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Jack’s Mannequin started off as a side-project of Andrew McMahon, who is the vocalist, pianist and main songwriter of the band Something Corporate but has now become his main project. The band is based in Orange County, California. The name Jack’s Mannequin originated from one of McMahon’s songs called Dear Jack, which was written about a friend of his whose brother was diagnosed with childhood leukemia. Andrew himself was diagnosed with leukemia on June 1, 2005 and cancelled a show for the first time ever when he received the call from his doctor.
The initial impulse behind McMahon’s new project Jack’s Mannequin was “Locked Doors”, a song he recorded in December 2003, which he felt was too different from previous Something Corporate material to be one of their songs. He realized that, if he would ever decide to release it, it would be on a solo album rather than a Something Corporate record. The idea seemed to be off the table, until in late summer 2004 both McMahon and his band mates were exhausted from months of touring. They decided to take a temporary break. During his time off, McMahon started writing songs, knowing they would not see the light of day as Something Corporate songs. These songs were a more therapeutic approach McMahon took, and therefore a more personal and intimate testament of his songwriting.
Over the next couple of months, McMahon began recording the newly written songs with producer Jim Wirt, who would play guitar and bass over sampled drum tracks, while McMahon contributed vocals and piano. They later brought in additional musicians such as Bobby Anderson (formerly of River City High) and Tommy Lee to add to the mix.