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Interview:
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness at the Fillmore, 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

Andrew McMahon has been In the Wilderness for five years now. But he's hardly lost.



Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is the moniker the former Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin singer-keyboardist has been working under since 2015, and in it he's found a comfortable creative space that's yielded three albums, including last year's "Upside Down Flowers," and Alternative and Rock hits such as "Fire Escape," "So Close" and "Ohio." The songs have gotten even more personal as well, but with an inherent pop catchiness that makes them sound universal.



McMahon, 36, of course reserves the right to find some other creative space in the future, but the Wilderness has been fruitful, and not a place fans want to see him leave any time soon...



McMahon says by phone that if there was any doubt about the Wilderness' staying power, a third album should allay them. "I think the fact that I'm sort of finally fronting a project with my name on it, it's like, 'OK, I'm digging my heels into this' for sure. It feels like I'm making records that I want to make and deep into a career with a lot of projects. Im just now at the point of looking for ways to stay excited and stay inspired and keep writing and leaning into the craft of it all."



McMahon -- a leukemia survivor who launched the Dear Jack Foundation to raise money for cancer research -- says his own life provided the inspiration for most of "Upside Down Flowers," which came out during November. "It's the first record where I feel like I've dug really far back into my history and started revisiting formative experiences that predate even my time on tour or stuff that happened in those early days of (making music). It's interesting for me, especially on stage, to be digging into memories of childhood and things like that. Maybe it's because I have a kid now, I'm starting to reflect on where I come from and what my origin story is. There's a sense of reflection that goes deeper into my history than any other record I've done."



McMahon's "Teenage Rockstars," meanwhile, reflects on his early days with Something Corporate, which last reunited during 2010. "The peculiar thing about the way Something Corporate kind of ended is I don't think any of us expected it was going to end, and then my life took this crazy turn...and I got sick and as I started getting better I didn't have the energy to do both the band and Jack's (Mannequin). It's something we never really talked about or closed the book on completely -- a lot of that's my fault, so I think writing that song was tough for me for a lot of years, until I started writing these other songs about my life. then it seemed to fit."



Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Flor and Grizfolk perform Friday, March 1, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors at 6:30 p.m. $25.50-$50. 313-961-5451 or thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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