Jack Story

Oct 192005
Authors: Dominic Graziano

Some bands have to endure line-up changes, band squabbles and break-ups. Jack's Mannequin had to endure through something a little harder.

Andrew McMahon, lead singer of Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin, was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia earlier this year.

The diagnosis came during a time when he was taking a break from Something Corporate, the band with which he had been touring and recording since he graduated high school three years ago.

It was at this same time McMahon began recording material for his side project, Jack's Mannequin.

"I didn't want people to think I had failed out of [Something Corporate]," McMahon said. "It just started out as a cooling off period for the band."

McMahon added that he ended up writing as much as he could because it was the first chance he had to do so.

It was the constant touring with Something Corporate and the extra pressure to record for Jack's Mannequin that led to what McMahon calls his "forced break."

"I knew I was headed for something, but I had no idea it would be cancer," he said.

McMahon said the record, "Everything In Transit," was finished the same day he got his blood work back and was put into the hospital.

"The last song I recorded was the one that most strangely foreshadowed the events to come," McMahon added.

Dark Blue is a song that includes imagery about hospitals and ambulances.

"I don't think I was trying to prophesize anything. A lot of this record was about moving from a tough time, to the metaphors of hospitals and doctors," McMahon said. "It became pretty strange when I ended up there afterwards."

Another thing McMahon finds interesting is the name Jack's Mannequin.

"I wrote a song about a kid I knew named Jack," McMahon said. "He had been diagnosed with childhood leukemia."

McMahon added since he had coined the band's name before he himself was diagnosed, it was just another "bizarre twist about the record."

McMahon may have gone through an intense stem cell transplant, but that didn't stop him from creating the music he loves.

"I've been [done with] the transplant for 60 days and I was in the studio last week," McMahon said. "Music has always been my spiritual compass. I'm not really a religious person. I am very spiritual and I take strength from various sources."

He added that the reaction he has seen from his fans on the Internet has been very inspiring.

"The numbers of people I've seen [on the blog] in the past six months has been unbelievable."

The fan support helped McMahon get through the tough times.

"This [leukemia] sent me a message about slowing down," McMahon said. "But I hope to get back on track and get back on the road."

McMahon added that as soon as his doctors say "it's cool" for him to tour he will "be out there."

"There are certain things that can trigger an infection after a stem cell transplant," McMahon said, "and tour busses are big bacteria farms."

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