Andrew McMahon talks new Jack's Mannequin album, bad fan tattoos


Andrew McMahon worries that he might have overstayed his welcome in Minnesota the past couple of years.

"The shows are always great when we come here, and the people are a lot of fun no matter where we play. That's why I love coming back," says the Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate front man. "Maybe we come back a little too frequently."

McMahon's fans would disagree with that statement, as he has virtually sold out every show he's played in the Twin Cities for the past few years. Tonight he'll likely keep that record intact when Jack's Mannequin takes over the Minnesota Zoo.

Before he hits up the state's wildest venue (Get it? Get it?), we caught up with McMahon over the phone to talk about the band's new album, People and Things, the end of Something Corporate and bad fan tattoos.

Gimme Noise: The new album has been talked about for a while, and now it finally has a title. Any word on a release date for People and Things?

Andrew McMahon: Not yet, nothing official. We just got everything wrapped up and we're hoping to have it out in late-August or early-September, but it could be fall. We're playing some tracks off of the new album live during our summer shows though, so people will still be able to get a taste of it.

How does this compare with the past couple of Jack's Mannequin albums?

Sonically it's really hard to compare them. This time it was much more of a traditional approach, where we went in as a three-piece and played live, so you get a lot more of that live energy that you don't always get with studio albums these days.

You 're playing some of the new stuff during your summer tour. Any favorites?

There's one song called, "My Racing Thoughts," which was the first song I wrote for the record that made me say "this is a great song for an album." There's another one called "Restless Dream" that's a really cool ballad. Altogether we'll probably do four or five new songs live, but the show is mostly going to be a good mix of the first two albums.

After last summer's Something Corporate reunion, how easy was it to get back into the mindset of writing the new Jack's record?

Actually, most of it was written before the Something Corporate tour got started. We  recorded an early version of some of the songs and then went back and scrapped them. Initially I had planned to finish recording the album before the end of the tour. But as I was listening to what we had I kept thinking that I loved the songs but I wasn't totally into the record so we went back and recorded them differently with a new producer.

Speaking of the Something Corporate reunion, was that a one-time deal or do you think you'll ever do another album as a group?

When we finished the tour it closed that chapter for me. I don't think we'll do another album right now because professionally we all want to do different things. But I'm always open to doing live shows again someday; that tour was the coolest.

You've got a lot of fans who have tattoos inspired by your music. Ever seen any really bad ones?

I saw a girl one time with the lyrics to "Woke Up in a Car" and the guy had missed a word. Now she's got to walk around with that quote forever. To be honest, I always cringe a little when I see a tattoo of our music and think "are you sure you really want that on you forever?" Of course, that's kind of hypocritical of me since all of my tattoos have meaning to me and I'm sure those tattoos have meaning to them too.

After all of the venues you've played in Minnesota, how do you feel about playing at the Zoo?

It's going to be different. Outdoor shows are always cool because you get the natural environment and the maximum effect of the music. It should be a really good time and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone out amongst the animals.


Jack's Mannequin w/Steel Train, Lady Danville

Minnesota Zoo

Doors 7 p.m., Music 7:30 p.m.