Having already spent the better part of the last two years on the road, most of the members of Something Corporate aren't rattled by the prospect of headlining their own upcoming trek. Luckily, they have singer Andrew McMahon to pick up the slack.
"I get nervous for everyone, pretty much," McMahon said. "I take on most of the nerves. Every single day I'm on the phone with our agent like, 'Did we sell any more tickets?' "
McMahon's nerves might get the best of him if the houses aren't all packed for the month-long stretch that begins October 28 in San Diego (see "Something Corporate Head To 'Space' Via L.A.; Plan Headlining Trek"). Because unlike the "if they come, they come" attitude maintained by the band's other main songwriter, guitarist Josh Partington, McMahon takes failure personally. If people don't show up to see the headliners, he reasons, why would they show up at all?
But if the band's recent opening-act showings with Good Charlotte at New York's Roseland are any indication, McMahon needs to chill. Two shows saw shoulder-to-shoulder crowds run several rows deep for a 40-minute set composed mostly of piano-guided rave-ups from last year's Leaving Through the Window and their latest album, North, due October 21. Exposure to their new single, "Space," is growing, given the number of audience members who were singing every word.
And since Something Corporate parted ways with Good Charlotte on Sunday, they'll soon have a longer set, prime placement at the merchandise booth and a bigger dressing room to look forward to when their headlining tour kicks off at the end of the month. Nevertheless, they'll miss the bunch of guys they consider pals.
"It's like touring with old friends," McMahon said, reflecting on the band's experience with Good Charlotte. "We've known the guys in Good Charlotte since the Warped Tour last year. Since that tour, they've become this ultra-huge band, but the coolest thing about them is that I don't think they've changed one bit. They're still the cool guys we met on the Warped Tour."
Touring with Good Charlotte, and 311 before that, has left Something Corporate with more than just a few teary eyes. The experience also gave them a crash-course in headlining, which should help ease McMahon's nerves.
"We were with two bands that sell tons of tickets and really put on a full headlining tour," he said. "So we know our work's cut out for us, but we've had good role models [who showed us] what goes into a full-scale tour and how to keep people interested."
If you catch a Something Corporate show two things are apparent. First, considering how he slams, pounds and even jumps on his instrument, McMahon must use the most durable upright piano Yamaha makes. The second attribute concerns geography. Unlike some other Southern California bands, not all of Something Corporate's songs are based around a steadfastly pogo beat so it's not sonically obvious from where they hail ... until you notice McMahon's footwear. The good-looking, shaggy-haired, thick-framed-glasses-wearing frontman sports decidedly un-rock flip-flops.
"If we were doing things to look cool ..." Partington began.
"We probably wouldn't be doing anything," McMahon finished, laughing.
"I've spent the last seven or eight years in Southern California and this is what I wear every day when I'm home," the singer admitted. "Shoes and socks have never been comfortable. Performing in shoes is so 'fish out of water' for me.' I've sometimes even worn [flip-flops] in the snow. My feet didn't look pretty when I got home that night."
Since Something Corporate will likely be on the road through the end of the year, McMahon won't have to worry about getting the carpet dirty. And judging by the response to "Space," the band's popularity seems destined to grow. Now if only there were a way to ensure that a lightbulb doesn't dim during their sets, he'd have nothing to worry about at all.