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Jack's Mannequin (music group)

Andrew McMahon on 'Wilderness,' fatherhood and his 'tricky' 20s

Andrew McMahon on 'Wilderness,' fatherhood and his 'tricky' 20s

Before the arrival of his firstborn in February, Andrew McMahon wanted to write a proper musical introduction to his daughter. Eschewing a typical love song, McMahon — a veteran pop-rock singer-songwriter and cancer survivor at 32 — was most interested in portraying “who her dad was before she arrived,” warts and all.

“More than anything, what I wanted the song to say to her was, ‘Look, I've been through the highest of the highs and the lowest of lows. I've been beaten up and I've beat myself up,'” McMahon said on the phone from a tour stop in Minneapolis last week. “But you can still end up surviving pretty tough stuff. She's a daughter of a survivor and I hope, maybe in some...