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This Train

Rockabilly / Alternative Rock
Aurora, Illinois, USA | Nashville, Tennessee, USA

This Train was an American rock band founded by Mark Robertson in the 1990s known for its tongue-in-cheek, satirical lyrics and eclectic incorporation of American music (rock, punk, rockabilly, surf, pop, acoustic, country western, jazz, etc). The group's name is derived from the gospel song “This Train.”

Though Robertson had played bass in bands before (Altar Boys, Under Midnight, Generation, The Stand, Brighton, A Ragamuffin Band, etc), This Train was the first band in which he was a lead vocalist and frontman. While This Train was a name Robertson used for personal demos for years, it became a live band with the addition of band members Jordan Richter on guitar, Beki Hemingway on vocals, and Chris Wicklas on drums, with Robertson handling lead vocals and bass guitar.

The band's debut album, Monstertruck (A Love Story) was released in 1994 and contained several songs which would appear in the two following albums. The next album You're Soaking in It was released in 1995, after which Beki and Chris left the band with “Cobra Joe” Curet becoming the group's drummer. Around this time the band relocated to Nashville, TN. The band was brought into the limelight through the urging of CCM musician Rich Mullins, who the three members of This Train were touring with (Robertson played bass in Mullins' Raggamuffin Band, Jordan ran the sound, and Cobra Joe was on the road crew). After becoming the opening band for Mullins' tours, the band gained popularity and was signed to Organic Records of Pamplin Music, who released their third album Mimes of the Old West in 1998, featuring prominent vocals from Ashley Cleveland and Rich Mullins months before he died. The album included several instrumental surf rock tracks as well as a cover of Hank Williams' “I Saw The Light” and The Louvin Brothers' “Great Atomic Power.” The following year This Train released their final album The Emperor's New Band in 1999, which introduced a swing band on half the tracks.

Robertson has referred to This Train's sound as “cow punk.” In an interview he explained, “We're pretty huge rockabilly fans and then the '60s thing is surf guitar, which Jordan's a huge fan of. I'm more '50s and Jordan's more '60s, and somehow it seems to work. Rich Mullins always called us “Hillbilly Punk”, which works for me. I don't know what it is, I just like it.”

Discography

1993 Irregardless
1994 Monstertruck (A Love Story) Etcetera Under•Ground
1995 You're Soaking in It Etcetera Records
1998 Mimes of the Old West Organic Records
1999 The Emperor's New Band Organic Records

Irregardless

1993 Independent

Mark Robertson - Lead vocal, guitar
Jordan Richter - Guitar, drum programming, additional percussion
Rod Glaze - Bass, vocals
Chris Wicklas - Drums, drum programming

Randy Kerkman - More guitar on tracks 5-7
Michelle Thompson - Backing vocals on track 4

  1. Idle Hands (Broken)
  2. This Silence
  3. The Wailing Wall
  4. (She's So) All or Nothing
  5. Tell Yourself
  6. You Never Cease
  7. Naked

Monstertruck (A Love Story)

1994 Etcetera Under•Ground (ETUC 10001)

Mark Robertson - Vocals, guitars, bass
Jordan Richter - Guitar
Chris Wicklas - Drums
Beki Hemingway - BGV's, lead vocals on “Dance Along the Edge”

Bill Protine - Additional guitar on 1, 3, 4
Eric Olson - Additional guitar on 4

  1. You Never Cease
  2. The Silence
  3. Tell Yourself
  4. Like It or Not
  5. Dance Along the Edge
  6. Monstertruck
  7. Every Time (I Promise)
  8. Believe It
  9. Idle Hands (Broken)
  10. The Wailing Wall

You're Soaking in It

1995 Etcetera Records (ERD 9986)

Mark Robertson - Vocals, bass
Beki Hemingway - Vocals
Jordan Richter - Guitar
Chris Wicklas - Drums

Randy Kerkman - Guitar solo on “Like It or Not”
Phil Roeglin - Rhodes piano on “Fair Weather Friend,” Strings on “I Don't Mind”
Ben Sticklen - Cello on “I Don't Mind”
Sarah Renwick - Viola on “I Don't Mind”
Erin Lehner - Violin on “I Don't Mind”
Stephanie Deimer - Violin on “I Don't Mind”

  1. Baby Baby (2:19)
  2. Like It or Not (3:32)
  3. We'll Never Know (3:44)
  4. Mary Alice (4:26)
  5. Monstertruck (3:18)
  6. Fair Weather Friend (3:36)
  7. Untitled (0:09)
  8. Every Word You Said (2:38)
  9. The Silence (3:57)
  10. That's Ex-Doormat to You (2:39)
  11. I Don't Mind (3:02)

Mimes of the Old West

1998 Organic Records (ORCD-9801)

  1. Hanger 84
  2. We're Getting Nowhere Fast
  3. The Missing Link
  4. Who's Stopping You
  5. Mimes of the Old West
  6. A Million Years
  7. I Saw the Light
  8. Seafoam Green
  9. I Don't Want to Know
  10. Sandee
  11. The Wailing Wall
  12. I've Got Half a Mind
  13. Goodbye

The Emperor's New Band

1999 Organic Records (ORCD 2011)

Mark Robertson - Vocals, upright bass, guitar, samples, programming
Jordan Richter - Guitars
Cobra Joe - Drums

  1. I Wanna Be Your Man (2:38)
  2. We'll Leave the Light On (2:47)
  3. Screendoor (2:13)
  4. She's a Rocket (3:59)
  5. The Emperor's New Band (5:20)
  6. Jazz (1:21)
  7. Technology (4:54)
  8. The Magic Bean (3:32)
  9. The Way It Sounds (4:20)
  10. No, Not One (3:26)
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  25. Monstertruck 2000 (3:06)
  26. We'll Leave The Light On (demo/backporch version) (3:11)