Street spoke with former Something Corporate front man Andrew McMahon, who has channeled a sunnier California-based sound into his latest project, Jack’s Mannequin.
Jack’s Mannequin will be performing a show at the TLA on South St. tomorrow, Monday (2/6). Tickets are $30. For more information and ticket sales, check here.
Street: You helped to found the Dear Jack Foundation, which has done wonders in fighting against young adult cancer. Can you talk a little bit about why you decided to start the foundation?
AM: Well I think on the heels of my own battle with leukemia, it became a very natural reaction. I think a lot of people who end up encountering disease or anything that kind of changes their life that much, they try and do what they can for the next person in line. It seemed like I obviously had a bit of a public platform from which to operate, and if I could do anything to raise some money and raise awareness and help out in any way, then that would be what I do. And then we started the foundation in ’06 just when I was starting to get better.
Street: Your new album People and Things came out this past October, could you tell us about the inspiration behind the album?
AM: In a lot of ways the inspiration for this record was kind of a collective moment for both myself and a lot of people around me. It’s about kind of figuring out the big change that happened in your 20s. You sort of shift from being a young adult and getting out of college, and obviously that wasn’t me, I never made it to college, but a lot of my friends did. You know when you’re living with your buddies and living on your own at first and then when you start pairing off and getting married. Endeavoring down that road is a huge life change, and it certainly was for me.
I found myself at one point being nervous about how you write songs about that. It’s not a subject that you typically find in pop songs, where there’s a lot of falling in love and falling out of love, and all of the make-ups and break-ups and all that kind of stuff. And instead I really chose on this record to sort of focus on the other stuff, when you really have a relationship that you’re fighting for and what that looks like. And truthfully, that’s where I’d say I derived the majority of inspiration for this record.
Street: You have a lot of tattoos, but could
you tell us about your favorite one?
AM: Well the last tattoo I got was a little excerpt from the original drawing of Alice and Wonderland. So I just have a black and white etching of the mad tea party on my right bicep. That’s the last one I got, but it certainly for me is a good depiction of the last several years of my life — they’ve felt a bit like that tea party. So I feel pretty close to that tattoo at the moment.
Street: What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done for you?
AM: I’ve been referencing this poor girl every time this question gets asked. But there’s a girl who’s created a website where it’s like old images that she finds of me online and she superimposes cats everywhere all over the images. She’ll bring me books every tour, so when she comes up she’ll bring these books with her, “Andrew with Cats,” and then addresses them by their different volume numbers depending on how many she’s given. This will be her fourth the next time I see her. She’s awesome, she’s a sweet girl. But that’s definitely high on the crazy list.