Quick Q&A With Patrick Monahan
Your new single “Play That Song” opens with the melody from the old standby, “Heart and Soul.” How did you pull that off?
Basically, I called my management and said, “I’m going to sing ‘Heart and Soul,’ but with different lyrics and a different bridge and melody for the verses.” They were pretty nervous about it, because it’s such a big song. But the people who own the “Heart and Soul” copyright loved the idea.
Train has had a lot of radio-friendly hits Over the years. has the formula for making a hit song changed at all?
At this point in my career, I can get a song on the radio, but that’s not really the thing I’m searching for. I’m searching for a connection to people, and that’s just shy of impossible to do. It’s more competitive now because there’s so much more music out there than there used to be.
Is there almost too much music out there now?
Yeah, you can get lost in all of it. But somehow kids find what they want. For instance, when Alessia Cara came out, they found her really quickly.
You did an album of Led Zeppelin covers last year. Was that tougher or easier than writing a bunch of new songs?
You don’t have to worry about writing, but you have to worry about doing justice to songs people have very strong opinions about. There was a lot of hate for the Led Zeppelin album until people actually heard it. But when they heard it, many of them seemed to think, Okay, this band is really serious.
Do you turn to your kids for musical inspiration?
I have a 24-year-old, a 19-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 5-year-old. I use the little kids as a sounding board a lot when it comes to writing, because they’re what’s happening next. I’ll play them new music before anybody else. If they respond to it, I know there’s something very positive about it that could translate into other people liking it.
Speaking of positivity, your latest album, A Girl A Bottle A Boat, is very upbeat. Does it get harder, as you get older, to sound that way?
Actually, it’s the opposite. When I first started out, I was in a relationship that wasn’t a lot of fun, and everything I wrote was sad, or somehow said, “I’m sorry,” or “I’ll change.” Then I met my wife and everything got better. On this record, I just wanted to create music that made me happy. Maybe it will make someone else happy, too.