is what it is.
Q. Are you guys singing some of your songs together? Or some of their songs?
We wrote a song together called, “Philly Forget Me Not.” So we’ll do that, and we’ll do one of our songs and one of their songs. And then they finish with their huge Number One hit songs afterwards.
Q. You were talking about how people who haven’t seen you before will be at some of these performances. How are you guys merging your different fan bases?
They seem to blend in pretty good together. You can’t always tell who people came for because there are Hall & Oates fans wearing Train shirts and there are Train fans wearing Hall & Oates shirts. You know we’ll be back in Charlotte next summer at the amphitheater, and I don’t know what Hall & Oates' plans are.... I think it’s a lot of fun to catch this particular show because you never know how long Hall & Oates will decide to do it. They could do it for another 15 years, or they could be done soon.
Q. What’s your favorite song to perform on tour?
“Call Me Sir," which features Cam and Travie McCoy. That’s my favorite song right now, but it’ll always probably be “Drops of Jupiter.” It just seems to have connected with people on a different kind of level than other Train songs.
Q. From the concerts I’ve been to, you normally do “Drops of Jupiter,” “Hey, Soul Sister," those classics... "Calling All Angels.” Does that ever get old for you, playing those songs?
It never gets old because, you know, when I started wanting to do this in my life, thinking that someone would be singing something I created back to me was just like an unfathomable dream. And now that that happens, I never get tired of it.
Q. With this tour, are you going to be pulling songs primarily from one album? Or all of your albums?
We try to play something from every album. But some albums were so much bigger than others, like "Save Me, San Francisco" had four radio songs that did well. So it’s hard not to play those. But yeah, we try to play something from all over and then we throw in a couple of covers for people that, so far, they’ve liked a lot. You’ve got to come hear Train do Zeppelin and Tom Petty.
Q. Are there any in particular fans can expect?
We’ve been doing “Black Dog,” which is on, I think, Zeppelin’s biggest album. And the reason is because I think my band is so good. And that is a very difficult song to perform. The fact that they can do it at all is so cool to watch. My job is easy, but what they have to do is really intense. My goal is always to do whatever is easy and to make them do all the work.
Q. I saw that "Call Me Sir" is a true story. Do you want to tell me a little bit about what inspired it?
It’s kind of a two-tier story, because when I met my wife, I think people were like, ‘Oh that guy must be alright’ — because she’s far more attractive than she should be, to be with me.
Then the other is that we have a little boy who’s 6 years old who’s actually the cover art for the song. And he has long hair, and he’s called a girl all the time because he’s so cute. Now he wears a hat that says, ‘Call Me Sir,’ because of the song — and then it simplifies things for us.
Q. Is there anything about this show in particular your fans should be excited about?
Honestly, I tell everybody all the time that all of our heroes are not going to be here forever. I would definitely come and see the show just for the sake of it, if you like Hall & Oates music. I think you’re really going to enjoy our show, and then you get to see all those songs that you love. None of us are here forever.
Hall & Oates and Train
When: 7 p.m. Monday.
Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.
Tickets: $30 and up.
Details: 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com.