Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pat Monahan, I Got Your 411

You have probably been wondering why it has taken so long for me to post the Train concert rewind.

Well, it has been a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around it. That is honest.

I saw them a couple of times in 2004-2005 when they were on the road promoting their record, My Private Nation. The first time it was a total accident and I totally fell in love with them. The second time they were with Natalie Merchant and Smash Mouth and it was totally planned. That was just a trifecta of wonderful and I was already head over heels for Train.

They released several more records since My Private Nation. That means more hits. More songs. And they went into this tour in a completely different space. They headlined. They weren't opening or in the middle. I didn't think about what all of that would mean. There are always trades. The bigger you get, the more you lose. I know that you should get more, but you don't. It always works in reverse. You get more showy stuff like lights and big screens, but you lose time. You have more songs to sing and less time. Things have to go.

And that wonderful repartee that you used to get to enjoy with your audience... well, you don't have time for that anymore, either. You are on a freakin' clock. Too many songs. Not enough time.

What I felt in 2004-2005 was how much Train loved the performance. Pat is a funny, funny guy. He is also this serious guy who can write a song that will make you cry your eyes out. In other words, you can feel EVERYTHING in an hour (or two). You will, laugh, cry, and laugh again. Plus just drown in the beauty of the words. They are so good you don't need a light show or big screens to sell them. You just need Pat to talk to the audience. It is his opening the window to the soul of the band and giving the audience a peek in.. and it leaves everyone breathless for that moment in time. That is the moment that is worth the entire ticket price. Everything else is gravy.

So, when someone understands how to captivate an audience.... it does create magic when it happens... and I have lived through it twice.... why would you stop doing it?

California 37 is a brilliant album. It is their best work since My Private Nation. Save Me, San Francisco has moments of grace on it, but it fumbles. Like My Private Nation, California 37 is listening pleasure beginning to end. They got lost, but Train found their way again. And I was beyond happy for them:-)

So, things get cut in this new concert setting. That was one thing I just had to wrap my brain around. They didn't play my favorite songs. They truncated some and left out others entirely. Boo Hoo. They didn't have time. And Pat was somewhat chatty with the audience, but he was off. It was mostly song to song and we are outta here. Clap clap clap. Come back for the mandatory two song finale. And now we are really done. All with big lights and big screens. It was dizzying and not in the best way. Pat sang his heart out. Musically, it rocked. I can't say I didn't get my money's worth. I just didn't get my window. I didn't get my laugh, cry, laugh again moments. And if I had never had them, I wouldn't have known I was missing anything.

Today I read Pat's blog. I realize I haven't been keeping up. What people are saying to him is getting to him. The negativity is wearing him down. People aren't getting his humor. And that is a damn shame, because he is hilarious. So that is probably why he is cutting back on joking around between songs, because he doesn't want the negative feedback. And he doesn't want to open a window into his life, because that is just asking for negative feedback (right?). People and their negative feedback are taking the Meaningful out of Train concerts. You throw a bunch of crapola on someone and they stop giving you ammunition. It's called self-preservation.

Here is one of his more recent posts:

31th August 2012
And you’re sure you considered EVERYthing?

I am arriving at a place I dreamed of as a young lad(using this word as a tribute to the UK). On the way the road twisted, dead ended, forked, crossed…you name it, the road did it.
I thought I thought of everything. Really I did. I felt sorry for artists that started to believe the nonsense. Like believing that you’re as special as people want to think you are.
I looked on at the admirable jobs and places in the music world and decided that if I get my shot, I will do it with kindness and love and respect and I will make my parents proud, whether they are here to see it or not.
I decided that music is my ongoing road to find myself. The closer I got to that special music and connection, the closer I would get to knowing my true self.
I’m pretty sure that all of this was accurately moving towards truly working out as planned. Yeah, it took longer, had way more casualties and hurt way more than I thought it might, but the joy has continued to outweigh the lack there of.
Here’s the problem..I didn’t consider what might be the most important piece in this pursuit. I didn’t even think this part was possible. As I go down this road and get closer to finding myself, closer and closer each day, becoming in tune with my true self, what if I don’t like who I find waiting there?
I’m not looking for adulation nor confirmation. I mean really. What if as I approach that thing that we all long to find-our own personal meaning, what happens if the closer I get the more I resemble an unlikable version of what i was when i started this journey?
I’m not exactly sure what that would mean for me. I’m not sure that I would be able to continue this particular quest.
I do know this..I am making more mistakes now than ever and that worries me.

I dread writing and worrying people. I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m healthy. I’m okay. I’m in touch. BUT I’m not exactly sure I like what I’m becoming.
I’ve always wanted to be perfect. That led me to an endless sea of heartbreak and disappointment.
Now I just try not to break what I touch along the way. For everyone that I may touch positively, it seems someone else is being hurt or ignored.
As its said, “Everything will work out in the end. If it isn’t working out, it isn’t the end.”

As you move towards reaching your higher self, are you sure that you considered EVERYthing?


I couldn't respond to your blog, but I would have said you are allowing other people to dictate how you feel about yourself. You are a wonderful person. Please stop doubting yourself. You are not breaking anyone or anything. You always do the best that you can. Always. The only thing you are doing wrong now is not listening to your internal voice. You are not being you. I will explain this more as I go...

I used the link-in feature so that you could go direct to his blog if you wanted to do any other reading on your own. If you figure out how to comment, let me know. I am a total dweeb about these sorts of things.

One of the other comments he makes in a totally different blog is how hundreds of people can say how much they love him and one person's obnoxious hateful comment is the one that sticks. Doesn't that just suck? Why do we do that to ourselves? Hear all of the "you are wonderfuls" with a sort of "okay, if you say so" approach, but those "you suck" comments really hit in the heart. We believe that. Why is that? He was also talking about how people were targeting his sense of humor and really being ugly about it. He didn't say that he has since stopped talking on stage, but I know that he has really toned it down. He doesn't feel free to be himself. The haters are winning.

And there is the Catch 22 of stardom. The more you have, the more you can lose. When you don't have anything, you have nothing to lose. Back in the beginning, the haters didn't stop him. He didn't have a light show. He wasn't headlining. He didn't have big screens. Train wasn't rolling so hard. The faster you roll, the bigger you can crash. The flip side is that the faster you roll, the harder you can squash those little turds bullies with mouths that won't shut the fuck up. (If I just offended you, I am so thankful we got that over with, because it was bound to happen sooner or later. Now we can move on... because I always call it like I see it. And that was how I see it.)

So, Pat and the rest of Train, I hope that you read this and let Train start rolling again as AWESOME as it ever was, and even better than I can imagine. I just answered your 411. Give them hell. Be yourselves. It will solve ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS. In case you forgot, this is who you are:

as for the image... that is me pre-Train concert 9/7/12.


  1. Replies
    1. I love them, too. They have fought long and hard for their dream. I really want them to win this and and be happy with their outcome. Fame can be a real kick in the pants.

  2. The scenario is not limited to Train. We all get that. It is impossible to straighten people out. It is only possible to straighten oneself out.

    Confidence means you can ignore the negative forces in life. A great sound and lots of popularity does not translate to great confidence. Our rock stars have always taught us that fact. Nobody kills himself or herself with drugs because they are too popular or make too much money. They simply can't handle it.

    The solution: Handle it.

    1. I will say that Pat's more recent posts are more positive than this one, so I think he is working through this crisis. One thing I really admire about Pat is that he uses the "I want to like this place" in order to like it. That is how he deals with the months of traveling on the road. He decides that he wants to like wherever he is and by doing so he does. He is a very special guy. I know he will find a way to turn this around. He just needed to remember who he really was. I was just helping....

  3. Being authentic isn't always easy. But it's worth it. Eventually, you just have to stop worrying about what some people might think of how you do your thing. And just keep doing it. You'll never be happy if you try too hard to please others. Believe me, I know more about this subject than I ever would like to.
    Life is way more fun when we're true to ourselves, even if we have to go through trial by fire to get there.

    1. Agreed. And I believe that Pat knows that, too. He just needs to remember that he knows it. Sometimes we just need gentle reminders to jog our memory. If he doesn't read this blog, eventually he will tread deep enough into familiar territory that it becomes recognizable. He will look around and think, "I have been here before," and then it will all become clear. That is when he will know how to get out. As you said, trial by fire. I was just hoping to save him from that. But, if you sign up for the lesson...

  4. Oh, I feel Pat's pain, truly. As someone who is criticized not on my blog - where folks are wonderful! - but on for everything from portion sizes to making "too much brown food" (no, I am NOT kidding), I know how readily he must want to shut down and hold back. He's getting 1000-fold beyond what I do. Most people believe in him, support him, encourage him, respond to him, feel what he's trying to convey in his lyrics ... and yet, one nitwit who not only doesn't "get" him, but who apparently has nothing better to do with his time than to send negative energy into the universe, can be the undoing. That's what you, he, I focus upon - the person we didn't reach, somehow, some way. It's not about people-pleasing, but more about our own selves and not feeling whole, perhaps, such that these kinds of comments sneak in and then fester ....

    1. I think the pain of a true artist is that you will never please everyone. And the loudest voices will always be the ones who are bitching. And when what they are screaming about is something you poured your heart and soul into to create, that freakin' hurts. And they don't stop there. They complain about your looks, your voice, your sense of humor, the sum total of you. No part of you comes away unjudged. I imagine it feels very much like going through the shredder.

      And Pat has to start blocking out those negative voices. Or at least not allowing them to take up residence in his "house." I say this as someone who can hold on to a negative comment for YEARS and dismiss a positive one in seconds. So, I know how hard this is...

      He might have to develop a "Is this actually true?" test. If what someone says passes the test, then it is worth consideration. If it doesn't, then into File 13 it goes never to be heard from again. I am thinking that might be a good idea for me, too... And maybe for you...

  5. We often see someone experience great success, and we are envious of them. We never seem to realize/understand that they experience the same ups and downs, and screw-ups in Life that we do...


  6. You know, I think you are correct...the thing that brought them fame and happiness was being themselves..they were searching for someone to listen to their music. Many people like it, but when they come across someone who doesn't...they, or he, seems to wonder if that means that everyone else is just sucking his ass or if they are being sincere. I say what you who you are and the people who like YOU will still be there. change for others and you attract people who like the fake you...and then you lose the people who love the real you. This is a tragedy. And is not to be considered. Speaking of that...I finally heard the eminem and dr. dre song I need a doctor. I was reminded of the line "I can take no more, I demand that you remember who you are!" Insecurity comes when we abandon ourselves. Great post Robin.


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