Columbia RecordsTrain‘s new album Bulletproof Picasso is in stores today, and considering that 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s existence, lead singer Pat Monahan says the album’s unusual title is an apt description of their staying power.
“The whole album is stories of venturing from a small town to San Francisco,” Pat tells ABC News Radio. “And ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ –the song — is about leaving [my hometown of] Pennsylvania and sitting there with my friends and saying, ‘Who’s got the b***s to do this with me? Who’s made of lead paint and bulletproof?’”
“Then, what we realized, was that we’re, in a sense, a ‘Bulletproof Picasso,’” he adds. “‘Cause we’re artists and, for some reason, after 20 years, we’re still here making music people listen to on the radio.”
Of course, few bands can exist for two decades without some lineup changes, and Train is no exception: Bulletproof Picasso is the first not to feature founding drummer Scott Underwood, and other members have left along the way. At this point, the only original members are Pat and guitarist Jimmy Stafford, but Jimmy says despite the changes, they’re still Train.
“We have gone through some different members through the years, and I think we’ve always managed to be Train each step of the way,” he tells ABC News Radio. “Pat’s got a pretty recognizable voice. I don’t think Train could be Train without that voice. But I’ve liked all the different formations of the band and this one might be my favorite.”
The current Train lineup will play a series of special album-release shows this month to celebrate the arrival of Bulletproof Picasso and its hit single “Angel in Blue Jeans.” On Wednesday and Thursday, they’ll perform at the Pantages Theater in L.A. On Sunday and Monday, they’ll perform in their hometown of San Francisco, at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, and on September 25, they’ll be at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
“I think we decided to do these shows because we’re out anyways promoting the new record,” Jimmy tells ABC News Radio. “And I think it’s kinda like, while we’re out there, we should do a few shows and try some of these new tunes out on our fans.” Don’t expect a performance of Bulletproof Picasso in its entirety, though.
“Maybe some day,” says Jimmy. “But nobody will familiar enough with it at that point. So maybe down the road we’ll do that. I think it’ll be really fun.”
Bulletproof Picasso has more of a rock sound than Train’s previous two albums, and it has a healthy dose of soul as well. Explaining why, Pat tells ABC News Radio, “Very few people listen to albums but for some reason Train fans listen to albums, so they don’t want one song, they want an album to make sense. And that’s what we set out to do and we always will…so we just feel like it’s time for us to try to be as credible artists as we can be.”
“The Beatles were rock & soul,” says Pat. “Like, anything with heart. We just want to have that: whatever that emotional connection is with people.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio