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‘Ralphie Tonight’ At The 2014 ‘American Music Awards’ – Day 2

Saturday was day 2 of “Ralphie Tonight” broadcasting live from Westwood One’s “Red Carpet Radio” at the 2014 “American Music Awards” in Los Angeles. The second day of the broadcast is always the craziest but most fun because of the amount of celebrities that are in town for the event.

It was so great to see a few familiar faces like Mary Lambert, Gavin DeGraw, and Pat Monahan of Train. Also “Mr. Worldwide” – Pitbull – sat down for an exclusive interview the night before his gig hosting The AMAs!

INTERVIEW: Pat And Jimmy From Train On ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ And The San Francisco Giants

In an interview taped prior to the release of Train’s seventh studio album “Bulletproof Picasso,” Pat Monahan and Jimmy Stafford sat down in the MLB Fan Cave for MLB.com to chat with me about the band’s new music and love for San Francisco and its Giants.


The audio portion of this interview aired on “Ralphie Tonight” following the Giants’ series win over the Nationals to advance to the NLCS. To watch the interview and Train’s MLB Fan Cave Concert, click here.

INTERVIEW: Michael Franti on Touring With Train, Releasing ‘All People’

Michael Franti is known to his fan base for his philanthropy and philosophy as much as his music. Franti might be the last artist that you would think to hear shout out Jay Z and Beyonce in a song. But, the San Francisco singer does just that on the track “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like).” The gesture took at least one fan by surprise.

“(The fan) was coming at it from this political angle,” recalled Franti during an interview that aired Monday night on “The Ralphie Show.” “I was like, ‘Should I shout out like (Vladimir) Putin and (Bashar al-) Assad?’”

Franti does not believe that name-checking the presidents of Russia and Syria would have been more appropriate. Rather, the singer attempted to use the situation to dispel a misnomer about him and his music.

“I write songs about every aspect of life,” he explained. “Politics is one of them. I care about what’s happening in the world as much as I always have. Not every day, do I wake up in the morning and turn on CNN or whatever and follow the 24 hour news cycle. I get up like everybody else. I make breakfast for my son and I get him to school and I pick him up afterwards. I want to make music that goes for people’s 24 hour life cycle, not just the 24 hour news cycle.”

Without directly addressing it, Franti perhaps also fully explained the title of his band’s latest LP, All People. The group released the album in July and promoted it while touring with Train and Gavin DeGraw. Franti has a massive amount of respect for Pat Monahan and his band, who the “Say Hey” singer first met over 15 years ago back in San Francisco. The trek was Franti’s first encounter with DeGraw.

“Gavin is an awesome guy; horrible soccer player, he’s the worst soccer player, but he’s an incredible guy,” joked Franti. “He’s pretty athletic, it’s just soccer is not one of his things.”

We’ll refrain from the puns we could drop about Gavin not being able to “Follow Thru” on the field or noting that we “Don’t Wanna Be” stuck on his team. Instead, note that Franti and Spearhead will tour up until the holidays, and are also enlisting the help of Monahan and others for a new foundation called, “Do It For The Love.” Franti and his partner Sara started the organization to help send people with advanced stages of life threatening illnesses, kids with disabilities, and wounded veterans to see some of their favorite artists live. More info is available here.

INTERVIEW: Train Explains Why ‘Bruises’ Is A Nice Surprise At Radio, Talks Kidd Kraddick’s Passing

The band Train takes its “Mermaids of Alcatraz” tour to Dallas this weekend. Pat Monahan was looking forward to hanging out with two old friends: Columbia Records EVP Lee Leipsner and radio host Kidd Kraddick.

But the beloved host of “Kidd Kraddick In The Morning” died over the weekend at the age of 53. Monahan, along with his band mates Scott Underwood and Jimmy Stafford, were saddened by the news.

“Kidd has been a big supporter of Train for our whole career,” Monahan noted in an interview which aired Monday evening on “The Ralphie Show.” “He’s been in this business a lot longer than we have.”

The timing of Kraddick’s passing hurt Monahan even more.

“Any loss is sad, but to know you were moments away from seeing an old friend, and now you can’t,” the lead singer said. “Our hearts go out to his family.”

Leipsner told All Access that the band will pay tribute to Kraddick on Saturday at the Gexa Energy Pavilion. Train is currently playing outdoor venues with The Script and Gavin DeGraw in tow. Also sharing the stage with the San Francisco-based artists is country singer/songwriter Ashley Monroe. The songstress is featured on the next single from California 37, “Bruises.”

“We asked (Ashley) two years ago to sing ‘Bruises’ with us,” Monahan revealed. “We didn’t know if (95.5 PLJ) and stations like that around the United States would embrace a country artist.”

So far, so good. The “Hey, Soul Sister,” singer is pleasantly surprised.

“It’s our favorite song on the record,” he said. “The fact that people are responding to it the way that they are… it’s a great ending to this album cycle.”

With that, Monahan also breaks the news that this fourth single from the LP will likely be the last. Train’s proper tour ends in mid-August. The band will play a handful of fairs and festivals through September 1, and then gear up for the “Sail Across The Sun Cruise” next February.

INTERVIEW: Train’s Pat Monahan Recovers Lost Voice, Hints at 2013 Newtown Benefit Project

A band is only going as far as its lead singer can take it. In the case of Train, that explains the seemingly non-stop run that the trio has been on since 2009. Front man Pat Monahan is one of the most durable singers in the business; known for performing two acoustic showcases and a full band live set in a day’s work. But as Monahan found out last week, he is still human.

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“I had to get on this steroid,” revealed Monahan of medical treatment he received after he essentially burned out during a stretch of holiday show performances. “I’ve never had to do before. I’ve heard about other singers doing it but, I just was incapable of singing.”

Not wanting to cancel on Train’s fans, the physical ailment didn’t stop Monahan from trying. But once the singer lost his voice mid-show in Tennessee, he knew that it was time to seek help.

“I’m in the league of, the more I use (my voice), the better it gets,” he explained. “It’s more like practice than it is singing incorrectly.”

Monahan has used his voice quite a bit as of recent, and not just for performing in arenas. In addition to a hectic year-end schedule that included a guest spot during the Miss Universe Competition, a music video shoot for “Mermaid” and a collaboration with the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition,” Train recently stopped by Sandy-ravaged Sea Bright, NJ. The band performed for storm victims at the local fire hall to raise awareness and funds for the recovery efforts. Footage of the show will be broadcasted Christmas Day on VH1.

“Before what happened in Connecticut, (Sandy) was the one, profound heartbreaking event in my life,” Monahan said. “Sea Bright was closed down. You couldn’t even get in. There were places that were on the beach that are now behind buildings. There’s not one business that works currently. Many people don’t have homes. Everything is bad there.”

It seems the benefit show affected Monahan positively, as he hinted at possibly lending a helping hand (or voice) to Newtown, Conn. in 2013.

“My pursuit is not to make more and more money,” Monahan said. “It’s to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

Monahan continued, citing the letters he received from people who were moved by “Hey, Soul Sister.”

“I don’t know how to write about these events and make people feel better, but man I have to do something,” he said. “I certainly would like it to be better for people.”

EXCLUSIVE: A Year Later, B.o.B Reflects on Debut LP and Advice from Lupe Fiasco

The May 15, 2010 edition of the Billboard 200 featured the debut album of B.o.B atop the chart, selling over 80,000 copies. A year separated from his number one LP, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, the Atlanta emcee still can’t believe how quickly the success came about.

“I try to stay away from a lot of stats all the time,” Bobby Ray said in an exclusive sit-down interview with “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “I don’t want to get too caught up in stats. I’d rather just play the game and look at the stats at the end of the game, but we worked hard on that album.”

The success is yielding dividends a year later, as B.o.B continues to tour the globe performing hits like “Nothin’ on You,” “Airplanes,” and “Magic.”

“You define your own success,” he said. “Just trying to get to the point where you have steady income as an artist – that takes years to get. So, that fire that keeps you (making music), that’s what creates the type of stamina that will allow you to continue to be a touring artist or whatever type of artist you want to be.”

Matter of fact, the rapper credits an artist he toured with, Atlantic Records label-mate Lupe Fiasco, as someone who helped him get to that point.

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“Lupe really looked out for me in a huge way, especially at the point that I was at,” admits B.o.B, who opened for Fiasco last spring. “I remember on tour he presented me with a cake for my album release day, and he bought an album. That was a very memorable moment for me.”

But as many would later come to find out – B.o.B received more than a cake and an album purchase from Fiasco. Both “Nothin’ on You” and “Airplanes” were originally slated for Lupe’s Lasers.

“In the music industry, there are songs that float around for some years that have nothing but a hook and a beat,” he explained. “A lot of the times those are the songs that the label has as like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna push these songs (on certain artists).’ It’s almost like an outfit. As an artist, sometimes it’s frustrating because it’s like, ‘I don’t wanna wear that outfit, I wanna make my own outfit and wear it because I have a sense of style also and I’m pretty sure my fans like the type of outfits I wear.”

B.o.B was aware that Fiasco had first dibs on “Airplanes.” Judging the results, it seems the track agreed with his wardrobe in the end.

“A lot of people say A&R and labels are wrong and they don’t know what they’re talking about. But I have to admit, sometimes us as artists don’t know what we’re talking about,” he said. “Sometimes we get too caught up in what we want, and it becomes more about proving a point than it does making music for the fans.”

Finding common ground, while not compromising himself as an artist, is something that B.o.B continues to strive for as he creates his sophomore album.

“I feel like this is a very special project,” he said. “I feel like it’s even more special than the first album.”

Surely that is something that label executives and loyal listeners all hope they can agree on.

EXCLUSIVE: B.o.B Hints at Train Collab; Previews VMA Performance

That might not be an airplane in the night sky you see Sunday during the MTV Video Music Awards. Actually, it could just be B.o.B himself shooting through the air.

“I’m still waiting to hear back about my space boots that I’m supposed to be wearing,” revealed the “Nothin’ On You” emcee during an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “Basically, (the space boots) flip the polarization of whatever you’re standing on so that you actually float.”

B.o.B was unsure if he’d have them in time for Sunday, but joked that if he did, he would wear nothing but those on stage. It’s fitting that he’s attempting to wear space boots, given that he’s nominated to win five “Moon Men” at Sunday’s VMAs.

Download the interview




Certainly the rapper doesn’t need astronaut shoes to feel he’s on “Cloud 9” these days. With a number one album and a handful of big hits spawning from it, 2010 has been good to B.o.B. The success is only yielding more opportunities, one of which could make for an interesting collaboration with the band Train.

“We actually did a few shows together, and I really got to learn a lot about just everything that I’m in and everything that I’m doing because Train, they had a really big hit also like, a few years back. So for them, this is like, round two,” he explained. “I learned a lot from them so; hopefully… you never know… something could emerge!”

The emcee revealed him and Train’s Pat Monahan “have definitely talked” about teaming up in the studio – now it’s just a matter of finding time. B.o.B believes that “once the dust settles” on their current schedules, the two will work something out.

EXCLUSIVE: Kris Allen Approves of Steven Tyler as an ‘Idol’ Judge

The debate is on: is Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler a good replacement for Simon Cowell as a judge on “American Idol”? Season 8 winner Kris Allen thinks Tyler can sit in the chair, and perhaps add even more of an intimidation factor to the show’s contestants.

“(Tyler’s) a great singer himself, so, you didn’t have to deal with that with Simon,” Allen noted. “You know, Steven Tyler can go, ‘Hey, I’m better than you.’” You can say, ‘You can’t do that Simon,’ but you can’t say that to Steven Tyler.”

Allen sat next to Tyler once at a concert, and only has high praise for the Hall of Famer.

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“I definitely think he’s been in the business long enough to do it,” said Allen, approving of the notion that Tyler would sit at the table this season. “He’s an interesting person… seemed like a nice guy.”

The “Idol” alum isn’t such a bad guy either – 2010 has seen him travel to both Haiti and Rwanda on charity missions. I informed Allen that Wyclef Jean would probably be running for president of Haiti (he ended up officially declaring his candidacy later in the week).

“I think he cares about it. I think he cares a lot,” said Allen. “Maybe it’d be a really great thing, I mean, I know that their government was really messed up before so, I think he probably has the vote considering his popularity.”

In the States, its Allen’s popularity that has kept him busy this summer – touring with Barenaked Ladies and Keith Urban while promoting his new single, “The Truth”, which features Train lead singer Pat Monahan. Allen informed me on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that he’s been too busy to even commence construction on his new home in Arkansas.

EXCLUSIVE: Train’s Pat Monahan Talks Big Hits, Baseball, and Big Ben

You would think by now, after five albums, four top twenty hits, and a three year hiatus, not much would surprise Train lead singer Pat Monahan. You’d think incorrectly.

“The biggest shock of my life, so far, was that about two months ago, we were nominated for three Teen Choice Awards,” admitted Monahan on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “That was like, ‘c’mon!’ That was really great.”

Personally, I was a little shocked to see Train performing before this year’s MLB Home Run Derby in Anaheim. I didn’t even know they booked live music before such events.

“I was psyched to be there,” the lead singer said. “Major League Baseball has been super great to us, for many, many years,” Monahan continued, before revealing that his allegiance lies with a number of teams, including the Mariners (he lives in Seattle), the Athletics and Giants (the band is rooted in the Bay area), and the Pirates (Pat is from Erie, PA – near Pittsburgh).

Due to that last fact – Monahan also counts himself as a Steelers fan. The singer says he feels a little guilty rooting for Pittsburgh because of how often they win (likening them to the New York Yankees in the process), but doesn’t know what this new season will entail with the off-field troubles of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“I don’t know what that dude’s doing,” he said. “He should go to like speed dating school or something, I dunno.”

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Save Me, San Francisco is in stores now.


Hey – although Monahan downplays the media’s storyline of Train’s “comeback”, noting that other bands have taken much longer hiatuses to write, travel, and spend time with family – the man knows a thing or two about returning to prominence. Perhaps someone should link “Big Ben” up with him?

Anyways, Monahan and his band are currently linked up with John Mayer on an outdoor amphitheater trek, veering off the path periodically for some headlining dates as well. The front man is having fun on the road with Mayer.

“I think we’re going to write a little bit, and I love to write with dudes like that,” said Monahan, praising Mayer’s writing and guitarist skills. “Maybe there’ll be something on the next Train record or maybe we’ll write something for somebody cool – whatever. Just to get in a room with someone as talented as John is going to be cool for me.”

A pretty big compliment, especially considering Mayer was 21 when Train dropped their debut, self-titled LP in 1998. But the band is quite welcoming to the new breed of artists – Monahan once again complimented the work of Taio Cruz before our interview, and enlisted the help of Pete Wentz to direct the band’s video for “If It’s Love”, the next single from Save Me, San Francisco.

“I think the band has a really good sense of humor, and we’ve never really been able to show that,” said Monahan. “There’s nobody better at that than Pete… he was great at that.”

In addition to the band’s touring commitments, Train will make a second appearance in less than a year on NBC’s “The Today Show” August 6.

EXCLUSIVE: Train Confirms Tour With Mayer, Talks Possible Orianthi Collab

In an interview that aired Monday on “The Ralphie Radio Show” – the band Train confirmed that they’ll hit the road this summer with John Mayer.

“I think we might be back (in Northeast PA), with John,” confirmed lead singer Pat Monahan. “I think we’re gonna do a handful of dates with him in this part of the country. We’re really excited about that.”

The tour revelation is just another chapter in the on-going saga of the San Francisco trio’s comeback. After a three year hiatus – Train released Save Me San Francisco last year. “C.S.I. New York” featured the band along with the single, “Hey, Soul Sister.” Radio picked up on it soon after – and now the Train is traveling the country again, selling out theaters, with plans yonder.

“Radio really did everything for us,” Monahan said. “C.S.I. kinda took it to a different place.”

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But the group is embracing both traditional media and social networking sites, such as Twitter. Train revealed that all three members update the official Twitter page, while guitarist Jimmy Stafford noted that such things are now a necessity.

“It’s a different world now,” Stafford said. “People buy their music on-line, and it’s a whole new way for us to stay in touch with our fans.”

The comeback brings a group of fresh fans from a new generation or music lovers and artists, alike. Recently in an interview with MTV News, Orianthi counted herself as one of those Train supporters.

“That’s really cool – you know what I think is happening is we’re all kind of fans of each other these days,” remarked Monahan. “We want each other to do well. Orianthi is an amazing talent, and were psyched for her too. So yunno instead of, ‘Hey man, she’s taking up my space on the CD case,’ it’s like, ‘Let’s do something together!’”

So who knows, maybe a Train/Orianthi collaboration is right around the corner? But, surely Train doesn’t have to worry about Orianthi taking their space on a compact disc case… now iPod space – that could be a different story.

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