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John Mayer on Taz Niederauer: “The first young guitar player that is not a gimmick”

January 05, 2018
Bill Kelly/Dino Perrucci

Before his end-of-the-year shows, John Mayer took some time to chat with fans via an Instagram Live that, in typical Mayer fashion, provided both insights and laughs into some of the Dead & Company guitarist’s thoughts.

One of the most interesting parts of the segment, as JamBase notes, was when Mayer discusses the “passing of the torch” to younger guitarists, which seemed to lead someone on Instagram to bring up teenage phenom Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, who Mayer immediately complimented, calling him “the first young guitar player that is not a gimmick.”

Mayer goes on to praise Niederauer’s style of playing, not just his talent, explaining how it is harder to be especially impressive as a young musician these days because of the ease with which the internet allows widespread notoriety. “So, I’m not interested in what somebody can do on a guitar,” Mayer continues. “The ‘what’ of it is fairly easy; the how of it and the why of it is what makes a real guitar player and a real musician. Brandon is playing from pure, real ‘what’ and ‘how’ and intent. He’s going for it, and you can hear it like music and get off to it and dance to it. So, yeah, I dig it. The fact that he’s young is secondary.”

The Instagram segment, which can be viewed below, also includes a moment where Mayer riffs on how “brave” a commenter is for saying that Jerry Garcia is a better guitarist than Mayer (“They’re gonna call for your head with that one”), plus the guitarists thoughts on Cards Against Humanity versus Balderdash and more.

Watch below, and read our recent interview with Niederauer here.