Andrew McMahon returns to Belly Up Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Andrew McMahon returns to Belly Up Aspen

IF YOU GO …

Who: Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness

Where: Belly Up Aspen

When: Sunday, March 10, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $45-$125

Tickets: Belly Up box office; bellyupaspen.com

IF YOU GO …

Who: Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness

Where: Belly Up Aspen

When: Sunday, March 10, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $45-$125

Tickets: Belly Up box office; bellyupaspen.com

Andrew McMahon’s second full-length album as “Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness” is a personal piece of work, written and recorded solo over the course of a winter in Los Angeles.

Inspired by relationships both intimate and fleeting, real and fictional, “Upside Down Flowers” includes songs about his wife, his daughter, his former bandmates and his grandmother along with imagined ones like a runaway girl riding a bike, a desperate gambler at a table in Vegas.

“I’ve sent this record to friends who have said it’s my best and to some who never replied,” McMahon said upon the album’s release in October. “What that means in the long run, I have no idea. What I know is this came from someplace primal and practiced and true.”

At 36, McMahon is an 20-year music industry veteran who has been through a lot: he’s been a teen idol, a pop-punk frontman, a singer-songwriter, a cancer survivor. The former lead singer of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin returns to Belly Up Aspen on Sunday.

The project, begun with a solo writing session quite literally in the wilderness at a remote California cabin, boasts introspective piano-driven pop songs with an electronic and anthemic streak.

“We’ve committed to do a few-year run where we put a bunch of records out and tour our asses off to get people up to speed with the new stuff,” McMahon said of the project before his Aspen debut in 2016.

The new band has launched a handful of hits like “Cecilia and the Satellite” and shown McMahon’s loyal fan base a new side of the artist. His Aspen debut three years ago included a mix of the new material alongside songs from his previous bands.

“It’s all pretty cohesive as it transitions between the new and the old,” McMahon said before that show. “It ends up being pretty fun.”

McMahon has earned a reputation for adding some prop-based shenanigans to that fun.

“At some point I’ll end up riding an inflatable duck through the audience,” he said with a laugh.

Weaving old songs — some of which he wrote at 16 — into the new band’s sound has been pretty seamless.

“We’ve made an effort to stay true to the songs and the seed of them that people fell in love with in these songs,” he said. “I don’t hear from people, like, ‘Oh, that’s a different version.’”

Shortly after Something Corporate went on what ended up being a permanent hiatus in 2005, McMahon was diagnosed with leukemia. He was 22. The tumultuous period of illness, treatment and recovery, McMahon said, shook the fearlessness he’d come to rely on creatively.

“Coming out of having cancer and then getting better, there’s still a lot of underlying fear and almost a crisis of confidence that you have about everything,” he said. “You look at the world in a completely different way.”

He founded and still runs the Dear Jack Foundation, a nonprofit for adolescents and young adults with cancer. After making two Jack’s Mannequin records while in remission, he decided to start fresh as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

“A lot of the reason I put Jack’s behind me and started this project was to put that chapter behind me,” he said. “I was starting to get that fearlessness back, feeling like I could blaze a path and not look back.”

atravers@aspentimes.com


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