Back in December, we brought you the news that Andrew McMahon would be supporting fun. on their upcoming tour dates. Now just a month later, it looks like McMahon has added a few dates to the tour, making for a pretty solid run. The tour kicked off on January 9 in West Hollywood, CA, and will continue through the U.S. before ending in Nashville, TN on February 16. Check out the dates after the jump and get your tickets before they sell out.
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If it wasn’t exciting enough to hear that fun. would be embarking on a winter tour this January, it has just been announced that the man responsible for Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon himself will be hitting the road with fun., for his first solo tour since the retirement of Jack’s Mannequin.
Check out the dates below and get your tickets quickly, before they sell out! Feeling lucky? Enter our #FreeTicketFriday giveaway for a chance to win.
Jack’s Mannequin are having a hard time saying goodbye. Though bandleader Andrew McMahon initially announced that the group would be playing its final show on November 11 at the third annual Dear Jack benefit, he later released the details of a second “farewell show” the following night. According to McMahon, the second show is a result of overwhelming demand from fans, and will allow attendees to make “double the impact” in supporting the Dear Jack Foundation, which McMahon founded to support organizations that provide treatment to young adults living with cancer.
A month of fierce competition has passed and California’s Get Back Loretta have risen through the ranks to be crowned the Grand Prize Winner of the “Ernie Ball Pop” Competition with their track “Gotta Believe.” Founded in 2004 by five friends out to create a sound that could not be easily defined, Get Back Loretta have spent the past eight years making their goal a reality. “Gotta Believe” embodies this idea, blending contemporary alternative rock with lyrical prowess of a Top 40 pop single into one catchy and rhythmic tune. If you like The Fray or Jack’s Mannequin, give Get Back Loretta a spin. Congratulations to Get Back Loretta”enjoy a year of touring and writing without worrying about costly string purchases.
During the first weeks of Live Wired, we talked all about Guster and Jack’s Mannequin when they toured together over the summer. The opening band on that tour, Ra Ra Riot, are now on their own headlining journey and we got to catch their fantastic performance! The six-piece indie rock band from Syracuse, NY took the stage last week at Paradise Rock Club, ready to create a fun, enjoyable atmosphere with their music and stage presence. Seeing this band perform in a smaller and more intimate venue, as opposed to an amphitheater, was a real treat since the space allowed the crowd to really see what the band’s about and witness the range of their talents.
To get things started, the band played “Massachusetts” from their album The Orchard, which the crowd loved since, well…we were in Massachusetts. One of the best things about Ra Ra Riot has to do with the instruments they use. Not only do they utilize instruments that are not found in your everyday rock band, but most of the members can play more than one. Throughout the night, the six members were constantly picking up new instruments and switching around according to each song. Three different members took the job of lead vocals during the performance, which was pretty incredible. They were all over the place, but in a cohesive and beautiful way. Somehow the show was full of positive energy but relaxed at the same time. So it’s no surprise that the audience’s enthusiasm never wavered and only increased throughout the night.
Last Friday was a perfect summer night and thus the best evening atmosphere anyone could imagine for a concert. The Bank of America Pavilion was packed with people of all ages who were treated to a night of great music while watching the sun go down over the water. It was the end of the first week of the Guster and Jack’s Mannequin co-headlining tour and this show was certainly full of special moments and surprises.
Ra Ra Riot kicked off the show as concertgoers were filing into the venue, many intrigued and entertained by the opening act. An indie pop band hailing from New York, the group set the tone for the rest of the show, putting everyone in a good mood with their laid-back but fun music. One of the highlights of their set was their performance of “Too Dramatic”, which showed off the band’s use of violin and cello in their songs.
By the time Jack’s Mannequin took the stage, the crowd was full and on their feet in anticipation. Exactly a year after front man Andrew McMahon was in town playing a Something Corporate reunion show, he was back with his current band, on the verge of releasing their third album. They started off by getting everyone dancing and singing along to their biggest hit to date, “The Mixed Tape”. The band treated the crowd to three new songs from their upcoming album People & Things, including one called “Amelia Jean” which they had never played before. Their performance of “Bruised” kept the crowd going halfway through the set and emphasized the great dynamic between Andrew and the backup vocals of guitar player Bobby Anderson who provides beautiful harmonies. Ending the set after getting to play for over an hour, they chose to play their catchy sing-a-long tune, “La La Lie”. McMahon showed off his harmonica playing skills to the delight of the audience, and jumped off of his piano onto the stage like a rock star.
It can be hard enough for start-up bands to make it these days; between plummeting album sales, soaring touring costs and fickle fans there are plenty of landmines set to derail your efforts. And it’s harder still when your frontman is diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia months before your debut album is released. But Andrew McMahon and Jack’s Mannequin have persevered through the tough times, and plan to release their third studio album later this year. As the Orange County four-piece gets set to hit the road with Guster and Augustana, we caught up with McMahon to talk about the upcoming album People and Things, explore the deep connection he feels with his fans and clear up all the confusion about what’s going on with Something Corporate.
OS: This new album has been pushed back a few times…
AM: [Laughs] What else is new?
OS: True, not the first time we’ve had to wait a bit for a Jack’s Mannequin album. [Laughs] So why the delay”have there been problems with the recording process, or are you just trying to get everything exactly right?
AM: There are no problems, only solutions, right? No truthfully, I guess you could file it into the perfectionist category. And just timing”there’s sort of a lot of moving parts over here. I think a huge part of what I like to do”especially when finishing a record, which I can see how it can be frustrating to fans”is that I tend to like to sit back and listen a little bit and make sure it ages well. So yeah, that was part of it. We definitely finished most of the record in like, December or January, I want to say. Then we mixed it and got to the place where we knew we were happy with the recordings but we weren’t quite there with the mixes, so I went in and did another couple weeks. Just sort of did some touching up, and actually did a little work with Rob Cavalla, who now runs Warner Brothers and produces a lot of great records. He came in and we did one song with Rob at the end of the record and just finished mixing. So it is mastered and done now, I can officially say. It sounds awesome and I’m stoked, and hopefully we’ll have a release date for you guys in the next couple weeks. I’m definitely crossing my fingers.
OS: The two songs we’ve heard from the new record so far”My Racing Thoughts and Hey Hey Hey We’re All Gonna Die” both sound like they have a very classic rock, Springsteen/Billy Joel vibe. What kind of music were you listening to as you as you wrote People and Things?
AM: You kind of nailed some of it on the head there. I think for me”I don’t know if I’d say the biggest influence on the record”but certainly a turning point in the record for me was watching Paul Simon play the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert last year. Or it could have been a couple years ago now, for all I know. But I made an early version of this record that was truthfully almost too modern, and too pop. These are both things that I love a lot, but I just sort of felt like I was in this moment where I’d been playing and touring for so many years, and I had gotten to a point where I play with a band who are excellent musicians, and we’re capable of doing so much more than what ends up coming across sometimes as kind of cheesy, overproduced pop. So for this record it was like, Let’s strip it down further than we have before, and let’s make this super honest. And I really did rely more heavily on my earlier influences, the stuff I was listening to when I was growing up… guys like Paul Simon, and Billy Joel, and Bruce Hornsby and Springsteen. I think that a lot of those earlier influences, for me, came bare in this record. Guys like Tom Petty and even guys like The Counting Crows. I think this record as a whole speaks more to where I came from and what I grew up listening to, maybe more so than what I listen to now I suppose.
OS: You’re a very autobiographical writer, and your struggle with leukemia was a pretty prevalent theme of The Glass Passenger. Did that affect this record as well?
AM: I think to say that it didn’t would be a lie. I think it affected me differently, and I think I certainly”where Passenger I think played out in a very toxic way in my life”I think this record was a lot more healing. And I think my overall demeanor and my head space when making this record was a lot more positive. Even the harder spots, it was really focused on Okay, this is how we’re gonna do this in the healthiest way possible. With Passenger, I was just in such a sort of fucked up head space as it related back to so many other things that had nothing to do with my music, that it affected everything. It affected the way I perceived what we were doing in the studio and in turn, the way that things came out. There were just land mines everywhere, you know? [Laughs] I think with this record, certainly I had a lot more space from the troubles of the past, and I think in that sense I was able to talk about things that were a little more relevant to me currently than the ideas of what I had gone through when I was sick. This was the first time that I really was able to talk about how some of what had gone on during Passenger ended up affecting my personal life and my relationship and my relationships with friends and people at home. I think in a lot of senses that’s what People and Things ends up being about. It’s kind of, Okay, you got through this. That’s over. Now you’ve got to figure out who you are and where you are without all that stuff, without framing it against all those other dramas that are now done.” I think that’s where this record comes from.
OS: Because you chose to document your struggle with the disease on film and release a deeply personal record in The Glass Passenger, your fans seem to really feel a really intense, close connection with you. How does that affect your work with Jack’s Mannequin?
AM: I think it really gives me reason for pause when I’m making things, and especially when I’m finishing them. I certainly feel like I have a sense of obligation to these people who have made it possible to live my dream on a daily basis. It’s sort of a dangerous relationship, because I do feel intensely bonded to these people. I really do. It can be a scary thing, because as an artist the number one thing you have to operate with is abandon, to some extent. You have to be willing to throw everything out to do what’s right for that moment. Sometimes these thoughts of having to please people and keep people interested in what you’re doing and staying relevant”especially as you get older as an artist”they do creep in. So I try to strike a pretty delicate balance. I really try to focus all my attention with the fans when I’m at the shows and try to maintain that closeness when I’m at the gig, and then I do tend to come home and hole up, [Laughs] and not show my hand too early, just so I don’t let it affect what I create, I guess. That’s a big part of it.
OS: Jack’s Mannequin will be on tour with Guster later this summer… how do you feel about going on tour after recording so long? Do you prefer one over the other?
AM: Truthfully, that’s a question where on a different day I’d give you a different answer every time. I love both so much. Granted, being at home and being in the studio is easier in that you’re not traveling, you’re not away from the people you care about and all that. But being on the road… it’s invigorating. I do this because I have a nomad spirit and I like to be constantly moving. I think the highlight”or one of the things I always look forward to”is just that sense of constant motion. Every day is a new day. You wake up in a different city and you have an opportunity to do that day differently than the one before. So you didn’t have the best show the night before? You can erase that with the show that night. It’s a pretty good way to keep yourself focused on the moment at hand”to wake up in a different place every morning.
OS: And speaking of tours”you had the reunion tour with Something Corporate last year, and now there’s a lot of conflicting info out there regarding your plans to play together again or record some new material. What’s going on there?
AM: [Laughs] It’s funny, because I feel like I’m always really direct about where it is that I stand with Something Corporate. But because I like to leave the possibility open that we would do shows again at some point, I don’t say we’re broken up. And we never say we’re broken up because we’re all still really good friends, you know what I mean? I would feel weird saying we’re broken up and then get together and do a reunion tour and be like, Now we’re back together. I don’t think we’ll do records. I can say pretty confidently that I don’t think I’ll make another Something Corporate record…anytime soon, for sure, and who knows if ever. Something Corporate was a period of time in my life, and it was an amazing period of time, but it was still another period of time that’s not now. But I love those songs, and I love the fans that love those songs. I like to leave open the possibility that maybe in a few years we all do get a month off and we can go jump on the road together and do some shows. I love playing with those guys.
AM: I mean, it’s certainly a different experience. You certainly have a different experience with the songs. But to that extent, the first Jack’s Mannequin record I wrote six-and-a-half years ago, you know? And I still play those songs. I think my goal every time I write a song is that it’s a song that when I’m done with it, in twenty years it’ll still mean something. I think that’s kind of the challenge of my every day”to write these songs that I’m gonna like enough in ten years when I’m playing on the road. Because I plan on being there. But actually when we went out I loved it. I had so much fun playing the old songs, and sort of feeling”in a weird way”that they still seemed relevant to me.
OS: With all the touring you’ve done between these bands, you must have some crazy tales from the road.
AM: Oh, God, yeah. [Laughs] Every day there’s another story. I could go into detail for hours, but you probably wouldn’t want the recorder going. There’s all sorts of stuff, for me to just pull one out even seems impossible. We’ve had days where we’ve almost been arrested, we’ve had to sneak out of snowstorms when we’re the only vehicle on the road, driving for sixteen hours at ten miles an hour…We’ve done all sorts of crazy shit. But that would take a lifetime, to tell you all that.
OS: One last thing: if you weren’t making a career out of your music, what do you think you’d be doing? Do you have some other hidden abilities that your fans don’t know about?
AM: You know, not really. I sort of found this thing I liked when I was about eight or nine years old, and I never stopped. It sort of didn’t help me develop other areas of interest that much. If I were a betting man, I truthfully could see myself in some sort of element of design or aesthetic, like architecture or some other sort of design in a larger scale. I love buildings and shapes and the way things get put together. I could see that being something I could really find interest in.
OS: Awesome. Well, it doesn’t look like you’ll have to go with plan B.
AM: Hopefully not! But you know whatever, maybe one of these days I’ll get old and go to school to become an architect. I doubt it, but we’ll see.
With new records from Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Coldplay and Beyoncé scheduled to drop, 2011 is already shaping up to be a big year for music. This week, we’re taking a look at ten of the most anticipated rock releases, which stretch across subgenres from hardcore to electronica to indie rock.
Jack’s Mannequin – TBA
After 2008’s heartfelt release The Glass Passenger, Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon is ready to release new material. Passenger, which chronicled McMahon’s battle with leukemia, was a darker record then sunny debut Everything in Transit. But going on what we’ve heard so far, the new release will be yet another masterpiece, with plenty of well-executed piano-drenched pop rock.
Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys (Spring)
Indie rock kings Death Cab for Cutie will be releasing their seventh album early next year. Frontman Ben Gibbard promises that this record will be “less guitar-centric” than any of Death Cab’s previous records, which have typically been of slower, chord-based song structure. Lyrically, bassist Nick Harmer insists that this album will have a much broader emotional scope than 2008’s Narrow Stairs.
Black Cards – TBA
After the band announced their hiatus, Fall Out Boy‘s Pete Wentz decided to keep doing what he does best”make undeniably catchy pop music. Teaming up with then-unknown vocalist Bebe Rexha, Saves the Day drummer Spencer Peterson and The Receiving End of Sirens guitarist Nate Patterson, Wentz created Black Cards. The group’s music (especially Rexha’s vibrato-soaked vocals) is reminscent of early No Doubt, with an influx of dance-worthy electronic beats.
Taking Back Sunday – TBA (Spring)
Taking Back Sunday‘s lineup has changed so many times that their Wikipedia page has a full chart to help fans understand the eleven-year timeline of the group’s career. After a few missteps with new members”even frontman Adam Lazzara apologized for 2009’s New Again”the original lineup is back, making this one of the most anticipated releases for any fan of TBS’ genre-defining album, Tell All Your Friends. From the sounds of the demos that have already been posted, it looks like TBS is returning to their roots and ready to make a big comeback.
No Doubt – TBA
It’s amazing to think that ska-princess-turned-pop-superstar Gwen Stefani had any time in 2010 to return to the studio and make a brand new record with her band, No Doubt. Since the band’s humble beginnings in the late ’80s, Stefani has become a powerhouse solo artist, entrepreneur, fashion designer, wife and mother. But, somehow, she was able to make some time for writing music, and No Doubt’s comeback album is eagerly awaited by fans young and old. As of now, details have been pretty hush-hush about this release, but we’re betting that the new No Doubt will be bigger and better than ever.
Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.) – February
After a full-year hiatus from the stage, charismatic ex-Chiodos frontman Craig Owens is back. Joined by members of Underminded, From First to Last, Story of the Year and Matchbook Romance, Owens has already made a huge splash on the modern rock scene with his new project, D.R.U.G.S. The band will be releasing their album in February, before they head out on Alternative Press’ AP Spring Tour 2011. From the sounds of the tracks already released, this post-hardcore supergroup is poised for a massive takeover.
fun. – TBA (Summer)
As we learned in our Q&A with Nate Ruess of fun., the group is hard at work on their sophomore LP and are hoping to release it next summer. The band’s debut album, Aim and Ignite, was an exciting, refreshing and eclectic mix of everything from indie pop to showtunes. Fans are definitely on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what this band will do next.
Cobra Starship – TBA
Still riding high off the success of their latest record, Hot Mess, Cobra Starship have already begun recording their next album. Hot Mess spawned the 2009 smash “Good Girls Go Bad” and launched the band from the small-scale modern rock scene to rulers of Top 40 radio. Though no details have been released about the new album, Cobra’s history dictates that it will be chock-full of undeniably catchy, dance-worthy rock numbers.
The Mars Volta – TBA
GRAMMY-award winning experimental rock group The Mars Volta have kept pretty quiet about their upcoming release, which will be the sixth in the band’s career. The band entered pre-production back in May, and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez recently announced via Twitter that they were putting the finishing touches on the record. This will also be the first record where vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala will be writing all of his own lyrics, with no guidelines or concept provided by chief songwriter Lopez.
Emery – TBA (January/February)
Seattle-based rock group Emery delighted their fans when they returned to their roots on 2009’s …In Shallow Seas We Sail. Full of charging instrumentation, sweeping vocals and shimmering with top-notch production, the record left Emery fans satisfied, but also craving more. The band announced that they are planning to release the album in the early months of 2011, hopefully with some tour dates to follow!
What records are you most looking forward to hearing in 2011? Let us know in the comments!
When indie rock band The Format announced their hiatus in early 2008, thousands of fans were devastated by the news. Luckily for them, frontman Nate Ruess had a new project up his sleeve. Teaming up with members of Anthallo and Steel Train, Ruess hit the studio a few months later to record the first fun. record, Aim and Ignite. In anticipation of the record release, the band hit the road, opening for pop rock powerhouses Jack’s Mannequin and Paramore.
The eclectic and whimsical Aim and Ignite received fantastic reviews across the board and left fans in eager anticipation of what’s next to come. As the band rounds out a few UK dates with Paramore and 2010’s hottest new rapper, B.o.B., we caught up with Nate to find out more about the story behind fun., touring and plans for a new release.
OS: You’re well known as the former lead vocalist and lyricist of The Format. For those who haven’t heard fun.’s music yet, how does it differ from The Format’s?
NR: Just different songwriters. Different approaches to writing songs. Different songs. Different band. Same vocals.
OS: Rounding out the fun.’s lineup are Jack Antonoff of Steel Train and Andrew Dost, formerly of Anthallo. How did the three of you come to collaborate on this project?
NR: It’s something we all had talked about in the past. And the time window opened up when The Format broke up. So we flew to Jersey and got to work.
OS: Your debut album Aim and Ignite is very eclectic, at times sounding like indie pop and other times sounding like a Broadway musical. Which artists were the biggest influences on that record?
NR: The Xanadu soundtrack. Really that was all we collectively listened to at the time. Otherwise, we all bring different influences to each song. I like how unique that is.
OS: Your song “Walking the Dog” was used in an ad for Expedia.com. What was it like to see your music in a national television commercial?
NR: I didn’t see it for a long time and then one day I was walking through the airport and saw it. I wanted to grab some random person, shake them, and say, “Hear that? That’s me. So stop judging how I look.”
OS: You’ve toured multiple times with Paramore and Jack’s Mannequin. What do you enjoy most about touring with those bands?
NR: The music, the members, their crew and their fans. All great things.
OS: Speaking of Paramore, you’ve embarked on three straight months of touring, including some dates in the UK playing stadium shows with them and B.o.B. How did you prepare for those dates?
NR: I built a mock stadium in my bathroom and I just practice my arena moves.
OS: You were recently signed to Fueled By Ramen. Why did you decide to choose to sign with them and how has it changed things for fun.?
NR: The ink is still really fresh. So nothing has changed yet. Hope it eventually does though. We went with them because we’ve known them for a long time and thought they could supply us a nice balance of artistic creativity and sheer power.
OS: What can fun.’s fans expect in terms of a new record? Any release plans for 2011?
NR: Working on it now. Plan on really digging deep into the new songs once we get home from tour. Not sure what it’s going to be stylistically. I do know these are my favorite lyrics I’ve written so far. Hopefully it will be out summer 2011.
11/18 – Newcastle, UK @ Metro Radio Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.
11/19 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Evening News Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.
11/20 – Aberdeen, SCT @ AECC Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.
11/27 – New York, NY @Webster Hall with Steel Train and The Postelles
11/29 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa with Steel Train and The Postelles
11/30 – Toronto, ON @The Mod Club Theatre with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/2 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/3 – Boston, MA @ Royale Night Club with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/4 – Rochester, NY @ Water Street Music Hall with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/5 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/7 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/8 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/9 – Orlando, FL @ The Social with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Loft with Steel Train and The Postelles
12/13 – Ashland, KY @ Paramount Arts Center with Steel Train and The Postelles
As their name suggests, Paper or Plastic are all about recycling. Their newest album Don’t Be Like That shows how this Portland, Oregon group can take the best aspects of old school rock, jazz and soul and transplant them into today’s pop atmosphere.
Crafting sunny pop tunes with saxophone solos and bouncy piano chords, Don’t Be Like That is a quirky and endearing album. Vocalist David Pollock’s soulful croon and honest lyrics add the icing on the cake, perfectly complimenting the instrumentation of each song. Paper or Plastic may cite Elvis Costello and Frank Sinatra as influences, but this indie rock record gracefully places the band among acts like Hanson, Jack’s Mannequin and The Cab.
Paper or Plastic saw success from the get-go, opening for The Tubes and Bowling for Soup while they were still teenagers. They’ve also been rated one of the “Top 10 Up-and-Coming Bands” in the Northwest and were twice named finalists in the International Songwriting Competition.
Check out some new and old tunes below and pick up Don’t Be Like That for free on Paper or Plastic’s Bandcamp page!