It didn't take Train very long to get "back on track" after returning from a three-year hiatus begun in 2009. They had all but disappeared from the public eye, and there was serious doubt among fans, their label, and themselves as to whether they would return at all. And, if they were to give it a shot, if they could be successful. Enter "Hey Soul Sister," the little single that could. After hearing it and loving it, Columbia Records pushed the tune, and it became their best-selling single in history and earned the band a Grammy.
Train just returned from Asia and will be dropping a new album in 2012. Wednesday night, the band will play the halftime show at the Discover Orange Bowl game. Ahead of that stadium-rocking performance and the exciting year ahead, County Grind caught up with drummer Scott Underwood to talk about Train's comeback, their recent activity, and much sillier stuff -- like big-booty women, a potential self-parody called Drops of Poopiter, and choosing fair-haired Johnny Rzeznik as a spouse over the bearded Billy Gibbons.
County Grind: Train toured Asia recently. Do they have soul sisters over there?
Scott Underwood: Yeah, it seemed like it! We had a great response. In fact, it was really unusual for us. We felt really famous.
Like Uncle Jesse and the Rippers! They were huge in Japan.
(laughs) Right! The enthusiasm for music is like a frenzy. When you go onstage, they freak out! It's like the Beatles.
So in addition to being amazing in Asia, y'all are working on a new album?
Yeah, it's almost done at this point, and it's going really well. I honestly think it's our best record. We're more excited than we ever have been.
Are there any tangible reasons for that?
I think that the main thing that is happening is that Pat [Monahan] has really perfected his songwriting. He is like an endless source of hooky, poppy melodies that are really catchy.
So what's next?
Everybody, the whole industry, is wondering what Train is going to do next. That's a really cool position to be in, but it's also dangerous. We could fall back into the trap of just trying to write hit songs. That's really the wrong approach for anybody, I think.
Had you gotten into that mode before?
Yeah, definitely. And that's why we needed to take that break. We just had the wrong attitude. We were kind of in it for the money. Then we took that break and we found the soul again.
It's been ten years now since "Drops of Jupiter" dropped; what did you think of the Weird Al parody that came out recently?
Weird Al? The parody? "Drops of Poopiter"? It's classic.
(laughs) I gotta check it out.
Actually, I was just kidding. He hasn't done that... yet.
(laughs) OK, cool.
Train is playing the halftime show at the Discover Orange Bowl. You guys are like stadium rock now.
(laughs) Yeah, it's very cool.
I imagine that you're just now coming up with ideas for the show, it being a week away. I do have another suggestion if you're not tired of them yet.
No, go ahead.
Halfway through "Soul Sister" -- and remember you are playing in Miami -- you bring out a brigade of big-booty women, the Quad City DJs, and as many members of 2 Live Crew as you can round up and segue into "C'Mon N' Ride It (The Train)." And the whole thing just explodes into a wild booty-dance segment.
That would be another way to keep the industry on their toes.
Yeah, everybody loves big booties. It's good for everyone. We all win.
Ain't that the truth. OK, one more fun question to pull this thing into the station.
Are you familiar with the game Fuck, Chuck, Marry?
You have to choose which of these people or objects that you would have sex with, which one you would discard, and which one you would join in union until death do you part. Ready?
OK, these are three recent Orange Bowl halftime performers: Goo Goo Dolls, ZZ Top, and Jessica Simpson. Fuck, Chuck, Marry.
Dude. Let me think about this for a second.
Sure. This is nothing to rush into.
OK, Jessica Simpson -- fuck. And, let's see. See, it's a toss-up between the beard and the hair.
I think if I were going to marry a man, I would rather them not go bald. I know Billy Gibbons is pretty bald. So, I'd probably chuck him and marry Goo Goo Dolls guy.
I don't know why. I wish I didn't have to marry a dude.
Well, I think there is good instinct there. In addition to Goo Goo guy having pretty hair, those beards probably get filthy. Stuff living in them and whatnot.
Yeah, Goo Goo guy is kind of pretty. If you had to marry him, at least he'd be kind of a pretty man.
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Train performs at halftime at the Discover Orange Bowl. 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 4, at Sun Life Stadium, 2269 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami Gardens. Tickets cost $99 to $225. Click here.