Andrew McMahon tells us about his dream collaboration (Selena Gomez) his future plans for Jack’s Mannequin (it’s not over yet) and more in this exclusive interview!
You can call Andrew McMahon by many names — “singer/songwriter,” “dad” and “cancer survivor” all come to mind (though of course there’s more to him than those labels.) Through his work with the Dear Jack Foundation, he’s fighting adolescent and young adult cancer, and the rest of the time, he makes awesome pop music that we’ve fallen in love with over and over again. We’ve watched him transition from Something Corporate to Jack’s Mannequin and now Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and we’ll be following along for the years to come, too. Over email, we chatted about it all; this interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
You’ve lived through so many different eras musically, having switched up bands over the years, as well as your sound. Why is it important to you to keep changing things up? What keeps you grounded through all of the changes?
My career and various projects are more or less a mirror to my life. The changing of projects generally signify a change in my personal life. I’ve been really lucky to have a support structure of family, friends and people I work with that make it possible to take risks with my career. I think the grounding comes from that support.
Would you ever plan another Jack’s Mannequin album or tour? What about Something Corporate?
I wouldn’t rule out tour dates, but there isn’t anything inspiring me in that direction right now.
As a cancer survivor, what’s your advice to anyone facing a similar challenge? Apart from songwriting, how did music affect you as you underwent treatment?
I think a good meditation or breath work practice is vital. Breathing deeply is the best assist when times are hard, and there are a lot of hard times when you’re in treatment. Being mindful and finding ways to relieve tension are incredibly helpful and do can amazing things to aid therapies in their effectiveness. Listening to uplifting music, and music in general was also a big part of my treatment. I found that in music I could escape and used it often to distract from painful procedures and darker moments. There was a lot of Bob Marley and Beach Boys going on in my hospital room.
I love that you wrote “Cecilia and the Satellite” for your daughter. Any funny stories about traveling with her and your wife on the road?
Every day is a funny story on the road with a little kid. We had an hysterical day on the last tour where my tatted-up merch guy and I walked a couple miles into Philly to take Cecilia out for ice cream. About a mile into the journey the sky opened up and we were drenched. Add a car or two gunning through puddles despite us and it was pretty intense. Luckily Cecilia had a cover on her stroller but Danny and I were rough-looking when we got to the ice cream. It was really good, though, so that’s a plus!
Who would you love to collaborate with?
My top two would be Selena Gomez and Rostam. That is also a pretty strong indicator of how all over the map my current musical taste is tracking.
Which of your songs resonates most with you?
That’s tough. It changes, truthfully. “Cecilia” will probably be in the lead for a long time.
Have you had a memorable gesture from a fan recently?
Honestly there’s a new one every day. Someone handed me an astronaut pin at the last show and I’m currently wearing it on my hat.
Finally, can we expect more new music soon, or have you started thinking about the next record?
Oh man, it’s going to be a while. I feel like we just started working Zombies on Broadway and that is where I’m currently focused.
This summer, Floyd’s 99, the original Rock ‘n’ Roll barbershop with 107 US locations, is partnering with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness for the “Life Changing Experiences” campaign. From now until July 21st, share your life changing experience on the Floyd’s 99 Facebook page for the chance to win a VIP Meet & Greet experience with Andrew McMahon in Dana Point, CA on August 17th, tickets to see him perform at a live concert and more. You can also catch Andrew on tour!