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"I need a sign to let me know you're here/'Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear/I want a reason for the way things have to be/I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me"
— from "Calling All Angels"

For Train founder Patrick Monahan, the rock star lifestyle initially included drug and alcohol abuse. With role models such as Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and The Beatles, the aspiring artist assumed such vices were necessary to inspire creativity. After years of struggles and frustrations, Monahan eventually changed his way of thinking. He cleaned up his act and left his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania for San Francisco, where he formed the Grammy Award–winning rock band Train, best known for their smash hit "Drops of Jupiter."

How things have changed since those wild days of youth. Compared to most pop/rock bands, Train is downright wholesome, espousing themes of commitment and family values along with the typical subjects of romance and life struggles. "I'm a 34–year–old guy," Monahan said in an interview with Cleveland.com. "I'm not an 18–year–old kid playing punk rock, drinking booze and smoking weed every night. I already did that. That's not what I want in my life. I want to be a great friend, husband and dad."

Such sentiments crop up in many of Train's songs, often autobiographical for Monahan. "I'm About to Come Alive," from My Private Nation, is a heartfelt outpouring of a man determined to live out his obligations as a loving father and husband. But even more intriguing is Train's willingness to explore matters of faith. The band's mainstream hit, "Calling All Angels" (excerpted above) is a response to tragedy and a fallen world, likely inspired in part by the ...

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January 2003

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