Interview: Andrew McMahon Talks Something Corporate’s Reunion, New Single “Death Grip,” & the Beauty of Letting Go

Something Corporate © Connor Lenihan
Something Corporate © Connor Lenihan
Andrew McMahon cracks open his solar plexus for a candid conversation about musical growth, letting go, Something Corporate’s reunion, and “Death Grip,” their first single in over twenty years!
Stream: “Death Grip” – Something Corporate




After making his way through the Wilderness for over a decade, Andrew McMahon has reunited with some old, familiar faces.

Something Corporate fans got something to write home about when the band reunited for last year’s second When We Were Young festival, but speculation of new SoCo music were only ever just that: Speculation.

With the release of “Death Grip,” credited to both Something Corporate and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, that speculation turns into prophecy. The emo trailblazers return with a triumphant, spirited song about acceptance, surrender, and letting go.

Never say never wins again.

Death Grip - Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Death Grip – Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Doing therapy on Zoom
On the patio in the afternoon
Flashback to the year I lost my mind
If I’m better than I was
If I’m better than I ever knew
How come it’s so blue here all the time
I’m just waiting for the tide that’s taking me home
Hey hey guess we’re just guessin’
Hey hey crash course correction
You can’t control it, life is the ocean
Waves are waves
Hey hey loosen the death grip
Can’t win white knuckle wrestlin’
Cracked open my solar plexus
All that comes next is floating
Waves are waves

Released June 20, 2024 via Big Loud Rock / Mercury Records / Republic Records, “Death Grip” is Something Corporate’s first new single in over two decades, and McMahon’s latest release following last year’s fourth Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness album, Tilt at the Wind No More (March 2023). Atwood Magazine‘s Michael Greco previously praised McMahon for setting a high bar for musical storytelling with his last LP, admiring how it “beautifully captures that roller-coaster ride for the recent member of the 40 year club.”

“The bedrock of this album is truly an homage to things like love, relationships and visceral life experience… Tilt At The Wind No More feels like a culmination of a lifetime of experiences and learning. It manages to capture such a myriad of feels: Celebration, growth, love, pain, forgiveness and just about any other facet of the human experience.”

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness © Lindsey Byrnes
Andrew McMahon photographed in 2023 for his fourth Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness album, Tilt At the Wind No More © Lindsey Byrnes



Coming off such a monumental record and release cycle – including a lengthy US tour – McMahon had no plans to make or put out anything in 2024. In fact, the mantra for the year was to let go, and just be.

“I honestly didn’t expect to be releasing new music this year,” he tells Atwood Magazine. “I’ve lived on the write, record, release, tour hamster wheel for a long time and decided after the last album I would do things differently. Giving myself permission to enjoy home, enjoy the reunion shows, and work on other projects has been really good for me. I have historically put so much pressure on myself to keep producing, to keep fighting for my relevance, and I often forget that some of the biggest moments in my career and my life in general have manifested in times when I’ve chosen to take my hands off the wheel a bit and trust that things will be okay. That’s what ‘Death Grip’ is about: Finding a rhythm in life that allows everything to exist at once without forcing things into being.”

I was waiting in the queue
Got hung up trying to write verse two
Shadowboxed my way across the line
I keep reaching for my zen
But I never had to reach back then
Supernova 1999
Hey hey guess we’re just guessin’
Hey hey crash course correction
You can’t control it, life is the ocean
Waves are waves
Hey hey loosen the death grip
Can’t win white knuckle wrestlin’
Cracked open my solar plexus
All that comes next is floating
Waves are waves

“Death Grip” brings McMahon back together with Something Corporate bandmates Josh Partington (guitar), Kevin “Clutch” Page (bass), Brian Ireland (drums), and William Tell (guitar).

“I was nervous to bring up the idea of collaborating with the Something Corporate guys again on this song, but they were so supportive and excited by the idea of taking what we did together so many years ago and layering it onto this Wilderness process I’ve worked within for the last 10 years,” McMahon shares.

“Being back in the studio together, it was like no time had passed and the recording came as easy as the creation of the song had been. There was a lot of laughing, a lot of stories told and memories revisited. From the time this song was written to the time it will be available in people’s speakers, less than three months will have passed. There are plenty of arguments to be made for not rushing work out, but I think fast-tracking this song back into the world is the truest way to honor what inspired its creation in the first place. It’s a song about letting go and having faith that everything will work out, so we’re letting it go. We’ll see what happens next. I also have to shout out the Big Loud Rock team, who I’ve been so impressed with. When I told them I was excited to release music on this insane timeline, they didn’t even blink. When I said I have no idea what comes next but I’m inspired, they said they were excited to take this journey with me.”

Atwood Magazine recently caught up with Andrew McMahon for an in-depth conversation about Something Corporate’s reunion and their new song. Dive into “Death Grip” in our interview below, and stay tuned for (hint hint!) more to come from the legendary pop punk band!

Catch Something Corporate on tour this summer – tickets and more information here!

Hey hey guess we’re just guessin’
Hey hey crash course correction
You can’t control it, life is the ocean
Waves are waves
Hey hey loosen the death grip
Can’t win white knuckle wrestlin’
Cracked open my solar plexus
All that comes next is floating
Waves are waves

— —

:: stream/purchase Death Grip here ::
:: connect with Something Corporate here ::
Stream: “Death Grip” – Something Corporate



A CONVERSATION WITH ANDREW MCMAHON

Death Grip - Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Atwood Magazine: Great to chat, Andrew! What's the story behind “Death Grip,” and why did you choose to release this as Something Corporate’s first single in two decades?

Andrew McMahon: I honestly had no intention of releasing new music this year. Getting back into playing with the Something Corporate guys again felt like enough of a moment for 2024 that I intentionally wound down my previous label deal and was taking the beginning of the year to regroup. It’s been a beautiful moment just enjoying home and celebrating this unexpected moment of bringing my past with Something Corporate into the future. In April, I went out to Nashville with the intention of hanging out with close friends I’ve worked with in the past and just writing as an exercise to keep the muscle in tact. The last day I was there I wrote “Death Grip” and for the first time in a while I had this feeling that I wanted the song to come out immediately.

The whole idea of “Death Grip” is about letting go, about not forcing things and leaving yourself open to signs that you’re moving in the right direction. So many people have been pushing for new Something Corporate music and I’ve been resistant because I know how high the bar is. But I got home from that trip to Nashville and realized that I had a song I loved, I had this moment with my oldest friends hitting the road, and I just said what the f*k, I’m going to call the guys and see if they want to get in the studio again. If this moment is about letting go, then why not let go of whatever it was that was keeping me from making new music with my friends.

I’ll be honest, Something Corporate had a major influence on me and so many of my friends. What brought you back together, to this project, after so long? Why now?

Andrew McMahon: It started when I asked the guys to do a surprise set at my 40th birthday show. I’d been on the road with Dashboard that summer and for the first time I really felt myself reconnecting to the scene that had launched my music so many years ago. I’ve always been one to press on to the next thing and never look back, but coming up on forty I started taking stock of how beautiful those early days were and how lucky I am to still be close with all the guys. After that show there was this feeling amongst the band that it would be fun to see what was out there and if we could make it work with our schedules. We got an offer to play When We Were Young and the ball just started rolling from there.

Something Corporate © 2024
Something Corporate © 2024



Continuing along that line of thought, how does the Something Corporate we're getting to know today compare to the group we last really knew in 2002? What excites you about “returning” all these years later, with new music, now?

Andrew McMahon: The one thing that has remained constant is that at the core of this band are five close friends. That chemistry is the driving force behind the band, behind the music we made, and behind the success we’re finding in this moment. I think the biggest difference is that after we went on hiatus in 2004 we all went on our own journeys, found out who we are and what we wanted from our lives.

Having been signed straight out of high school we did a lot of growing up on the road but part of the reason we stopped is because I think there was growing that we couldn’t necessarily do together at that moment. What I think people are finding at these shows is that there is this joy and quiet confidence coming off the stage because we’ve chosen this moment to reconnect; our friendships are so free of tension that we’re truly having the best time making music together again.

We got a new My Chem song back in ‘22, a new Beatles song last year, and a new Billy Joel song this year. I’m a big proponent of the phrase “never say never,” but I really never thought there would be a new Something Corporate song out in the world; I just thought those days were long gone, done and dusted. Was that the same for you? Had you written that off as well, or is the door always ajar, just a little open, in your mind, for all “past” projects?

Andrew McMahon: I have probably said never in the past but more often than not I’ve said I really don’t know. My life has been so strange and beautiful, largely because I don’t believe any of us know what the future holds and it’s best not to make predictions. I really didn’t plan on this moment and I’m so glad it found me and the band. Obviously, we want fans to love this music but it’s not why we showed up in the studio that week. The joy of making something together drove the process and everything that followed.

You’ve been releasing music as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness for ten years now. This might be a whopper of a question, but how do you feel you've grown and changed as an artist over that time? Did that in any way inform how you guys made this song?

Andrew McMahon: I’d say the largest point of growth for me has been my ability to check my own ego and make way for deeper collaborations. I always have a vision for my music, but I’ve learned over the years that finding collaborators that inspire me and truly exploring sound, songwriting, and production together can lead to great moments. I’ve tried to be a better listener and leader as well. I used to seek out tension and create tension in both my personal and professional life and while there is music I adore from those years, it’s just not the way I want to live anymore.

As it relates to the two songs we cut together recently, I guess I’d just say that it was important to me that everyone wanted to do this first and foremost and after that, to create a really fun and supportive creative space when we were working. I’m hard on myself and the guys give me a lot of grace but I could be really difficult in the studio in the past and I didn’t want that to be the experience this time around.

Something Corporate © Connor Lenihan
Something Corporate © Connor Lenihan



I’m often fascinated by artists - especially songwriters - who have multiple projects. Aside from your presence, what (if at all) do you consider the through-lines (and differences) between Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness? Do they each occupy different spaces in your mind; is it primarily based around the people you’re making the music with; or something else altogether?

Andrew McMahon: I understand that people see these as different projects but I see them as creative reflections of the life I was living at the time. Of course the sonics change and evolve from project to project, but that’s largely a reflection of my influences at the time. The reason I’ve started and moved on from projects has more to do with where I am in my life than it does with the project itself. The reason I’ve traveled under The Wilderness moniker for longer than Jack’s and Something Corporate is really just a reflection of an era of stability and contentment.

Something Corporate was, for all intents and purposes, one of your earliest projects. You’ve gone on to do so much, and to create so much, over the past twenty-plus years. What was it like to return to this band, and to this musical identity, having lived so much life and made so much more music in the intervening years?

Andrew McMahon: Honestly, it’s been one of the most joyful experiences of my career. It surprised me. I thought initially, this will be fun to hang with the guys again and bring these memories back to life for fans. I totally underestimated the magic that would happen when we played, but also when we were free just to be back in a band telling stupid old jokes in the dressing room or at rehearsals. The whole experience has really brought my life and career full circle and given me the freedom to finally celebrate how beautiful our time together was and how much joy it brought into our lives as bandmates and to the fans who fueled our success.

How do you feel that personal and artistic growth informed “Death Grip”?

Andrew McMahon: As a writer, I’m only ever chasing one thing. It’s this moment when you are in flow and the words, melodies and changes just pour out of you. There is a line in “Death Grip” that references cracking open my solar plexus…that is the feeling that I’m hunting when I create. Post cancer that feeling got harder to find and it made writing and living a struggle for years. The Wilderness years are a flashpoint of personal growth because I realized there were many roads to that feeling, one being a collaborative writing process.

In this case I was working with my friends Luke Nicolli and Ivory Layne and the three of us pulled this song out of the ether in such a magical session. Being able to use a process so unique to this stage of my career and then bring my brothers from Something Corporate into play and elevate it is something I would have been way too in my head about years ago to try.

Something Corporate © Connor Lenihan
Something Corporate © Connor Lenihan



You've talked about this song’s inspirations around taking your hands off the metaphorical wheel and trusting that things will be okay; where, for you, did those emotions stem from? Do you feel like you were actually able to find some release - to “loosen that death grip” over the past year?

Andrew McMahon: I’ve come to believe that we never truly arrive at a place but rather that life works in seasons. I recognized going into this year that I needed a quiet season and that there was some change ahead and rather than seek it out I was going to be patient and wait until it found me. I’ve been really diligent to try and let everything flow from that concept and that’s how this song came into being. It was a simple inhale and exhale. Write something that moves me then find a way to get it out into the world as soon as possible. I’ve never really done it that way and that feels like progress. Like truly letting go.

Sonically, what were you going for with this song? What was your vision for it, if any?

Andrew McMahon: The sound was more a manifestation than a vision. The sound and the song were born in the same moment. It was a three hour process cutting the demo and writing the song and each new lyric and melody informed the sound and each new sound informed the next lyric and melody. That’s why this song is Wilderness and SoCo – we had the sound and the band came in and took it to the next level. The next collab track will feature SoCo first because we crafted it from scratch around the band’s sound.

It's been a year and change now since Tilt At the Wind No More’s release. How does “Death Grip” feel for you as YOUR next song? Or is it in such a different lane for you that there are no overlaps, parallels, or comparisons?

Andrew McMahon: It’s all one long thread. Everything connects and “Death Grip” in a lot of ways makes good on the promise of Tilt. When I wrote and recorded Tilt, I was searching for the piece of mind I’ve found recently. I couldn’t have one without the other. There was a lot of turbulence in my professional life as I was making that record and the studio was a safe space for me as I navigated all of that. A year later, I wish more people heard that album but I’ve learned over the years that these things take on a life of their own and I’m hopeful Tilt will have a lasting impact when all is said and done.

ANDREW MCMAHON SETS THE BAR FOR MUSICAL STORYTELLING WITH ‘TILT AT THE WIND NO MORE’

:: INTERVIEW ::



What do you love most about this new song, and ultimately what do you hope listeners take away from it?

Andrew McMahon: I love how closely the sound is tied to the message of the song. For me it’s a mantra. I think of “Death Grip” as an aesthetic world, a place to visit. I hope that people are able to listen to it and let go the same way I did when I was making it.

Likewise, do you have any favorite lyrics or lines from this track?

Andrew McMahon: That’s tough, probably “cracked open my solar plexus, all that comes next is floating, waves are waves.” It really sums up why I create.

In the spirit of teasing fans, what does the future hold for Something Corporate? You’ve got this exciting sold-out reunion tour… do you envision “Death Grip” possibly being the first of more music to come? Is it all up in the air, subject to the fates, or do you feel this is solidly a one-off gratis for the time being?

Andrew McMahon: There is another song coming. It’s a very different song sonically than “Death Grip,” but I think there is a lyrical thread that makes them an interesting pair. It’s called “Happy.” I wrote it for Tilt At The Wind No More but it felt like it had ties to Something Corporate, both sonically and lyrically, and when the idea of cutting “Death Grip” came up I pulled it out of the vault.

— —

:: stream/purchase Death Grip here ::
:: connect with Something Corporate here ::
Stream: “Death Grip” – Something Corporate



— — — —

Death Grip - Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

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? © Connor Lenihan

:: Stream Something Corporate ::



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