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John Mayer Responds to Chris Robinson Insult, Talks Growing Older, “Entering Cannabis Life” and More

June 28, 2017

John Mayer is nearing the end of his current tour with Dead & Company, after which he will resume his multifaceted Search for Everything tour, and the guitarist spoke with Rolling Stone about an array of topics, including adapting to songwriting and the music world as he grows older, his recent substitution of marijuana instead of alcohol, Chris Robinson’s comments about his playing in Dead & Co. and more.

Though Mayer has recently been interviewed countless times about his love, admiration and dedication to his Dead & Co. bandmates and their Grateful Dead legacy, some of the most interesting insights from the discussion come from Mayer focusing on other aspects of his current career. However, one direct question asked to the guitarist concerned Robinson’s words in an interview with Howard Stern, where the CRB frontman called Mayer the “antithesis” of the uniqueness that Jerry Garcia stood for and called the Grateful Dead “a giant nipple that everyone sucks off to get money.” Mayer responded with a quick dismissal of the comments, saying, “I care about [Dead & Company] too much to give that life. I have my thoughts, but it’s not my place. I realized not long ago that I’m done debating my own merits: ‘No, I am very good.’ Music isn’t a sports-page thing to me.”

Mayer also discusses how his musical viewpoints have changed as he has gotten older, saying that he has come to terms with lowered expectations, as far as widespread popularity goes. “I’m 39. It’s funny, I was 31 for 8 years, then I became 39,” he says. “And there’s something that happens that’s really great with that, where you go, ‘Oh, well there are things I shouldn’t expect to have anymore.’ I can find peace in it and go, ‘Ok, I’m not gonna be number one on Spotify because you’re not supposed to be Number One.’”

He also spoke to a frequent criticism he gets as a soft-rock songwriter who is also a great blues-rock guitarist: “For all the moves I’ve made on the musical chessboard, I am now me. I’m no dummy. I know my record could use some rock bangers. I went in once a week and would play a Black Keys feel on the drums, and distort the guitar, and start making up words. Then I’d listen and go, ‘I don’t buy it.’ The older I get, the more I realize you don’t have to embody everything you love.”

The end of the interview features a couple humorous throwaways, as Mayer explains why he quit drinking alcohol, which he calls “a fucking con,” for a more mellow marijuana regimen, along with his thoughts on his own much-discussed guitar face: “Guitar face is not cool. I feel a little bit uncomfortable with people thinking that I made up the guitar face. God, wouldn’t it be great to go to the jungles of Borneo and give a tribe Fender Stratocasters and have them listen to Jimi Hendrix – but not show them Jimi Hendrix – and come back five years later and see if there’s any guitar face? I have a feeling there would be.”

Read the full interview here.