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Train Roll Into New Decade With Unlikely Comeback Hit

‘Hey, Soul Sister’ scores with help from Beyoncé songwriters and ‘CSI’

Rolling Stone IN Mar 10, 2010

Chris McKay/Wireimage

No one is more surprised that Train’s breezy, ukulele-driven new single, ”˜Hey, Soul Sister,’ has joined Jay-Z and Lady Gaga in the Top 10 than the group’s singer, Pat Monahan. “It’s wild,” the 40-year-old frontman says. “We played in Chicago in front of 10,000 fans. Half of them were teenage girls. It was amazing.” Adds Brian Thomas, programme director for New York Top 40 station Fresh 102.7, “I bet most people wouldn’t know this song is Train because it’s so different than their other songs. We doubled our spins of it in the last week.”

Train first scored with 1998’s ”˜Meet Virginia’; their 2001 anthem ”˜Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)’ was one of that year’s biggest hits ”“ but after two albums failed to connect, the band took three years off. Train’s comeback began in 2009, when they -connected with Fall Out Boy co-manager Jonathan Daniel. “When I met Pat, he seemed lost,” Daniel says. “He was trying to write another radio hit rather than writing good songs and letting the magic work at radio.” The group teamed with Norwegian production duo Espionage (Espen Lind and Amund Bjorkland), best known for Beyoncé’s ”˜Irreplaceable,’ to help flesh out the demo that became ”˜Hey, Soul Sister.’ “I said to them, ”˜Man, I really want to write a super-INXS-y song like ”˜Need You Tonight,’” Monahan says. “Espen picked up a ukulele and began strumming. I said, ”˜You just turned it into the greatest song ever!’ It just changed everything.”

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When the single was released nearly six months ago, it barely cracked the Hot 100. But when a CSI episode featuring the song (with Monahan portraying a murder suspect) hit the airwaves in December, the song exploded. Says Daniel, “The sales doubled that week, and it’s just taken off from there.”

The group is seeing its largest crowds in years ”“ but Train are also finding success easier to deal with the second time around. “I used to want to be on Saturday Night Live, but now I want to be on [Nick Jr kids show] Yo Gabba Gabba!” says Monahan, who has three children. “If U2 gets 48,000 fans, and we get 500 or 5,000, then fuck it, man. My life is great. I don’t want to be U2 anymore. Those days are gone.”

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