The front-man of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, Andrew McMahon, is heading our way with his new project.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will be at Fowler’s Live on Tuesday 25th August, playing songs from the back catalogue, as well as brand new music.

Andrew has battled and seen much in his 32 years, from the beauty of the birth of his daughter, to his fight and victory over cancer.

Such battles have brought him to a place where he feels the need to share his heart and head with his fans through this honest new music project.

Having played on our shores many times throughout his varied career, Andrew is stoked to be coming back here, even if the weather is a little chilly right now.

AM (2)“I’ve been to Australia for a few summers, but even in the winter I’m excited to be over there. On average, I probably make it out there about every three years. The first year I ever made it out there was in 2004 with the Something Corporate guys, opening up a tour for The Offspring,” he says.

“Jack’s Mannequin made it out two, maybe three times. This will be my first run with the new project. Unfortunately, on this trip, we’re moving fast, so every day that we’re not playing a show, we’re travelling. We always try to wander around while we’re there, and we always try to pack in as much as we can, but there won’t be much time for tourism.”

Although he’s been busy each time he’s toured over here, Andrew has some memory of Adelaide, even if it is largely sea based.

“Adelaide is often referred to as Radelaide, right? I’ve spent a little bit of time there. I can’t say my memory is too finely tuned, but last time I was out that way, we were doing Soundwave and I remember having a good hang on the beach that day,” he laughs.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ debut, self-titled album is a candid look at his life, loves and learning, and the Emmy nominated singer says he’s only too pleased to wear his heart on his sleeve for his music.

“I think there is a period of vulnerability, especially right as you’re releasing one of these records out into the world. From a writing standpoint, I feel most comfortable writing that way – trying to dig into the harder stuff, and being as honest as I can. I grew up listening to more confessional singer songwriters, so I feel more comfortable telling my story and telling the truth, than I would about trying to imagine a different universe and talk about that,” he says.

“Truthfully, so much of this music is such a reflection of where I’m at right now, I feel deeply connected to the whole batch of songs. A song like ‘Cecelia and the Satellite’ digs pretty deep, not only into the story of my daughter about to be born, but also tells a pretty honest story of where I’ve come from and the things I’ve seen along the way. That one has a particularly deep thread in it for me.”

Overcoming cancer, as well as other challenges in his life made Andrew take a step back and make some choices, so he stole away to the Californian mountainous wilderness  to make a record, which was a liberating experience.

“With this album, particularly, a lot of what I was excited about digging into was this chapter of the transformation that happened once I made my way through the murkiness of the illness and post-illness things I had dealt with; and in that sense, it was cathartic. I made a lot of changes in my life following my sickness and the last couple of records. I took some time off, and started this project, asked some hard questions to figure out what I want musically and personally; and this record, more than anything, is a reflection of the answers to some of those questions,” Andrew says.

“I needed to be shocked back into a deep state of writing. I had been doing a lot of different type of work at the time I started working on this record. I had been writing for an artist, writing for TV and I’d spent more time in the studio working on other people’s stuff than I had on my own. I wanted to take the time and reconnect to the piano and really find my voice, and have the space to write as many bad songs as I possibly could and then go through the threads of what would become the themes for this one. It was important spending a really concentrated time behind the piano, and not really focused on myself, my computer and all the trappings of modern life for those handful of days a week I was up there for those couple of months. It definitely had a positive impact on developing the themes of the album.”

And the album, much like his solo tour, has given Andrew McMahon the freedom to share his music in whatever way he feels; which will be a treat for audiences who will catch him on this trip.

“Not attaching a project title, but having my actual name in the moniker means it gives me the ability to do a show where we’ll be doing some new music, but it gives me a chance to play some classics from my back catalogue of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin songs,” he says.

AM“When I was playing in Jack’s Mannequin, we’d rarely dive into the Something Corporate catalogue, so to get a chance to give fans, (especially those who rarely get a chance to see myself or the band), an opportunity to catch new music as well as tunes they’ve grown up on is what makes the show special.”

You can see Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness at Fowler’s Live (68 North Terrace, Adelaide) on Tuesday 25th August, with tickets through the venue or Oztix.

By Libby Parker