Train was started when Rob Hothckiss met another aspiring vocalist, Patrick Monahan, in 1994. The two became friends and launched a successful coffee house act that resembled the duo of Simon and Garfunkel. After making themselves known around the Bay Area, the duo decided it was time for them to form a band. Jimmy Stafford was recruited to play guitar, Charlie Colin was brought in to play bass and Scott Underwood was recommended as a drummer. Thus, Train was born and the rest has become a track well traveled.
Once the initial writing and composing had been finished the band began to feverishly seek out live work. They started out like any other band, playing small venues and concert halls opening for larger local entities. Over the next few years, train became well known in Northern California. They eventually started scoring opening gigs for larger names like Hootie &The Blowfish, Collective Soul, Cracker, Blues Traveler, the Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows.
After being signed to Aware/Columbia Records, Train began work on their self-titled debut album. The album was released on February 24th, in 1998 to little notice, however, with their non-stop tour schedule and a little help from TV, public awareness began to rise. The album's first single, Free, was featured on the popular series Party of Five, while its follow-up, Meet Virginia, was used on the hit show Dawson's Creek. The video for Meet Virginia, starred supermodel and actress Rebecca Gayheart, and received prominent play on VH1. Soon after, the band made a successful appearance on NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
The result of this exposure was unsurprising radio play. With each rotation, sales increased and so did the bands popularity. By August 15th, 1999, Train was selling more than 10,000 units per week, and by October, it had vaulted into the top 100 albums on the Billboard chart. The album was certified gold a month later, but the most gratifying sign of their success was selling out their hometown's most prestigious venue, the Fillmore Auditorium.
The bands biggest boost came with the single Drops Of Jupiter from the album of the same name in March 2001. Significant airplay of the single helped the album debut at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, and the single, which Monahan wrote late in the album's recording process, reached No. 5 in the U.S. These works also scored Grammy nominations for record of the year and song of the year, as well as best rock song and best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal. The band took home the award for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal, beating their nominated competitors U2, Coldplay, and Aerosmith. In 2002, the group hired producer Brendan O'Brien to help them cut their follow up to 'Drops of Jupiter'. The third album was scheduled for release in 2002 but was not released until a year later than expected. 'My Private Nation' was released to critical acclaim, and Train began touring to promote the album and their continued success.