Andrew McMahon, frontman of contemporary rockers Something Corporate and newly formed Jack’s Mannequin, proved to be a quiet warrior as an inevitably righteous California rocker. Recovering from a battle with leukemia, Andrew said that he hopes to be back on tour “. as soon as my doctors say it’s healthy.”
Jack’s Mannequin, which Andrew calls his “side project,” has recently released Everything in Transit, described by McMahon as “more piano-heavy” and “more adventuresome sonically” than his work with Something Corporate.
“I wasn’t really trying to get away from Something Corporate or get away from anything in particular . I just had a lot of really personal thoughts and wanted to put them down,” McMahon explained in an interview with The Hatchet.
Though not a complete departure in sound, McMahon boasted of the freedoms the Jack’s album allowed, such as the storyline concept and the spoken word element evident in the album.
“When did society decide we have to change and wash a T-shirt after every individual use? If it’s not dirty, I’m going to wear it,” McMahon quirkily proclaims with a fluidity only to be characterized as Californian in the track titled “I’m Ready.”
McMahon openly compares Everything in Transit to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (considered an ego-album for The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson), though McMahon does not consider himself the Brian Wilson of Jack’s Mannequin.
“Ahh . the ego-record,” said McMahon, laughing. Mainly, the influence of Pet Sounds was in perception of sound. “Everything didn’t have to be so rigid and contrived,” he said.
McMahon described the effects his leukemia recovery would have on his ability to perform. With a hopeful laugh, he explained, “The jury’s still out on that one.” Performances in the near future will most likely be in the California area due to travel restrictions.
He described the track “Dark Blue” of Everything in Transit as that which was “most strangely foreshadowing” of his illness, and potentially most meaningful. “I wrote that on a stage on a college campus, actually,” he said of “Dark Blue.”
McMahon described an experience watching the Counting Crows on “Saturday Night Live.”
“That was kind of what really woke me up, I think, to music,” explained McMahon, The Counting Crows album serving the “escapist filament” that he understands music to be.
Though subscribing to no particular religion, McMahon considers himself to be a spiritual person, invested in Eastern philosophy more so than Western thought.
“I believe in a powerful energy that commands the universe,” he said, adding that meditation and yoga brought spiritual strength while he was hospitalized.
Music has inspired McMahon deeply. He described an experience of listening to music in his hospital room as “a shot to the vein.”
“It’s kind of that visceral connection, you know, that people can feel, that inspires me most about music,” he said.
More material is expected “when the clouds clear.” Here’s to brighter days.
Everything in Transit by Jack’s Mannequin, released in August, is in stores.