Here is the exciting conclusion to my interview with Andrew McMahon, singer/keyboardist of Jack’s Mannequin, previously of Something Corporate. from when he stopped through the KC area as part of the July 2 Warped Tour show. In this part we discuss touring and if his future includes Something Corporate.
If you missed the first part (Read here: Pt. 1), we chatted about his new album with Jack’s Mannequin, The Glass Passenger.
Bethany, PopWreckoning: How is the Warped experience different than other tours?
Andrew McMahon, Jack’s Mannequin: Oh God, it’s just…it couldn’t be more different than anything. It is like this moving festival that takes on this circus sort of thing where people are just…it’s very loose and nomadic and communal.
And the people! You are always saying hi to this person or that person and you’re out there with the fans and people really are integrated into the experience. They’re backstage. They’re loose with security, which is OK, for me. I don’t mind. You end up meeting a lot of people. You can’t go out and meet 10,000 people a day as much as you’d like to, but at Warped the kids make their way back and you can have real conversations with people regularly throughout the day about music and about what people are listening to.
It’s a much more integrated, connected, community kind of experience.
PW: What’s the most extreme, favorite memory of any tour, any show?
AM: Any tour, any show? You’re talking about the last 10 years?
PW: Warped or not. The show you’ll never forget.
AM: You know, I have a couple of these stories that I tell, that I try to tell at different times. You have those moments all the time, that’s why we do it. Because those moments are regular in a lot of ways.
I think that probably my most overwhelming moment that I had on the stage, I had after I had been cognizant. There’s like a year after you’ve been on stage when you were just totally new and you’re just like, “WHOOOOA!,” freaking out.
Eventually, it just settles down and you learn how to be a performer and you learn how to pull it around on your bad nights, you know what I mean? So in that period of time when I was with Something Corporate, we did a show at the Astoria in London and it was such a big deal because we were an American band. We never had hits — to this day I’ve never had a hit — but we made connections. And that was a really cool thing because it was a sold out show, 2,500 people, sold out in like a day, and it’s in London.
So we’re from California and we’re in London; people are losing their mind. We go out and we open, I think with “Konstantine.” I think it was a slow song. I just remember sitting there and having one of those out of body experiences where it was just like, almost like the movie where the fucking crane of the cameras is circling the stage. You’re just out of body.
I’m sitting there at the piano, I’m totally numb, watching this crowd, this huge 2,500 people, and I’m like 19 or 20 years old, playing. We’re opening with this most soulful, quiet moment that you wouldn’t want to open a set with because people like to freak out, but it’s like pin drop. But that was just from sitting in my chair. It wasn’t like anything amazing happened other than just feeling good, you know?
PW: That’s a cool story. Now, Warped is all about discovering new artists. Have you made any new discoveries being on Warped?
AM: You know, I mean to be honest, I got here yesterday. So, it’s been this period of acclamation and whatever. I did get to see my first Paramore set, a band that I’m about to go on tour with right after this. We all leave this and jump on tour together, so I got to see her, see Hayley and the band play for the first time and I was really fucking psyched.
It’s funny. I have the kind of fans who will be questioning if anything is too commercial, but I intentionally make commercial music. I like commercial. I make pop music. I’m into it. I grew up on the radio, even though I haven’t had anything there. I remember when I first heard one of those songs. I really dug it, but I have the fans who would be like, “The MTV thing and blah blah blah,” and I’m like, “Oh. P.S. I would like to be on MTV.” Her band is really good and it was cool to see that today. I’m psyched to go out on tour with them now. I saw them really kick out a sweet show.
PW: Well that’s awesome. [looks to Josh] Do you have any questions, Josh?
AM: Oh, I’m Andrew by the way (like he needs an introduction)
PopWreckoning, Josh: I’m Josh. I’m the editor. Is Something Corporate is completely done?
AM:I wouldn’t say completely, no. The thing about Something Corporate is, well, it’s hard to explain how each one of us has our own lives and the people in our lives. That is me and Something Corporate. We have our own lives and how we interact.
They’re really dear friends of mine. We see each other all the time and talk all the time. There’s definitely always discussions of when are we going to put something together. And when I say put something together, I don’t envision for me personally, that we’re going to come back and make a new full length record. At least not any time soon. And go on a world tour and be out for a year working on a Something Corporate record.
That’s like the dudes and friends I grew up with in high school and we had this amazing experience and this huge connectivity on stage and it was undeniable. It was really special, something I’ve never experienced on stage. But we were also all 16, 17 years old and as you grow up, you get older and you start liking different things and you start going different directions. It just made sense for me and everybody’s got their own things that they’re doing.
It’s like we’ll do something because love each other, we respect our fan base and we know that we have the ability to really make cool stuff together. There’s all these songs that never really got to see the light of the day that I would love to do a huge package of. And music, there’s a whole different world of music now.
Commerce and music are two totally different things. It’s not like you make a CD and it sells. So, I kind of believe in this idea of making other things that sell. Like if we collected all these amazing b-sides that we’ve done that nobody’s heard or stuff that’s been kind of scattered. “Konstantine” was never on a fucking record. It was never on a record. That song has its own area code and it has never been on a record. So to find a home for this and something that really shows people what the experience of being in Something Corporate was really like–there’s pictures of us being babies on stage, high school, it was really a cool thing. I want to do something to celebrate that and throw some new tracks on there and these handfuls of demos and songs that we had never put out that I’d love to finish that are really cool songs.
I think the biggest problem with Something Corporate was that there were so many people around with so many opinions outside of the band that some of our coolest shit that was really groovy would have to be put on the back burner because we’d been pigeonholed into this Drive-Thru punk rock thing. But I mean I loved everybody there and I loved everything about that. I wouldn’t trade that experience. Sometimes in our own head, I think that we didn’t let our selves be as free, we didn’t let ourselves put out these songs that maybe were a little more challenging and not just straight up the main vein, but were really cool adult communications that got lost along the way.
PW: You have your own label now, don’t you?
AM: Yeah, I do.
PW: Would you put that out through the label?
AM: Yeah, that would be possible, but truthfully we’re under contract with Universal and whatever version Universal decides to be. I mean, we got signed through Drive-Thru through MCA. MCA became Geffen. It’s my understanding that Geffen is now Interscope. So, there’s people in that system that I’m really close with that care a lot about our music that I think when it’s time, they’ll probably be the ones to put out the release.
PW (Josh): That’s the only other question I had.
AM: Well, that’s the most honest I’ve been about it since. So, you have your own little goldmine for you.
PW: Thank you so much.
AM: Yeah it was a pleasure. Great to meet you guys.
PW (Josh): Nice meeting you. I’ve seen you like three or four times and never gotten to meet you.
AM: Yeah, it’s nice to meet people.
PW: I actually got a chance to meet you one other time before, but you were in a sour mood.
PW (Josh): Don’t tell this story. (I have to tell this story, it is a good story.)
AM: No way, what? What happened?
PW: I don’t know if you remember the Lincoln, Neb., show where there was a decibel rule? You couldn’t go over a certain volume.
AM: How could I forget? Did you meet me before or after the show?
PW: It was right after the sound check.
AM: Oh, so you met me at the worst moment.
PW: You were actually really cool about it. Yeah, everybody was just sitting and we were like, “Oh my gosh, he’s not going to want to come over here and talk to us.”
AM: Yeah, with that, it was just about not giving a show. I mean when we do it, it’s for you guys.
PW: I thought it was amazing that you were like, “Fuck it, we’re going to pay the fine.”
AM: Well, you have a business choice. You either cop to the man and give less of a performance or you say, “Fuck the money tonight, let’s put on a show.” You know? It was cool and it was a good lesson to them because they didn’t tell us about that sound thing. You have 2,000 people ready to see a concert and they literally couldn’t. I mean our guitar amp was breaking the decibel. The guitar amp! Without even being in the speakers of the house. It was like, “Whoa.”
PW: I just thought what you did there was amazing.
AM: Yeah, well I’m glad you got to see me in a better mood. I appreciate it. Thanks for doing the interview.
PW: Yes, thank you.
AM: Take care of yourself. Have a good one.
PW: You, too.
Photo Credit: Joshua Neal