“Kevin Shirley is a swimmer. I don‘t swim. So our routine in Greece was like this: every morning he’d hit the ocean, and then he’d come back to find me on the computer. One day he returned from a dip in the water and said, 'Let’s write a song about a train.' Makes sense, right? [laughs]
“Anton started the song slowly, like a freight train getting its engine going, and we gradually built up the tempo. It reminds me of Jeff Beck’s Let Me Love You Baby. It’s a heavy shuffle. We improvised a lot of the song, particularly the minor interlude section - total off-the-cuff stuff. Kevin got real excited and said on the talk-back mic, ‘That was fantastic! But can you do it again?’ And you know, with improvisation, you really can’t. So the track is a first take.
“I really like the slide part. I was going through something of a Ritchie Blackmore phase last year, and I really wanted an early ’70s Stratocaster with the bullet truss rod. I found a black ’71 model with a three-bolt neck. It was really bright and glassy sounding, though, so it didn’t do the Blackmore thing; it had more of a Ry Cooder slide sound. But I tuned it to an open F# minor and played it through a Marshall Artist 30 Combo, and it sounded massive.”