Andrew McMahon: Moving from Moment to Moment
With the release of Jack’s Mannequin’s third album, People and Things, Andrew McMahon creates yet another chapter in his life and we’ve got the Inside Beat on it.
The Story Behind the 'Mahon':
Andrew Ross McMahon is one of today’s most inspirational musicians. An enchanting songwriter, he brings a full package of talent to the table with his captivating vocals and sensational pianist abilities. McMahon has achieved both underground and mainstream success between the two bands that he has founded, Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. All of these accomplishments aside, McMahon has also fought and won a personal battle against cancer. Caught in its early stages in July of 2005, Andrew was able to withstand leukemia’s vigorous wrath and has gone on to continue forth with his musical ambitions. McMahon returned to work with Jack’s Mannequin — the band released its third album, People and Things, this month — appropriately enough, the album contains elements of honesty, mindfulness and above all, growth.
Sept. 3, 1982 – Andrew Ross McMahon was born in Concord, Massachusetts.
1990 – McMahon begins playing the keyboard and sets forth on his path to becoming an unstoppable musical supernova.
1998 – McMahon teams up with high school friend, Josh Partington, to found their band Something Corporate.
2000 – Something Corporate releases its first album, Ready…Break.
2002 – Leaving Through The Window is released by Something Corporate under Drive Thru Records.
2003 – Something Corporate releases their final album as a band titled North.
2004 – Something Corporate decided to take a “break” after touring to promote their last album. McMahon decides to create another project with the songs he has been writing. The band to house his new musical project is called, Jack’s Mannequin.
June 1, 2005 – Andrew McMahon is diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Aug. 23, 2005 – Jack’s Mannequin releases their first album, Everything In Transit. Andrew McMahon receives a stem-cell transplant from his sister, Kate McMahon.
July 2006 –Andrew McMahon founded the “Dear Jack Foundation”, a non-profit organization that raises funds for cancer research. Jack’s Mannequin’s single, “Mixed Tape”, hit number one on VH1’s VSpot Top 20 Countdown.
Sept. 30, 2008 – Jack’s Mannequin releases its sophomore, conceptual album, The Glass Passenger.
Nov. 3, 2009 – Dear Jack, a documentary that chronicles McMahon’s life through his troublesome time of battling leukemia, is released.
Oct. 4, 2011 – People and Things, Jack’s Mannequin’s third album is released.
We Said, He Said:
So tell me about People and Things, what is different about this album from your previous two?
“Like anything, the approach was a lot different than what I was used to. For all the Jack’s records I’ve built the songs around the piano and the vocals. With this one we kind of went back to band practice. With Something Corporate, we worked the songs up in a similar fashion, but I was at such a different point in my life back then.
I felt the need to get back to some of the things that maybe I have neglected a little bit in my past, especially what I didn’t talk about during The Glass Passenger. A lot of our [Jack’s Mannequin’s] late night conversations are about things with more depth and longevity. You know, we’re all in our late 20s moving in and settling down, so yeah, that definitely has brought on some differences in our music.
How has working with Sire/Warner Brother Records been for you? Why the switch from the Maverick record group to Sire – what’s different between the two?
To be honest, it’s pretty different due to the effect of the evolving record business. It’s hard to make records in a major label world, there’s no question about it. I’m lucky that I work at a record company where they respect an artist’s creativity. But it can be frustrating from time to time. At the core of the system, they support rock bands.
What are your expectations for this album, Jack’s first album peaked at 37 on the charts, The Glass Passenger peaked at eight on the charts, what about People and Things? What does this album possess that’s going to make it hit No. 1 or at least break through into the top 5 on the charts.
If I’ve learned anything about this business, it’s that attaching any expectation to anything you do is a mistake. You do it because you love it and hope that other people love it too. I try and close my eyes to what the industry is doing and make songs. The most power that you have in this business is a good song. That being said, if it went top 10, I’d be totally happy.
What songs on this album are most personal to you?
To be truthful they all come from a pretty personal place. “Platforms” talks most holistically to my life and where I’m at right now — if you want to get inside my head that’s the song to listen to.
When you say, “I’m running short on inspiration” in your single “My Racing Thoughts,” do you ever look back in retrospect and wonder ‘What was I thinking?’
I live my life from inspiration to inspiration, and when I get a lull in that I get really down. It is a real regular part of my world to have those moments. Those moments scare me. It’s the insecurity of a lot of artists; when’s the next thing coming IF it’s going to come. I’m about as human as they come — what I put out there from day to day is often the best of me.
If you could give a sentence of advice to anyone who is struggling in his or her life what would it be?
It gets better. I don’t know what else to say, but it does. It’s always easy to think that your worst moment will linger on, but it won’t.