Pat Monahan: The poet who became a rock star

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Train’s Pat Monahan has added a solo project to his already impressive repertoire. The lead singer of the Grammy-award wining band is now seeking recognition for his first solo album, The Last of Seven (Sept. 18, Columbia).

Monahan, the youngest of seven kids, spent his years before fame living in small-town Pennsylvania.

“No one in my family played music, but there was a love of music,” Monahan said “We always had music playing around the house.”

As the youngest in his family, Monahan’s older siblings became like another set of parents to him, acting as pivotal influences.

“It was pretty cool,” Monahan said. “My older brother was more of a parent to me. He took me to baseball practices and other activities.”

In addition to standing out in a not-so musically inclined family, Monahan also began his artistic journey in an unusual manner. He spent much of his time growing up delving into a different artistic medium-poetry.

“I began to write poems in high school,” Monahan said. “I wanted to be like Led Zeppelin, but the poetry was nothing like that, so I began to learn the drums . [In addition,] a lot of people would say that guys don’t sing because they are too shy. I took on the challenge to sing.”

In the ’90s, the Monahan-lead Train made a name for itself with hits such as “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and “Calling All Angels,” with which the band went multi-platinum. Monahan loved his role as the lead singer, the apparent face of the group, calling the opportunity “really cool.”

Despite his ambitions as a solo artist, Monahan was quick to debunk rumors of a possible Train breakup.

“I like those guys a lot, and I plan on picking up with Train again,” said Monahan. “We’re like a family . I’m just on vacation from the family right now.”

The Last of Seven is currently leading Monahan on nationwide tour. Though he is trying to come into his own with this solo album, there are definite similarities between his solo work and his work with Train.

“I think the fans of Train like the songs ‘Always Midnight’ and ‘Oh My My,'” Monahan said. “I [personally] like the songs ‘Two Ways to Say Goodbye,’ ‘Great Escape’ and ‘Pirate on the Run.’ ‘Pirated on the Run’ because it’s a duet with Brandi Carlile, and I really enjoyed working with her.”

As for his inspirations behind the album, Monahan does not limit himself to one or two artistic awakenings.

“I feel that life is just inspiring,” Monahan said. “Everyone is looking for love and creative ways of having it.”

Despite his wide variety of artistic stimulations, methods and abilities, Monahan knows exactly what he wants to do with the rest of his life, and that is exactly what he is doing.

“I don’t know how to do anything else,” Monahan said. “I’ll just see where life and music takes me.”

As for now, Monahan’s plan seems to be working out just fine.