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“Andrew showed he was stronger than any of us and has never wavered in his commitment,” says his father, Brian McMahon. “I’m extremely proud of what he’s done with the Dear Jack Foundation, fighting leukemia and fighting for leukemia research; it’s a mission for the rest of his life.”
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With his father in tow, McMahon shows up at the Viper Room’s downstairs bar for a last-minute show he had booked to prep for a Jack’s Mannequin tour, kicking off Feb. 5 in Seattle. “Welcome to band practice,” McMahon tells the giddy crowd shortly after taking the stage. His parents, wife and Warner Bros. rep are in attendance, as are diehard fans who managed to purchase tickets for the sold-out show announced via the band’s MySpace site that morning. At the door, people drop names in an effort to gain entrance.
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Guitarist Bobby Anderson grapples with a malfunctioning amp throughout the beginning of the show, affording McMahon a chance to deviate from the set list and debut a new song that he performs solo on piano. “Hanging out on Laguna Beach this summer, this was the first song I wrote,” he says of “Ten Days Gone.”
Returning to the set list, the four-piece elate fans with “The Lights and the Buzz.” “We’ve never played this live,” McMahon says of the iTunes single, which was the first song he wrote after his stem-cell transplant. His sonorous voice teems with a sense of optimism.
The group also perform “Diane, the Skyscraper” in concert for the first time and a killer rendition of U2’s “New Year’s Day.” Highlights from their latest album, 2008’s The Glass Passenger, include “Miss California” and “Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby),” the latter a touching ode to the piano dating back to McMahon’s Something Corporate days, although no songs by that band are performed this evening. They close the approximately 90-minute set by leading the audience through a jubilant sing-along of Everything In Transit’s “La La Lie.”
Anderson joined Something Corporate as a touring member shortly before the band went on hiatus, and he has remained with McMahon since. Partington, now a third-year law student at Chapman University, keeps his chops up by teaching guitar at the Music Factory OC; the band rehearse in Orange to accommodate his school schedule. Page, who lives in Carlsbad, has taken what he has learned from his career as a musician and installs sound systems for concert venues and nightclubs. Ireland played drums with the rock band Streamline, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before recently returning to Orange County.
“All of us are excited to do a couple of shows and get the ‘best of’ [album] out and just do one thing at a time,” Partington says. “If it looks like it works for everybody’s schedule—timing is obviously a factor—let’s do it. We’ve all thought about [a future/summer tour], but to announce it’s happening is a little premature.”
After returning from Jack’s Mannequin’s “Sing for Your Supper” tour, McMahon set up residence on Balboa Peninsula. There’s still no confirmed date for the best-of release, which will be an album of “classics” and a bonus disc featuring such popular B-sides as “Konstantine” and the two newly recorded songs. With a second Something Corporate Bamboozle date in Chicago recently added, the pressing question remains: What’s the band’s future?
“Let’s see how these two shows go before deciding if we go any further,” McMahon says, minutes before heading off for band practice with his old pals.
Something Corporate play at Bamboozle, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, 2000 E. Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, (714) 940-2070;
www.thebamboozle.com. Sun. Visit the website for performance schedule (festival runs Sat.-Sun.). Single-day ticket, $45; two-day pass, $82. All ages.
This article appeared in print as "Something’s Shakin’: Dana Hills High grad Andrew McMahon on reuniting Something Corporate, battling leukemia and maintaining Jack’s Mannequin."