By Kristen Cloyed, Assistant Section Editor
Sitting down with Andrew McMahon is just like sitting down with an old friend, except that old friend is the lead singer of California-based bands Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate. By night, McMahon pounds out tunes on the piano, creating symphonies in front of sold out crowds.
After two albums, the 28-year-old musician is at it again. If everything goes as planned, Jack’s Mannequin’s new album, “People and Things,” is expected to drop this fall. Following up “The Glass Passenger,” this album will be McMahon’s first release in three years. “People and Things,” he said, will fill a gap in his career.
“The subject of this record, in large part, is about a lot of the stuff that I overlooked while I was getting better,” McMahon said. “I think there were a lot of elements in my life, really important elements, that got put on hold while I navigated through what was a much rockier time.”
The rockier time McMahon is referring to is his diagnosis with leukemia in 2005. At 22, he fought and beat cancer. “The Glass Passenger” helped him close that chapter in his life. Getting married to his high school sweetheart a year later helped him start a new one. At first, marriage sparked a different kind of fear for his career.
“One of the first things that sets in is this fear of ‘How am I going to write? What am I going to write about? If I’m not dealing with new love or broken love, how do I talk about it?'” McMahon said. “I think it led to a pretty good amount of writer’s block on ‘Passenger.’ I just couldn’t figure out how to talk about it.”
Luckily, “People and Things” was just what McMahon needed to overcome that obstacle.
“This record,” he said, “sort of set me free. I was like, ‘This is a conversation worth having. There’s something deep here.'”
It’s clear that McMahon pours everything he has into his music. His lyrics are an open diary. McMahon pairs every intensely personal word with a deeper meaning.
“In a very specific way, I think the record is about being married, but I think, more indirectly, it’s about deep rooted love and the kind of love that you don’t walk away from,” he said. “I hope that people hear the record and can relate to this idea, this binding love that doesn’t let you go.”
When asked if he had a favorite song on the new record, McMahon was hesitant to say.
“It’s hard; it’s like picking your favorite kids or something,” he said with a laugh. “A lot of times my favorite songs are everybody else’s because, in a sense, I do it for me, but when I put a record out, I want people to fall in love with it.”
McMahon has nothing to worry about. Fans have already embraced the new tunes, and they’re eagerly waiting for more. Anyone starving for news should keep their eyes on the band’s website. McMahon said more information will be posted in the next few weeks.
“I keep saying that,” he said with a laugh. “There’s nothing scheduled right now. We’re in the process of getting the singles picked.”
The artwork for “People and Things” is close to being done, according to McMahon. The artist responsible is Patrick Concepcion, the man behind many of the band’s lithographs and apparel.
“The backdrop that you’ll see on this run is a portion of the artwork from the record,” McMahon said. “I’ve got the dude who did all those lithos and a handful of the old Jack’s Mannequin t-shirt designs. This artist is the guy who came in and did the new album, which I think is pretty rad.”
As of right now, Jack’s Mannequin doesn’t have a scheduled return to Omaha; however, the band will play the Kanrocksas Music Festival August 5 in Kansas City.