He isn’t the prodigal son, per se. But Train leader Pat Monahan has been living a soul-searching parable since he left his native Bay Area several years ago, nearly losing sight of himself in the process.
“I needed to leave San Francisco for a while. A friend of mine killed himself and I had a really awful marriage,” says the now re-wed singer, 43, who charted his wanderings in “This’ll Be My Year,” a “We Didn’t Start the Fire”-ish rocker that opens Train’s new recording, “California 37.”
“But now it’s time to come back,” he says. “And with that song, it was also time to say, ‘Hey, here’s what the band went through, sorry we f----- up, and we’re not going to do that, ever again.’”
The return was gradual, starting with Train’s 2009 album, “Save Me, San Francisco,” which celebrated The City in its title track and campy “Graduate”-themed video, wherein Monahan scrambles to stop a wedding at a chapel on Treasure Island. (He doesn’t get the girl).
This morphed into the Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company, and three vintages including the new California 37 cabernet sauvignon, with some proceeds going to the local charity Family House.
Monahan has just rented a place in the Presidio, while Train launches its “37” wine and disc with a week of sold-out club dates.
“The reason I like the Presidio so well is I’m such a big fan of Marin and Mill Valley, and they’re right across the Golden Gate Bridge,” says the singer. “I also really love Napa and Sonoma, so now my wife and I have to figure out: Do we want to be in North Beach, or farther up north?”
He deserves to take a breather, especially after studiously dissecting Train’s stardom in musically sugary confections such as “Drive By” and “Sing Together.”
It’s all about balance now. Monahan wants to please Train fans, but never neglect his family — a lesson he forgot midway through his multiplatinum career.
“I really wasn’t loving being a member of a band. I wanted to be the guy,” he says. “But after making a solo record, I realized that the sum of the whole is much greater than its parts. So I’m just really glad that I get to do this with Train.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Tuesday Café Du Nord, 2170 Market St. · Wednesday Great American Music Hall,
859 O’Farrell St. · Thursday Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave. · Friday Slim’s, 333 11th St. · Saturday The Independent, 628 Divisadero St. · April 15 The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd.
When: 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets: Sold out