Music & Nightlife

Train: ‘Oh man, it’s party time’

Pat Monahan of Train says its new Picasso at the Wheel Tour is designed to create an environment that evokes San Francisco, the city where the band originated.
Pat Monahan of Train says its new Picasso at the Wheel Tour is designed to create an environment that evokes San Francisco, the city where the band originated.

If Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” doesn’t sound familiar to you, a betting man would wager that you don’t have a television.

The 2009 hit (come on, you know it: “Hey soul sister/Ain’t that Mr. Mister/On the radio, stereo/The way you move ain’t fair, you know”) has been used in some form or another on everything from Fox News, “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to “CSI: NY,” “Medium” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Glee” and on and on.

In a way, the song is Train’s calling card. So when the band plays the first few notes, inevitably, sometime during its concert at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte on Tuesday night, frontman Pat Monahan says the message to the crowd will be clear: “‘Oh man, it’s party time.’”

Here are five more things that will help you get to know Monahan and his band, which is touring all summer with The Fray and Matt Nathanson.

1. He was blindsided a few years back when the band’s 2010 hit “Marry Me” was incorporated into a wedding ceremony he was attending with his wife, Amber. “I think the reason that I cried was I was just touched that they would use that song, and then I think I was crying for joy that I was gonna sue them right afterwards for publishing,” Monahan says. “That was a joke. But wouldn’t that have been amazing, to have your lawyer write something up for their wedding gift?”

2. Don’t get him started about Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine. ... Actually, on second thought, do. It’s pretty entertaining. There’s plenty of history. Among the highlights: Train and Maroon 5 co-headlined a tour in 2011; Levine starred in a “Saturday Night Live” skit parodying Train in 2013; and in 2014, Train and Levine shared the stage while performing “Purple Rain” for Howard Stern’s 60th birthday bash. The frontmen have a friendly rivalry, but only on the golf course: “He’s already the winner in real life. ... He’s not as famous as he is because he’s lucky. He’s a hard worker, and he’s really good at what he does. But mind you, all of the high notes (at Stern’s party), those were me, dude,” Monahan says, laughing.

3. Public reaction to “Bulletproof Picasso” had Monahan screaming “WHHYYYYYYYY!?!????” At first. Released last September, the album struggled to produce a hit, with “Angel in Blue Jeans” peaking at No. 79 (and so far is the only one of four singles they’ve put out that has cracked the Top 100). “This album has been very difficult for me,” he says. “It was terribly difficult to write, but it’s been hard to watch. ... For some reason, it’s connected deeply with Train fans and not really taken off on the radio.” But he’s found peace with it all. “There’s so much joy in my life that I can’t like get disappointed about it. Who do you complain to? ‘Oh, woe is me, I didn’t have a hit song on this record.’ It’s like, ‘Who gives a ----, dude?’ I’ve got other problems.”

4. Train might take fan requests via Twitter at its concert, but do not ask the band to play anything off of 2006’s “For Me, It’s You.” Coming on the heels of three straight platinum records, this album was the band’s first commercial disappointment. But it’s not that there aren’t any hits; it’s more the fact that Monahan just doesn’t much care for any of the songs. “The album was built off of turmoil, and we never really finished the songs properly. It’s a dark age of the band, the one record we kind of skip.”

5. The band will release a Christmas album this fall – but don’t expect “Silver Bells” or “The Little Drummer Boy.” Tentatively titled “Christmas in Tahoe” (“Because that’s San Francisco’s go-to ski resort”), Monahan says Train is covering holiday songs first recorded by bands like The Pretenders, The Band and Donny Hathaway, plus a few originals that will sound nothing like the holiday standards. “I can’t compete with Michael Buble and Martina McBride,” Monahan says. “They’ve made these classic, big, beautiful, lush Christmas albums. I’m just not that guy.”

Janes: 704-358-5897;

Twitter: @theodenjanes



WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

WHERE: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.

TICKETS: $25-$79.50.

DETAILS: 704-549-5555;