Sheryl's got your Hollywood news and your favorite Buzz artists, every weekday from 10am-3pm. Thanks for spending your workday with her!
John Mayer Over-Shares Again
by Sheryl Stewart,posted Feb 10 2010 2:56PM
Seriously....If I had a secret, the LAST person on earth I would tell is John Mayer. Haha! He's dishing on his ex-girlfriends in this new interview with Playboy's website. I'm a little disturbed that he's been hanging out backstage with Miley Cyrus, let alone giving her advice.....but to be honest, the nosy part of me loves that he's got no filters. Your office IT guy probably has the Playboy site blocked, but you can try accessing the full article here. I'll post the parts that won't get me in trouble below. ;-)
PLAYBOY: Is this the last John Mayer interview?
MAYER: No, though I have fantasies of it. And that doesn’t come out of pretension or laziness. It’s difficult for me to explain my life to someone without sounding like I’m complaining, which I’m not. I have no problem saying I’m in a bit of a strange time in my life.
PLAYBOY: Meeting girls is a headache? You have to explain that.
MAYER: I hate being the heartbreaker. Hate it. If I date somebody and it doesn’t work out, it’s another nightmare for me. I don’t like the way the odds are stacked. If I date nine more girls before I get married—which I think would be completely appropriate—that would be nine more spats of character assassination. I don’t equate sex with release, I equate it with tension. It’s given me a lot of pause. Somewhere in my brain it has probably really (messed) me up.
PLAYBOY: But who cares if people assassinate your character?
MAYER: I do. I just do. I consider myself a good guy, with the best of intentions. Anybody who has been in a relationship with me would stand by the fact that I’ve never been callous. I’ve never been a bad boy. I may have taken someone through the wringer psychologically, but I’ve never been sinister.
PLAYBOY: So you’ve lost the motivation of playing music to meet girls.
MAYER: If I was playing it so I could meet hot chicks, I’ve met hot chicks, quote unquote. If I was playing it to make a ton of money, I’ve made a ton of money. If I was playing it to be well-known, I am well-known. Once you put aside girls and money, it forces you to realign your motivation for being a musician. Now I’m not a have-not but a have. Which is interesting, because music has to come from a have-not sort of place. And there are many places where I have-not.
PLAYBOY: It seems as though you realize that celebrities who complain don’t generate much sympathy.
MAYER: I have never once said “I wish the press would leave me alone.” With Twitter, I can show my real voice. Here’s me thinking about stuff: “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could download food?” It has been important for me to keep communicating, even when magazines were calling me a rat and saying I was writing a book.
PLAYBOY: Who did that?
MAYER: Star magazine at one point said I was writing a tell-all book for $10 million. On Star’s cover it said what a rat! My entire life I’ve tried to be a nice guy. The best I ever felt was when friends’ parents would say, “John can come over any time. We love that kid.” When I date a girl and find out her friends approve of me, I love it. I love being liked! I’ve given microscopic dedication to doing the right thing, taking the high road, and all of a sudden Star magazine says, “He’s a rat.” I can’t tell you it didn’t give me that much more bloodlust to do what people thought I couldn’t do.
PLAYBOY: It sounds simple, but it’s not: Battle Studies is an album about love.
MAYER: Sure. It’s an album about love in this day and age, and at my age, 32.
PLAYBOY: What do you mean by “in this day and age”? There aren’t any references in the songs that would have been unclear 20 years ago.
MAYER: I’m a self-soother. The Internet, DVR, Netflix, Twitter—all these things are moments in time throughout your day when you’re able to soothe yourself. We have an autonomy of comfort and pleasure. By the way, pornography? It’s a new synaptic pathway. You wake up in the morning, open a thumbnail page, and it leads to a Pandora’s box of visuals. There have probably been days when I saw 300 (girl parts) before I got out of bed.
PLAYBOY: You talked before about being an underdog. What were you like at 16?
MAYER: I wasn’t paying attention in school. I would come home and play guitar, playing for all the moments I had that day when I couldn’t feel alive. I visualized I was a superhero with an alter ego: “By day, a gawky, zitfaced 16-year-old boy.…” I would sleep with my guitar because I thought it would make me play better. I had a 100-disc CD player in the basement, and I would load it up with Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Kenny Burrell and Bill Evans and play CDs while I slept on the floor. Like somehow, by osmosis, the music was getting into me. It was the only way I could build enough armor to go back to school the next day.
PLAYBOY: How many hours a day were you playing?
MAYER: Three to four hours a day when I was in school, and in the summertime five to six hours a day. I wasn’t smoking cigarettes or drinking, and I wasn’t trying to hook up. I wasn’t going to parties. I remember being in my room when there was a party across town, sitting in my room and pretending I was at the party and playing for them. I remember saying to myself, If I have to sleep on a pool table every night on tour, I’ll do it. I always had that desire to be a rock star.
PLAYBOY: Were you one of those smart kids who hated school?
MAYER: I would act up and get sent to the dean’s office and talk to him as though I was an adult. “I’m not trying to upset anybody, sir. With all due respect to you and your staff, I’m just not supposed to be here. It’s quite difficult for me to sit in class, because I’m supposed to be a guitar player, sir.” I was very cocky. But from the outset, there was opposition. My parents were not the biggest fans, to put it diplomatically. I grew up saying, “You’ll see. I can’t explain it yet, but you’ll see.” Early in my career, when I was 19 or 20, I’d meet presidents of record companies and refused to give them my demos. I’d say, “We’ll see each other again sometime.”
PLAYBOY: So you can already imagine your future?
MAYER: This is going to sound odd, but sometimes I meet the 40-year-old me and say, “What do I do?” And 40-year-old me says, “Don’t do every scheduled interview. Go to the zoo instead. You’re going to be fine, you knucklehead. Stop overthinking what people say.” I’m trying to fold over time, to see it as a random-access hard disk where I can move to any point in time and change the way I see today.
PLAYBOY: What you describe sounds like a conversation between a father and a son. Can you talk like that with your dad?
MAYER: My dad is 82. I love him so much, but the way I communicate with him is by fixing his printer or the closed-captioning on his TV. These are the bonding moments we have.
PLAYBOY: Did kids make fun of the fact that your dad is almost 20 years older than your mom?
MAYER: No, they’d just say, “Your grandfather’s here.”
PLAYBOY: Is your heritage Jewish?
MAYER: I’m half Jewish. People say, “Well, which side of your family is Jewish?” I say, “My dad’s.” And they always say it doesn’t count. But I will say I keep my pool at 92 degrees, so you do the math. I find myself relating to Judaism. One of my best friends is Jewish beyond all Jews—I went to my first Passover seder at his house—and I train in Krav Maga with a lot of Israelis.
PLAYBOY: Were you one of those people who thought fame would be rainbows and unicorns?
MAYER: I had a conversation about fame with Jen [Aniston] before we ever really stepped out in public. She said, “Do you understand what this entails?” Two weeks later I had people outside my house. I was smart enough to know it would probably make me a salable item for the paparazzi. I knew I’d have to move to a home that had a gate. But that pearl of possibility that lives in your heart when you meet somebody you want to know more about has such a different molecular density than everything else that you have to pursue it. And I wouldn’t undo it, man. Because if it had worked out, I would have reaped the benefits. I would be sitting here saying, “What I have when I go home is the thing I’ve always wanted.”
PLAYBOY: Has Jen heard Battle Studies?
MAYER: Yes. I played it for her as the record was being made.
PLAYBOY: What did she say?
MAYER: Look, there’s a level of honesty in that record that probably made her uncomfortable, but I couldn’t let that change the way I wrote songs. There were moments when she said, “What’s that line?” Like, “That’s not about me, is it?” While I was going out with her she was on the cover of GQ wearing nothing but a tie. These are occupational hazards. When she heard Battle Studies she just wanted to be able to say “I want to know that you hold me correctly in your heart.”
PLAYBOY: What percentage of the album is about Aniston?
MAYER: I don’t want to say. I feel bad because people think “Heartbreak Warfare” is about her. I want to go on record saying it’s not. That woman would never use heartbreak warfare. That woman was the most communicative, sweetest, kindest person. When people hear the record, I hope the songs make them think about their lives, not my life. Like, when you listen to Coldplay, do you think about Gwyneth Paltrow? I don’t write songs in order to stick it to my exes. I don’t release underground dis tracks. [laughs]
PLAYBOY: You’ve rarely talked about Aniston. She has rarely talked about you.
MAYER: We just have a regard for each other’s feelings that is pretty intense. It’s been a deep relationship, and it’s no longer taking place at all. Have you ever loved somebody, loved her completely, but had to end the relationship for life reasons?
PLAYBOY: Did you send Aniston a copy of the CD after it was done?
MAYER: I’m very protective of Jen.
PLAYBOY: Do you still love her?
MAYER: Yes, always. I’ll always be sorry that it didn’t last. In some ways I wish I could be with her. But I can’t change the fact that I need to be 32.
PLAYBOY: Last June she was given an award from Women in Film. In her acceptance speech she pointed out that the titles of her films closely parallel her private life. Then she asked if anyone in the audience had “a project titled Everlasting Love With an Adult, Stable Male.” It seems as if she was referring to you.
MAYER: I imagine I’ve got something to do with that. Parts of me aren’t 32. My ability to go deep with somebody is old soul. My ability to commit and be faithful is old soul. But 32 just comes roaring out of me at points when I don’t see it coming. I want to dance. I want to get on an airplane and be like a ninja. I want to be an explorer. I want to be like The Bourne Identity. I don’t want to pet dogs in the kitchen.
PLAYBOY: That’s not so weird for a 32-year-old.
MAYER: Right. For a long time I was asking, “What’s wrong with me?” I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on therapy for people to say, “Nothing is wrong.” I had seen splitting up with her as akin to burning an American flag. Do you know what I mean? I considered myself a villain.
PLAYBOY: How did you feel like a villain?
MAYER: I felt as though I’d done something wrong and was going to be punished for it. When the media picked up on it, it was the worst fucking week of my life. I found notes at my front desk: “I work for Us Weekly; I’d like to talk to you.” I’m working out at the gym, and next to me on the elliptical trainer I see a woman I think already approached me and said she was with In Touch. But wouldn’t that be paranoid to think? I’m going insane. I haven’t slept. I’m about to go blind—you know the phrase blind rage? All I can remember is that I was about to lose my vision. My emotional tissue was about to tear. So after I left the gym I said “Come here” to all the reporters and paparazzi. I was on the verge of crying and also on the verge of punching someone.
PLAYBOY: This was August 2008, when you said you had ended the relationship “because I don’t want to waste somebody’s time if something’s not right.”
MAYER: It really, really upset her. I wanted to take responsibility for having ended it because I saw it as such an offense. But a lot of people felt I was saving face. This would serve to begin the period of my life I’m just exiting, when love made me feel guilty and people called me a rat, a womanizer and a cad.
PLAYBOY: What does the word womanizer mean to you?
MAYER: Well, wouldn’t a womanizer have dated more than two girls in two years?
PLAYBOY: You and Aniston got back together and broke up again in 2009. How many women did you sleep with in the eight months after the breakup?
MAYER: I’m going to say four or five. No more.
PLAYBOY: In 2006 you began dating Jessica Simpson, and the paparazzi started stalking you, turning you into a tabloid fixture. Certainly you knew that was going to happen.
MAYER: It wasn’t as direct as me saying “I now make the choice to bring the paparazzi into my life.” I really said, “I now make the choice to sleep with Jessica Simpson.” That was stronger than my desire to stay out of the paparazzi’s eye. That girl, for me, is a drug. And drugs aren’t good for you if you do lots of them. Yeah, that girl is like crack cocaine to me.
PLAYBOY: You were addicted to Jessica Simpson?
MAYER: Sexually it was crazy. That’s all I’ll say. It was like napalm, sexual napalm.
PLAYBOY: So at this point—
MAYER: Pardon me for interrupting. I love Jen so much that I’m now thinking about how bad I would feel if she read this and was like, “Why are you putting me in an article where you’re talking about someone else? I don’t want to be in your lineage of kiss-and-tells.”
PLAYBOY: You talked about listening to Miles Davis and Bill Evans in high school, but that’s not the kind of music you make.
MAYER: I make mainstream music. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures; I believe in pleasures. I know where I stand when I hear Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” or “The Climb”—which may be the best pop song of the past year.
PLAYBOY: It’s a little surprising that you like Miley Cyrus so much.
MAYER: I took a friend and his kids to see Miley Cyrus in Vegas. After the show I said to her, “That was fantastic. Fantastic.” I said, “Take $100,000, put it in a shoe box and bury it in your backyard.” I walked away thinking, That may be the strangest thing I’ve ever said. It just means put a little away. Have something nobody can ever take away from you.
PLAYBOY: Keep a secret fund in case you wake up at three a.m. thinking, Screw this, and you need to disappear?
MAYER: Exactly. That’s what I do with my blackjack winnings—I keep them safe and sound.
WESTSIDE ADOPTION CENTER: I’m at LexiDog on 6100 SW Macadam Ave. Portland, OR 97239 (503-327-8219). I romp and play all day with the other dogs in doggy daycare so I might be a great fit with your canine family members. Wanna take a...