Andrew McMahon 12 Favorite Things 2021
Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Getty
If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what celebrities add to their baskets. Not the JAR brooch and the Louis XV chair, but the Hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Andrew McMahon, whose new book, Three pianos: a memory, was posted earlier this week, about his favorite Fine Tip Sharpies, Tumi backpack and cologne for a date he can’t live without.
Rainbow Sandals are based in my hometown of San Clemente, CA, and they make like a part of your uniform here. Everyone wears them. These are amazing handmade leather sandals. I spent up to five or six years on a single pair of Rainbows. It’s a bit of a badge of honor how long you can hang on to a pair before you need to refresh them and get a new one. Hysterical, I wore them on stage when I was playing with Something Corporate at the time. In the end, I decided that the shoes might be more suitable in the long run. But when I’m hanging out and the weather is nice, that’s about the only thing I put on my feet.
I am fairly new to surfing. I started in the summer of 2017 or 2018. It wasn’t that long ago, but it has become a very important part of my mental and physical health. When I am at home I spend a lot of time in the water. My stepdad recommended Vissla to me – I’ve had this costume for about a year now and it still looks great on me. It keeps me warm, although the water in California can be cold. You want a wetsuit that will last a long time and allow you to move around freely, and this one certainly does. It’s a good option, especially if you don’t want to go out and spend $ 500 or $ 600 on a costume.
This directly refers to my surf. I mean, we have some of the most amazing state parks in the country here in California. As you can probably tell, I am a huge supporter of the state that I have since adopted as my home. One of my favorite places I learned to surf was San Onofre State Beach. I went there three days a week with my surf coach. This is one of the most forgiving beaches you can learn about. I fell in love with it. The pass ends up being a great thing to have, both as a surfer or for someone who enjoys the outdoors. It’s a pass to some of the most beautiful places in the state.
This particular amount I’m referring to is probably one of the more personal items on the list. I think the first show I played on was in Boise in 2001 or 2002, so I’ve had it for a very long time. More particularly, when I retired from the road, it was at the piano that I wrote the first record of Jack’s Mannequin, While in transit, to. It’s been with me for almost 20 years now and it’s playing really well. These instruments, if they have been yours for a very long time, become somewhat of an extension of yourself at some point. This one is definitely beaten. The cover doesn’t fit anymore because all the bolts broke on the front and the wear is a little less good, but it plays wonderfully. And I’ve probably written more songs on it than any in my career. Hopefully we both age like fine wine; we will find out.
I carry them with me forever, probably since 2004. They are just part of my everyday life – if a random thought pops up or if I want to draw a picture or if I’m in session and want to write words down. I don’t write there every day, but I always have one in my backpack. I’m kind of old school in the sense that I feel like when I write words on a page they make more sense to me than if I type them on my phone or computer. I tend to find that when I’m able to look at the words, written on a page and really think about them, it helps draw out other ideas. All of my files, to some extent, are sort of cataloged in these journals.
I’ve certainly browsed through a handful of different styled pens over the years, but I find myself loving the pen that sort of writes on its own. I don’t like bigger ballpoint pens that you really have to drag across the page. These write really neatly. I tend to write like a chicken scratch, especially if I write lyrics on the spot. But with these I am able to write quickly and my work is still readable. It’s just a very nice pen with which I can write almost under a microscope while making very crisp letters. They also tend to last a long time.
I probably got my first Tumi backpack when I got married, which should have been in 2006. During that time I only had to replace it once. I wear it everywhere. I carry my notebook, my pens, my computer, my phone – all of a writer’s various accessories in the world. I have worn this thing through all kinds of weather conditions and never had a problem. I’ve had the color brown for about six years and it still looks new. Whenever I’m working or traveling, going to a session or a show, or getting on a plane, my backpack is always with me.
I’m not historically a heavy cologne carrier, but I like to wear it when I’m going out or if I’m taking my wife on a date or something. I found this cologne in this New Orleans perfume store. It was a very personalized experience, and the story is half of the reason I bought it. The staff drew me to this cologne called Eight and Bob, which was apparently one of John F. Kennedy’s favorite colognes. The company survived one of the world wars by hiding its colognes in old books so they wouldn’t get caught in raids. When they send you a bottle today, it’s actually hidden away in a vintage book with the inside cut out. I am not a big fan of things as much as I am of experience. As you can see from this list, most of the material things I have are in the service of an experience. These are colognes that smell great, but I think the story, the aesthetics, and the presentation is the reason I have become a fan of their product.
I am more comfortable in a pair of sandals. For years, I’ve been trying to figure out how many places I can actually wear sandals as an adult in public and not embarrass myself, you know? Eventually, I came across these stylish Adidas slip-ons which served a similar function for me – they’re super comfortable, easy to put on and don’t require a lot of effort. But with a nice pair of pants, they look pretty sharp. My sneakers have traveled with me pretty much anywhere I can’t wear my sandals. I run these guys and I sail.
I discovered Raen when I was in Australia. I had just lost a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, which I wore exclusively because they really conformed to the shape of my face. I walked into a surf shop somewhere on the coast, found the Raen sunglasses and totally fell in love with them. I always do talk about their business because I think they only make very good quality executives.
I have been doing yoga on and off for about 20 years. We found this amazing yoga community that practices a special type of yoga called Ashtanga yoga. The reason I love this Manduka rug is its thickness. This particular yoga is a bit more athletic, so it requires a lot of dog down, a lot of work on your hands. He supports all positions and pushups and works on the ground. I’ve had the rug since, my God, about five or six years at least. I even bring it with me on the tour bus.
I always like to joke that I dress a bit like a grandpa. It’s the stylish version of my grandpa’s outfit, just sweaters and button down shirts, kinda like Mr. Rogers. I probably started wearing Ben Sherman clothes when I was in Jack’s Mannequin. I have two Ben Sherman plaid shirts that I got 15 years ago, and they haven’t lost a button and don’t look worse to wear. There’s something comforting about the fact that I can still get this shirt 15 years later in virtually the same fit and colors if I want.
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