Steel Train

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Steel Train
Antonoff at Radio Station.jpg
Steel Train (February 2010 photo by L. Byrnes)
Background information
OriginNew Jersey, USA
Years active2002–2013
LabelsDrive Thru
Past membersMatthias Gruber
Matthew Goldman
Scott Irby-Ranniar
Jack Antonoff
Evan Winiker
Daniel Silbert
Jon Shiffman
Justin Huey

Steel Train was an indie rock band from New Jersey. They have toured with The Juliana Theory, Tegan and Sara, Girl in a Coma, Ben Folds, The Fray, Silversun Pickups, Hanson, The Format, Gomez, O.A.R., Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin, Barenaked Ladies, fun. and others. Other highlights include performances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Coachella, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Late Show with David Letterman. On November 13, 2012, Jack Antonoff announced on his tumblr that "there are no immediate plans to get things up and running again," and that the band would have a final show at the Bowery Ballroom on January 5, 2013.[1] They returned for the Shadow of the City festival in 2016.


Steel Train met in the mid-1990s at The Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, New Jersey. At the time, Jack Antonoff (vocals, guitar) and Daniel Silbert (vocals, guitar, sampler) were part of the hardcore band Outline and Evan Winiker (vocals, bass) and Matt Goldman (vocals, guitar) were in the punk band Random Task. After the dissolution of these bands, Steel Train formed in 2002.[2]

The band soon signed to Drive Thru Records/MCA and flew to Los Angeles to record with Jon Naclerio at Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures Studios. The outcome of this session was the band's first EP, 2003's For You My Dear.[3][4] In January and February 2003, the group supported Finch on their headlining US tour.[5]

After months of touring, the band moved to San Francisco to record their first full-length record with Steven Barncard (Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joe Cocker). Released on April 19, 2005, Twilight Tales From The Prairies on the Sun features appearances by famed mandolinist David Grisman, as well as pedal steel guitarist Gene Parsons (The Flying Burrito Brothers/The Byrds).[6]

In 2006 the band toured heavily and was also the beginning of Steel Train's festival career. They played a midnight set on the first day of the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, as well as the Wakarusa Festival, Warped Tour, SXSW, and another appearance at Bonnaroo in 2006.[7]

After two years straight on the road, original members Matt Goldman, Matthias Gruber left the band to pursue other careers.[8]

At this point, Antonoff and Winiker moved to Silverlake, CA to record the band's second full-length album, Trampoline, with Mark Trombino. After recording, the band once again embarked on the road, this time recruiting three new members: Jon Shiffman, Justin Huey, and Daniel Silbert, who up to that point had been the band's tour manager.[9][10]

Trampoline, released in October 2007, debuted at No. 10 on Billboard's Heatseaker Chart. In support of the album, Steel Train toured with Ace Enders and A Million Different People, Socratic, Kevin Devine, The Starting Line, Paper Rival, Bayside, and Forgive Durden, among other bands. They also played prominent spots at the Lollapalooza Festival as well as their third appearance at Bonnaroo.[11][12][13][14]

In the summer of 2008 the band would make their national television debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[15]

Following the Late Night with Conan O'Brien performance and a tour with The Hush Sound, the band headed back into the studio, this time to record their third full-length album with producer Steve McDonald (Be Your Own Pet, Fun). It was at this time that the band's relationship with their label, Drive Thru Records, fell apart. Steel Train decided to buy off the label and fund their record themselves.[16][17]

Once again the band hit the road, touring with Tegan and Sara, Ben Folds, and Fun, as well as playing 2010's Coachella Music Festival and making their 2nd appearance on National TV on the Late Show with David Letterman.[18][17][19]

The band released their 3rd full length "Steel Train" on June 29, 2010. The record debuted at No. 8 on Billboard's Heatseakers Chart, No. 4 on the New Artists Chart and within the top 50 on the independent albums chart.[20]

Shortly after the release of the self-titled album, the band released a companion album of their songs covered by female artists, including Scarlett Johansson, Tegan and Sara, Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Doll's, Deradorian of The Dirty Projectors, Anna Waronker of That Dog, Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's, Holly Miranda, Rachel Antonoff, as well as many others.[21][22]

The band hit the road once again with appearances at Yo Gabba Gabba!, the hit children's show, as well as tours with O.A.R., Fun and the Get Up Kids.[22]

In August 2010, Steel Train was a guest on Anything Anything with Rich Russo where they performed three songs: "Bullet", "I Feel Weird", and a cover of Tegan and Sara's "Call it Off"

On November 1, 2010 the band was the first musical guest on Conan O'Briens new show, Conan, in a joke episode titled "Show Zero". The band, along with actor Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) performed one chord off their new record, Steel Train, in a short version of the show.[23]

In early 2011 the band performed on NPR's World Cafe with David Dye as well as NPR's Free at Noon.[24]

On January 11, the band returned to Conan O'Brien's Conan, performing their single "You and I Undercover."[25]

Current Highlights[edit]

In winter 2009, they opened for Tegan and Sara on their US Tour and appeared at Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California. Also, Steel Train appeared at Sunfest in West Palm Beach Florida as the opening band for MGMT on April 30, 2011. The band released their third full-length album, titled Steel Train, on June 29, 2010 through their own label, Terrible Thrills.[26] In early June 2010 the band announced that they would be releasing a companion album to "Steel Train" featuring female artists covering each of the 12 tracks on "Steel Train." The companion album, entitled "Terrible Thrills Vol. 1," includes appearances by Tegan and Sara, Scarlett Johansson, Deradoorian of Dirty Projectors, Amanda Palmer, Anna Waronker of That Dog, Alia Shawkat, Charlotte Caffey of The Go Go's, Rachael Cantu, Rachel Antonoff, Holly Miranda, and Greta Salpeter of The Hush Sound and Gold Motel. The band's final performance at the Bowery Ballroom went well as past and current members of the band gathered to play with Steel Train one last time.

Final lineup[edit]

Band member Duration Related note(s)
Jack Antonoff 2002-2013 Vocals, guitar, drums, piano
Evan Winiker 2002–2013 bass, backing vocals
Daniel Silbert 2006–2013 lead guitar, backing vocals, sampler
Jon Shiffman 2006–2013 drums, percussion
Justin Huey 2008–2013 vocals, piano, wurlitzer

Former members[edit]

  • Matthias Gruber – drums, percussion (2002–2006)
  • Matthew Goldman – guitar, backing vocals (2002–2006)
  • Scott Irby-Ranniarvocals, piano, wurlitzer (2002–2008)





  • Turnpike Ghost (2010)


  1. ^ Antonoff, Jack. "terrible thrills". Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  2. ^ "More Powerful than a Locomotive". Jewish Standard. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  3. ^ "Steel Train Biography". MTV.com. MTV. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  4. ^ "For You My Dear - Steel Train". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  5. ^ "Allister's Replacement!". Finch. December 23, 2002. Archived from the original on February 8, 2003. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Twilight Tales from the Prairies of the Sun". Amazon Music Store. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  7. ^ "Steel Train to Launch Tour". Jambase. 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  8. ^ "Steel Train: Information from Answers.com". Answers.com. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2011-02-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Event: The Get Up Kids, Steel Train, River City Extension". do713. do713. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  11. ^ "Steel Train Biography & Awards". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  12. ^ "Gallery: Steel Trains Acoustic In-Studio Performance". RichRusso.net.
  13. ^ "Steel Train Tour Information". Absolute Punk - News. Absolute Punk. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  14. ^ "Steel Train Headlining Tour Announced". News Article. AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  15. ^ "'I Feel Weird' on Conan". News Articles. AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ a b "Steel Train Going On Tour with Tegan & Sara, SXSW, New Album, Free "Turnpike Ghost" MP3". The Audio Perv. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ "Steel Train to Be on Letterman". AbsolutePunk.net. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  20. ^ "Steel Train Cracks Billboard". Super Ultra Deluxe. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  21. ^ "Steel Train Offer Companion Record to New Release". TheInterlude.com.
  22. ^ a b "Steel Train Joins Yo Gabba Gabba Live Touring with Fun this Fall". TheAudioPerv. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  23. ^ "Steel Train rocked Conan's Show Zero". JUnderground.com. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  24. ^ "Steel Train, In Concert". World Cafe. NPR. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  25. ^ "Steel Train performed on Conan". The Jam Underground. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  26. ^ "Steel Train Sets A Date". Absolutepunk.net. April 13, 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-29.

External links[edit]