An interview with Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon
By Nick Massie
On Oct. 4, the alternative rock band Jack’s Mannequin performed live at Plush nightclub in Jacksonville.
Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon has had a bumpy road since taking a hiatus from Something Corporate, another piano-rock band that he fronts. McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia right around the time of the release of Everything in Transit in August 2005.
Listen to Nick Massie’s interview with Andrew McMahon:
Receiving immediate treatment, pulling him away from promoting his new solo project, McMahon was unable to perform until the start of his tour on June 3.
I recently had the chance to sit down with McMahon and gather his thoughts on his music career:
Q. What would you consider your inspiration for playing music?
A. You know for me it’s always been a place to hide out and say what’s on my mind. You know if nothing else, songs for me have been served as an outlet for me to air my dirty laundry — a place where I can say what I’m thinking and do it artistically enough that people don’t know exactly what I’m thinking. The way I started writing is by the loss of a family member. In return it’s always acted in some degree as a coping mechanism.
Q. What was it like transitioning from traveling with Something Corporate to traveling as a solo Jack’s Mannequin?
A. Well, the transition got kind of interrupted by my getting sick in the middle. So really I didn’t have to go through that transition in that sense. I had such a long period between road experiences that it was almost like starting new. There is a lot of differences, but for the most part it’s been a pretty natural, organic process.
Q. You released the CD last August. Was it a relief to have your solo album out so your fans can hear it?
A. Yeah, it was nice to put it out. I would have loved to been in a position to promote it and to have given it a fairer shot at the main stream. But at that point we weren’t even sure if I was going to be alive. You know, if I was going to even be able to promote it. I believe it was the right move and it was a huge relief to get it off my hands and into others.
Q. What does this CD mean to you personally?
A. Oh God, it means a lot. I consider it a log of a period of time in my life … I’m lucky to actually have this to journal the most impacting moments of the hugest transitions that I have ever gone through. It means the world to me.
Q. After being diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia, did you ever consider giving up music or did it make you work harder to get through the sickness and come back and sing?
A. I considered. There were definitely moments that I considered, you know. I don’t know how to explain it … when you’re in the position, it just gets so hard. For me, even having 10 years of one thing and then all of the sudden it seems like you’re not gonna’ be around anymore. There was definitely moments that I thought when this is over, I’m gonna’ buy a little house in Hawaii and just lay out and rest. But those thoughts quickly go away once you start getting better and I started realizing that this is my passion.
Pretty much as soon I could sit down at a piano and make it through a song, I was planning my first show back. It’s just in me. It’s a part of what I do. I guess there were parts where I considered it, but I just never gave it too much weight or validity.