Good news everybody! Train are back with a new album California 37 and a must see Australian tour. So sit back and drink some Train brand wine and nibble on some Train chocolate bars as drummer Scott Underwood talks to Tone Deaf about the new album and his excitement about the upcoming Australian tour.
We start off by asking Scott about the new album and what can we expect. “It [California 37] was written over the course of the past couple of years while we were on tour, touring our Save Me San Francisco record and it’s really our best record, I just know it is. It’s just the most cohesive, well balanced, well written record that we have and the band, well, we are at a peak as far as our careers are concerned.”
“Well, we can still get better, but at the moment we are just playing really well…Pat is such a good lyricist now and his vocal melodies and everything, well, we’re really proud. We really knocked it out of the park and our record company and our management and us all of us know we have a such huge record on our hands – even if it’s not huge as far as ten singles or whatever – people are going to say this is Train’s best record.”
So far most people will have only heard the first single ‘Drive By’, though Scott says it isn’t necessarily indicative of the vibe for the rest of the album. “We released ‘Drive By’ and I know you guys have it down there and it’s doing well; in fact it’s doing well all over the world and that’s just the start. We don’t even feel that that’s the best song on the record but the record company was just excited about that song first, there’s plenty more after that. In fact we [Train and their label] were just all together in New York, and they can’t figure what to release next because there are so many to choose from. That’s a really good thing to hear as a band.”
Of all the rumors about California 37 there is a quirky one about a ukulele solo in one of the songs. Sure REM can do a solid ukulele riff and ‘Soul Sister’ was ukulele driven, but can Train pull off a ukulele solo? “The title of the ukulele song is ‘Sing Together’; there was a debate about using the ukulele. Jimmy and I were against it so we really worked up the song with other instrumentations, drums and keyboards [but] when it was all said and done we all looked at each other and realised the original version of the song was the best. Just a ukulele, a keyboard section and a horn section on it, but it’s all very subtle. So, primarily what you hear is a ukulele and Pat singing. It’s really a great tune. It’s more of a deeper cut on the record; when you’re listening to the record you actually do want to sing along to it.”
California 37 can be described as an album with a definite positive feel, Scott says its positivity was a deliberate move motivated by the joy they get watching people dance at their concerts. “In some ways it’s just a progression for us as a band, we have been wanting to become more up tempo, we wanted to write more danceable songs and that has a lot to do with our live show. Playing live is a real big component of our band, it’s really important to us; we really like making people dance.”
We know that Train have been questioned heavily about their 3 year hiatus and their huge comeback with ‘Soul Sister’, hell they even devoted the ‘If It’s Love’ music video to poke fun about their break and their comeback. “When we took the hiatus we didn’t say let’s take a hiatus so we can revitalise the band, we were sort of breaking up at that point, we were really unhappy. Pat and I barely talked and we used to be best friends. The band was broken emotionally and morally so we took that time off and Pat did his solo record. For all we knew Pat was going solo forever – there was no talk about getting the band back together so we all just started moving on doing our own things.”
The way I put it is that, we were all kind of thinking you know what man, I’m really good and I can do better than Train, and what we learned through it all was that we were really really lucky to have Train and there’s something about the chemistry between Pat, Jimmy and I – when we’re together we do really good work.”
It was the break that reminded the trio what they had to be thankful for. “So, when we got back together we started playing for love of doing it again. We were like, let’s have fun. It’s like we have an attitude of gratitude now. It’s like thank you for this career, thank you for this interview; I can’t believe I’m talking Australia and you are are interested in my band.”
Certainly Scott is pretty amped about the upcoming Australian tour in Australia. “We have spent a lot of time down there, the people of Australia really know how to have a good time so we always have a good time.”
Tickets for Train’s Australian tour go on sale tomorrow. You can check out the luxury clip to ‘Drive By’ in our Music Videos section. California 37 is out now on Sony.