It’s a beautiful day in Andrew McMahon’s neighborhood. The singer-songwriter of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness recently embarked on The Pen and The Piano Tour — a series of intimate shows inspired by Mr. Rogers. Aside from sharing a love of cardigans (something that McMahon sports during every show, apparently), McMahon also shares something else with Mr. Rogers: a love of storytelling.
And McMahon has plenty of stories to tell.
In 1998, McMahon and a few of his friends formed the “piano rock” group Something Corporate. Finding success in the pop-punk scene, Something Corporate released three studio albums and toured the world. Arguably their biggest success happened to be a 10-minute song called “Konstantine,” which quickly became a fan favorite and an anthem for the brokenhearted. “Konstantine” details McMahon’s tortured relationship with a girl named Krystal and spotlights his songwriting and storytelling talent.
After Something Corporate, McMahon went on to form Jack’s Mannequin in 2004. Everything in Transit, the band’s debut album, describes the transition following another heartbreak. But perhaps the most interesting part of the album is the cryptic foreshadowing that takes place in the song “MFEO – Pt.1” in which McMahon (seemingly referring to himself) states, “Someone get this man to a hospital!”
The day McMahon finished recording Everything in Transit — June 1, 2005 — he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Over the next few months, McMahon received numerous medical treatments, including a stem-cell transplant from his sister, which took place on August 23, 2005 — the same day Everything in Transit was released.
Throughout his battle with leukemia, McMahon continued to document and tell his story by the way of music and a documentary called Dear Jack.
Today, McMahon is celebrating more than 10 years in remission. And he has a new story to tell: one where he gets the girl and starts a family. McMahon married his longtime love, Kelly (he chronicled their breakup on Everything in Transit), and they now have a daughter named Cecilia. His most recent albums with his new band, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, outline his journey as a husband and a father.
So yes, it is a beautiful day in Andrew McMahon’s neighborhood.
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness appears Saturday, May 12, at The Van Buren. Tickets are
$30 to $34 via thevanburenphx.com.