New Mayer Article

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renee
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Postby renee » Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:35 am

'I'm a bluesman,' says Mayer, but the little girls may not understand
Aidin Vaziri, Chronicle Pop Music Critic

Thursday, September 8, 2005


John Mayer is about to commit career suicide, and there's no stopping him.

It's Tuesday, a few hours before the first of his two sold-out shows at the Fillmore, and the singer-songwriter is lounging in a suite at the Four Seasons on Market Street.

The first sign of trouble is the clothing. In tattered jeans and loose-fitting white T-shirt, his hair a mess of wayward curls, he doesn't look so much like a multiplatinum pop star and sorority house pinup as a bellboy playing hooky from work.

"I'm done with fashion," Mayer announces, his 6-foot-3-inch frame slumped on the couch. He isn't kidding. On his feet are a pair of Adidas running sneakers and white ankle socks. It's the same outfit he'll wear onstage later.

Then there's this: The 27-year-old singer-songwriter is in town to begin a tour with his new project, the John Mayer Trio, a blues-rock ensemble that includes bassist Pino Palladino, the British session player who served as John Entwistle's replacement in the Who, and drummer Steve Jordan, a musician who has worked with Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. That's right, a blues-rock ensemble.

Sure, it sounds great on paper, but the band's repertoire almost guarantees a dramatic fan-base shift from 14-year-old girls to 40-year-old men. And to think the group is playing reworked versions of Mayer's pop radio hits, assorted classic rock covers and generally winging it.

There are plans to put out a live album in December, recorded on the tour, which extends through October and includes three dates with the Rolling Stones. Then anything could happen. The intention, Mayer explains, is to keep things loose yet challenging.

"I'm three lines away from finishing this song I'm singing tonight," he says, talking faster and acting far more self-assured than his deep-set eyes would suggest. "I've got a song that I've got to write the lyrics to between tonight and tomorrow so I can sing it the next night." And then: "All bets are off."

It's not exactly the left-field move Mayer's managers were hoping for after the remarkable success of his past two albums, the quadruple-platinum 2001 debut "Room for Squares" and its 2003 follow-up, "Heavier Things," which entered the charts at No. 1 and sold 2 million copies. But Mayer says his bosses, like his numerous critics, will just have to deal with it. The fans, well, they can make up their own minds.

"I know what I'm getting into," he says. "I know for me to get onstage and play blues music, a lot of people aren't going to like the look of that. Basically, it's like wearing a target. But you get to a point where you need to try to get where you want to get."

And where exactly is Mayer going?

Basically, back to where he started. He grew up in Fairfield, Conn., worshiping Stevie Ray Vaughan. He even has the Texan blues guitarist's initials tattooed on his upper left arm, just above the words "Home Life," which extend over his left and right triceps, and a few inches higher than one of the many Japanese art drawings that cover his body.

He attended Boston's Berklee College of Music, a breeding ground for jazz musicians, but was turned off by the stress on technical playing. So instead he spent most of his time practicing his autograph. Mayer dropped out after the first year, moved to Atlanta and independently released his first CD, 1999's "Inside Wants Out." It wasn't long before Columbia Records, home of Dylan and Springsteen, started waving around a contract.

His career blossomed with major crossover hits like "No Such Thing" and "Your Body Is a Wonderland" (supposedly written about former flame Jennifer Love Hewitt) that made Mayer a household name.

He promises he's not turning his back on all that with his latest venture. In fact, Mayer says he is working on his next studio album, "Continuum," due next year, with Palladino and Jordan, and is eager to turn out even more mall-sweeping hits.

"I'm not the kind of person who wants to step off the perch just because he's doing something different, even though he's leaving the top," he says. "I have a pop sensibility and a blues sensibility. It is my obligation to the music to find the dead center."

At the Fillmore that night, however, it was almost as if he had walked into one of the old Stevie Ray Vaughan posters in his teenage bedroom. The first five rows were still packed with women hoping to catch his eye, but the music was far removed from the finely woven ballads that made him famous.

With the band at his side, Mayer dug deep into bluesy renditions of standards by Jimi Hendrix and Ray Charles, aired some soulful new tracks like "Gravity" and "Vultures" and, truth be told, made a fairly convincing case for his new direction, even if his pop hit "Daughters" got the biggest cheers of the night.

Back at the hotel, Mayer is clearly excited about this sea change. But is he really willing to lose everything he's earned in the past five years?

"I'm walking into the line of fire, but you got to see the way I walk. It's quite a strut."

:lol: "i'm through with fashion"....oh john

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Postby lancesgrl » Mon Sep 12, 2005 5:11 pm

"i'm through with fashion"....oh john


:lol: :lol: when was he ever into fashion??? :lol:

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Postby renee » Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:51 pm

:lol: when i first read that it cracked me up...but then i realized he had to be talking about "fashion" as what the industry expects from him and what he's not willing to provide this time round..... :unsure: i think :lol:

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Postby lancesgrl » Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:17 am

oooooooh! :lol: :lol: gotcha. :nod: i was thrown off by the usual comments about his clothes and messy hair. :shrug: it's funny how a lot of people do comment on john's appearance tho... mostly people who don't get that it's the old jeans, tee shirt and scruffy hair that make him so biteable! :chatter: :lol:

anyway... not surprising that he's saying what he's saying. he's never given the impression that he was willing to follow along like every other one of the sheep in the flock, so to speak. B) it won't matter for his die hard fans tho. we'll roll with it. :nod:

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Postby renee » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:13 pm

yeah i respect the fact that he's doing what he loves with his music...here's a couple of lines from his journal the other night...i'm wondering if it's in response to a few articles written about him on this new venture...

"I'm not a bluesman. I'm a blues man. There's a bigger difference than you think. I'm a blues man because I just said I was, and that's all anybody needs to know. It's a new kind of blues. Get used to it, cause I don't think I'm gonna stop for a while..." JM

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Postby potrox » Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:10 pm

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lancesgrl
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Postby lancesgrl » Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:10 pm

thought i'd visit, but no one is hear. not like my expectations were all that high, but.... :( i just watched jm3 on ellen (a rerun) last week. yummy. :lol: oh... btw i'm going to see him in october! :yay: i've been jones'in for some john real bad lately. :P

who am i talking to? oh yeah... me. :oops:

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Postby Amy » Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:12 am

lancesgrl wrote:
"i'm through with fashion"....oh john


:lol: :lol: when was he ever into fashion??? :lol:


:lol: exactly what I wanted to say :P

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Postby deedar » Sat Aug 05, 2006 5:36 pm

well, john is john and all he has to do is get up on the stage and look in the aidience and it is over. he could sing "boo!" and it would be sexxxy!
right?! :tv:


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