Pat Monahan may have moved with his wife and kids to a secluded spot outside Seattle, looking, he says, “for a little patch of green where I can do my own thing.” But that doesn’t mean that this leader of the Grammy-winning outfit Train doesn’t miss his native Bay Area soil, despite any odd events to the contrary. “I had this very unique San Francisco moment when I was there recently,” he says.
While promoting his new Columbia solo set “Last of Seven,” and its single “Her Eyes,” he stopped to shop for jeans on Van Ness Avenue. “So we parked the car on Sutter, and unfortunately, one of my management girls left her computer on the front seat, and we came back to a smashed-in window and no computer. And I was really disappointed, because I love S.F., but at that moment I was like ‘Why do we even come here?’”
Amid shattered glass and shattered faith, the frustrated entourage drove off, only to pull up to a zenlike local at a stoplight.
“He rolled down his window and asked what happened,” recalls Monahan, whose trust was quickly restored. (He returns to play the Fillmore in a solo show Tuesday.) “I told him, and he said ‘You know, you really have to feel sorry for peoplelike that.’ And he was right — would you rather be the guy who got your stuff stolen, or the guy who desperately stole your stuff? It was a perfect San Francisco kind of attitude, to have compassion for somebody that would have to stoop so low.”
The big karmic questions? Monahan, 38, has been mulling many of late. And his conclusion is best summarized in a line from the new song “The Great Esacape”: “Maybe I found that my destination is somewhere I already know.”
When Train first kicked off in ‘94, he admits, “I wanted big houses, I wanted to live a life like all these celebrities that you see. But as time goes on, I want less and less. And now, I’ve never lived a simpler life, and I’ve never been happier.”
An old manager, he adds, used to insist that family was overrated — his career should come first.
“But no, it’s not — family’s pretty incredible, something I’ve learned over the last couple of years. That’s why I called this record ‘Last of Seven’ — I was the last of seven kids, and I value that more than anything. If it all fell apart tomorrow, they wouldn’t care — my family doesn’t care if I have a hit song or not, and I attribute a lot of who I am to what they helped me be.”
Smash singles were always in abundance for the artist, who penned soaring sing-alongs such as “Cab,” “Drops of Jupiter” and “Calling All Angels.”
But he chose to push his craft even further during a recent Train break by collaborating with Madonna/Elton John alum Patrick Leonard; the process led to a full solo album, and cameos from high-profile pals like Graham Nash, Richie Sambora and Brandi Carlile, who duets on “Pirate on the Run.”
“Her Eyes,” already another radio/VH1 hit, is a heartfelt ode to his wife. Monahan elaborates, “The truth is, I always longed to find the beauty in myself through someone else’s eyes, and man, having found that? It’s pretty amazing.”
Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 9
Contact: (415) 421-8497; www.ticketmaster.com