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Train frontman Patrick Monahan on track for Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Patrick Monahan of Train, who will be performing

Patrick Monahan of Train, who will be performing at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Tuesday night. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Patrick Monahan may be a Grammy Award-winning rock star, but even he gets a little jealous.

"Adam Levine is a friend of mine but man, I'm tired of that guy winning all the time," the Train frontman deadpanned when dissecting his own songwriting.

These days however, Train needn't worry about the competition. The band is currently on the road in support of their new album, "Bulletproof Picasso," and amNewYork had a chance to dish with Monahan on the thrill of making music, his latest musical influences and his quest to write the perfect pop song.

You guys have been in business more than 20 years now -- do you still get excited to go out and tour?

Playing songs we get to play for 10-20,000 people and how could that be a job? It's nothing but fun. We get really psyched especially for these amphitheater tours because they really are fun for us.

Take me through the writing process behind "Bulletproof Picasso." How did you approach this album compared to your earlier ones?

It's always different. I have written every word and melody to every Train song, [but] it's just always different.

How much has country music influenced the songwriting on the album considering Nashville greats Tom Douglas and Matraca Berg contributed?

I'm influenced by everything that's good. Matraca, she's one of the all-time greats. And Tom Douglas, he's one of the classiest guys you'll ever be around. Adam Levine ... you've got to love that song "Sugar," it's just so good. Anyone who does great work I'm influenced by.

It's funny you mention Adam Levine. Are you like him in that you are always searching for the perfect pop song when you write?

Of course. I wish I could turn that knob off inside me because it's brutal.

Do you find that to be a detriment or an asset during the writing process?

It all depends on what you get out of it. Music is either a detriment or incredibly inspiring. The fact that we can make something out of thin air ... that's like magic. And not everyone can do it so you have to respect the gift. Because if you don't, it will go away.

If you go: Train is at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Tuesday night at 7 p.m., $75-$85, 1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh, 516-785-1600.


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