The clock might have struck 50 for Pat Monahan in February — but the lead singer of Train has a secret formula that keeps him acting half his age on and off the stage.
“I married a woman 13 years younger, and we have children that insist that we stay young,” Mr. Monahan told the News-Press, just days away from a stop at the Santa Barbara Bowl alongside the Goo-Goo Dolls, set for 6 p.m. on June 11.
His ability to stay relevant has allowed Train to withstand inner-band turmoil through the years, with Mr. Monahan being the only constant through the years.
After their mega-hit “Calling All Angels” in 2003, Mr. Monahan admits that the group struggled with how to even remain a band, much less make music worthy of pop radio’s airwaves, or more importantly, their fans.
And it was their love of those fans that gave them a renewed focus. Mr. Monahan said it came down to one simple question:
“How do we make music that people care about?”
And the rest became fairly straightforward.
“The main thing that kept us going was that our fans matter,” Mr. Monahan said. “If we give them good music and we keep trying as hard as we can, they will continue to care about us.
“It’s that simple, there’s nothing else to it.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
And Mr. Monahan is motivated by legacy, with a sense of pride over the band’s release of their 17-song Greatest Hits album at the end of 2018, featuring popular tracks such as “Drops of Jupiter,” “Hey Soul Sister” and “Meet Virginia.”
While Mr. Monahan watched bands such as Coldplay have massive success and friend Adam Levine land a TV gig as a judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” he was focused on creating a library of music that could be looked at as a catalog.
“Many bands came and went; many came and blew up, and at the time, that made me envious,” Mr. Monahan said. “But I always wanted a catalog, enough work that I’d be like all the artists that I admired since I was little — that word ‘catalog’ mean everything to me. I’m proud of the way that worked out.”
Mr. Monahan has also filled his days with other projects, including a weekend spot on Sirius XM The Pulse hosting a show called “Train Tracks,” where he integrates music from up-and-coming artists, giving them exposure that is priceless.
In addition, it’s an opportunity for the Pennsylvania native to be heard beyond his live performances.
“My managers and I found out how difficult it is for people to care, to want to see you and hear from you,” Mr. Monahan explained. “But I think if you have a chance to be heard, you should take it. If you have any interest, you should try to be heard and be seen.”
And he enjoys getting messages from the unknown artists that know he is paying it forward to help future generations of music.
“Sometimes, it is really rewarding, some of the kids reach out and thank me. It’s sweet. They get the importance of the show,” Mr. Monahan said.
While having children, a band and a radio show might be enough for most, Mr. Monahan has also sunk his teeth deeply into the business and nonprofit world with the rise of his wine label, “Drops of Jupiter.”
The interest in creating the wine label stemmed from the abundance of fans that would request to propose to their loved one on stage to the band’s song “Marry Me.”
One of those that were granted that opportunity was involved with the wine business and offered to help get it started.
Fast forward, and Mr. Monahan and winemaker James Foster have created a $20 portfolios of wines, sourced from various wine regions across the world.
But it wasn’t just a business venture, as Mr. Monahan and Mr. Foster push proceeds to the nonprofit, “Family House,” which provides temporary housing for families with seriously ill children undergoing treatment at the UC San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital.
“We wanted to make a product that reflected San Francisco and the Bay Area, and share it with the rest of the world. Wine was best way to do that,” Mr. Monahan said. “It was easy to choose Family House. Their rating is incredible, amazing volunteers, there is no one flying in on private jets.”
As for his love of wine, he hasn’t quite yet checked out what Santa Barbara has to offer.
“I’m always looking forward to trying anyone’s wine,” he quipped.
Santa Barbara will be the fourth stop on the 39-show tour with the Goo Goo Dolls, a band that Mr. Monahan is looking forward to hitting the road with after some recent lackluster trips around the country with bands that didn’t mold well with Train.
“We know those guys, we love those guys. That’ll eliminate the nonsense,” Mr. Monahan said “We are a traveling family we we are together. The crews have to respect each other, the bands have to respect each other. Fans are only there to see the friendship and camaraderie.”
That’s a lesson that Mr. Monahan learned after leaving a cover band in his native Erie, Pa., moving to L.A. after a band member from Cher’s entourage encouraged him to do so after listening to him in a bar.
He’d meet the original members of Train in L.A., eventually realizing that their message and energy might be better received in San Francisco, where there was less noise and more opportunity.
“We fell in love because of the incredible opportunities that city gave us.”
And, 25 years later, he’s still making sure he gives back.