A Calmer Soul's Orbit

I caught Andrew McMahon’s Pens and Pianos tour the other night here in Nashville. It was awesome catching up with the guys and hearing Zac and Bobby’s solo tunes live (more on this later).  In 2011, Jack’s Mannequin - McMahon’s first post-Something Corporate project - was the first big band to take the Allen camp out on the road. It seems like a lifetime ago.

I could dedicate the rest of the year to anecdotes from those 2011 and 2012 runs with McMahon, Bobby, Mikey and JMac, and I’ll share a few in the coming weeks, but what’s springing to mind this morning’s a conversation McMahon probably doesn’t even remember. I should ask him.

Several years ago, Al Stone and Team's headlining the Paramount Theater in Seattle for the first time. We flew in from Paris the night before, our breaths wreaking of chorizo and razor blade-smooth red wine. Resplendent in our jet-lagged hipster zombiedom, we stagger through the show, bewildered but triumphant.

My excitement’s tempered somewhat by a long-term relationship ending, and rather than throwing back celebratory post-show tequila shots, I’m back at my old apartment, the girl and cat gone, faced with the harrowing task of packing up half the life we’d built together.  

It’s a rough couple of days. I cry a lot. At some point during my solitary dirge, it occurs to me I should talk to someone. I don’t call my parents or sister - for whatever reason, I call Andrew McMahon. 

I manage a croaky “hey man,” and he knows exactly what’s going on. He’s an intuitive swine, that McMahon. Commandeering the conversation, he talks for about a half-hour about the Lakers, his garage remodel, and his wife's favorite books. I gratefully enter a calmer soul’s orbit.

“Love you buddy,” he says. “You’re gonna be fine.”