Welcome Train to the Trop in 2010


One of the great things about the Tampa Bay Rays regime since Stuart Sternberg and his group purchased the Rays is they way this management group brought out the different new and innovative ways to entice the many causal fans of Tampa Bay to come on out and experience both this fantastic young baseball team, and also take in some classic and different forms of entertainment. And I have to say, the Hess Express/Rays Saturday Night Concert Series might have been the best promotional idea ever devised by the Rays since their first year-end “Jerseys Off Their Backs” promotion.

Not only has the baseball game plus a concert concept brought more fans into Tropicana Field over the last few seasons to see this great team transform, but the Rays have also presented the Tampa Bay community with great up and coming bands, and also a few blasts from some of our past into their overall baseball entertainment options. And with only 5 of the 10 artists in this season’s line-up already announced (ZZ Top, The Go-Go’s, Hall & Oates, John Fogerty and Nelly), I have a new band to let you know about before the Rays “official” announcement in a few days. The rock band Train will be performing after the Rays versus Baltimore Orioles game on August 15,2010.

Most people have heard at least a little bit about the band Train who in 2009 emerged back into the limelight after a self-imposed hiatus for three years to again come out of the starting gate to present their version of rock and roll. The band will come to Tropicana Field after their fifth album release, and an International hit, “Hey Soul Sister” that is still on the Billboard charts and is currently the # 11 choice on last week’s VH-1 Top 20 Countdown.

Most people might not know the San Francisco-based band has actually been around since 1994. From the band’s core members including lead singer Pat Monahan , drummer Scott Underwood and lead guitarist Jimmy Stafford, the band is also known for other hits, such as classic ballad hits like “Hey Virginia” and “Drops of Jupiter”.

And before the late 2009 release of the single “Hey Soul Sister”, the music masses might have known the band more because of the success of their second album, the self-titled “Drops of Jupiter”, then by the bands name, or Monahan’s distinctive high resonant voice. The song “Drops of Jupiter r (Tell Me)” was the group’s first International hit, and won the trio two different 2002 Grammy Awards. And with the catchy “Hey Soul Sister” still rolling on the Billboard Top 100 charts, the band now has two solid Top 10 Hits to their credit. And their second burst at success since their ” time off” shows that Train is ready again to take their rock ballad roots mainstream again to perform throughout MLB venues in 2010.

Train was formed after Monahan left his Led Zepplin cover band back in Erie, PA in 1993 and ventured out to the California coast and met up with local musician/band member Rob Hotchkiss, who was a frequent performer in the numerous coffee houses and small clubs scene in the San Francisco Bay area. From the band’s beginning, Monahan has been the band’s lead vocalist, and after a short time together both Monahan and Hotchkiss decided to commit to a full scale band and both members eagerly brought Stafford, Charlie Colin and Underwood on board in 1994.

After an embarrassing rejection by Columbia Records of the group’s early music in 1996, Train decided to pool their fiscal resources and release their self-entitled CD independently of the long arm of the music industry. The band quickly gained local and regional fame for their new musical style and was finally added to the National touring schedule opening for such headlining bands like the Barenaked Ladies, Hootie and the Blowfish, Cracker and fellow Bay area band Counting Crows.

The self-produced, and distributed EP contained several well received songs that made their presence known quickly outside the San Francisco area. One instant hit with rock stations was the single “Free”, and another track off that $ 25,000 self produced EP turned into the Top 20 Billboard hit, “Meet Virginia”, which peaked at # 15 and brought national acclaim to Train.

The band’s fame rose quickly after the rise of “Meet Virginia” as concert goers word of mouth, and their opening tour gigs got Train a bigger rock audience base to see and hear the band perform other songs like the single ” I Am”, which also came from the $25,000 self produced EP album. The band’s image and solid rock ballad reputation quickly escalated and their debut album was certified platinum by RIAA during 1998. And because of their early success, their second album “Drops of Jupiter” debuted on the Billboard Top 100 list on March 10,2001 and spent over 53 weeks on the charts before falling out of the Top 100 list. This multi-platinum album became the band’s first top 10 album, which peaked at # 6 before a slow roll downhill.

But the many accolades for “Drops of Jupiter” just kept coming as the song won it’s first Grammy for “Best Rock Song” and Train also were presented an additional Grammy Award that night for “Best Arrangement” on the International hit. Train’s second album quickly rose on the United Kingdom’s Billboard charts and peaked at the 8th slot . A second song from that album “She’s On Fire” also made it onto the soundtrack of the Rob Schneider movie “the Animal”, but did have the kind of overflowing success generated by their single “Drops of Jupiter”.

But the album did give the band their first International platinum album in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. And with their new success, Train embarked on their first International Tour, the “Drops of Jupiter” Tour and produced a live DVD of their homecoming concert in San Francisco at The Warfield on May 21,2001.


The band’s reputation only grew as they were picked by the executives of MTV to do a cover of Aerosmith’s classic song “Dream On” for an episode of the MTV show “Icon” which was dedicated to the tremendous rock and roll success of Aerosmith. Soon after Train released their third album “My Private Nation” which produced the Top 20 hit “Calling All Angels” which was an instant hit on the Adult Contemporary charts. Train got their second chance to have their music featured in a film when their song “When I Look to the Sky” was featured in the film trailer for “Jersey Girl” in 2004.

Also that same year, Train had another song ” Ordinary” featured in the movie “Spiderman 2”, and because of that movie exposure the band got their first chance to include their music in another multi-media medium, television when the same song was included during the NBC show “Heroes”. But the so music video for “Ordinary” was played often by MTV during their video rotation but only had moderate success in the Adult Top 40 charts. But then another medium opened its doors to the band when Cingular also included the song “Ordinary” in their cell phone advertising commercials.

With the band’s sound now well known within the rock culture in the United States the went into the studio to began recording their fourth album in 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia. Train’s first single from that release was “Cab”, which hit the rock airwaves in November 2005. But the album “For Me, It’s You” did not have the wide spread commercial success of their previous album releases, and was the first album by Train not to receive an RIAA certification as a platinum album. Even though “Cab” did make it to the #9 position on the Adult Top 40 list, it only peaked at # 10 in the Top 200 Billboard charts.

This was the band’s first brush with falling from grace in the music industry and after a years of constant touring, Train’s members decided to take a “hiatus” from recording and touring to refocus and re-concentrate their efforts to again get back into the good graces of the music public. So in November 2005, Train began their 3-year sabbatical from performing and releasing music to the public. During that off time, Monahan recorded and released a solo album, but it did not fare well with the listening public.

Then last year on August 11,2009, Train released their first single in three years “Hey Soul Sister” on their fifth album “Save Me San Francisco”. This time people remarked positively on the renewed vigor and vitality in Monahan’s voice and how the hiatus might have saved the band and help re-energize the band’s intensity and drive to again. In January 2010, Train saw “Hey Soul Sister” skyrocket up the Billboard’s charts from # 23 to # 7 in one week due largely to an 81 percent increase in digital sales over that last seven days.


Train has gone through it’s own tale of the Phoenix since their first album back in 1998, but their fifth album definitely shows that the band is back with a rock and roll vengeance, and will be a solid addition to the Hess Express/Rays Saturday Night Concert line-up in 2010. I am looking forward to standing there singing along with the group and want to know….Will you be there?


the Trolley defers to “Train” today. They’ve achieved i-Pod status. A lot of owners could learn from Sternberg. I just hope the concerts aren’t the hook. I hope fans are showing up for baseball first. It’s still a package and value deal for the fans.

The train is that distant cousin who travels alot and sees the country compared to the Trolley.
But the trolley is home every night and can forge friendships and connections with it’s local community a train always on the move can not……It is good to be a Trolley.
I think the Concert Series is just a hook right now until we gain those solid foundations within the community, or maybe until the next generation grows to become ticket buyers.
Yankee and Red Sox fans do not under stand why we can not support our team, but they also have over 100 years of tradition and history to pull upon…We are entering our 13th season on play.

Rays Renegade


I love Train. Been a huge fan of theirs since “Meet Virginia”. They have a way with lyrics. Looking forward to tomorrow night. Good luck to the Rays this year!


Flava Dave,
With two more acts still to come, you got to think one will be a Spanish-oriented act, but what could be the second one?
Maybe another local act that has emerged on the National scene? Or maybe another group that has close ties with MLB like Hoobastank, O.A.R. or maybe even Darryl Worley….Guess we will know soon enough!

Rays Renegade


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