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Live at KTCZ-FM

Interview and performance from Minneapolis

Interviewer: By the way, John Mayer joining us in the studio. Can we have a short round of applause. [...] You're in town tonight for a sold out show over at The Quest, on tour currently with Mr. Mike Doughty, used to go by the simple initial "M", but now he's Mike Doughty. How is it being on the road with Mike Doughty?

John Mayer: It's great. He's been out for two shows. And it just so happens that I've been really busy the last couple of days so we haven't had the time to really connect. But I think it's coming pretty soon.

You know, having people open for you is very much like summer camp where the opener usually they go on before you, and they're kind of like on the opposite side of the lake. And you have to make the effort to take the paddle boat across and make sure you spend time with them. It's just difficult cause there's so much that I do that leads up to the show, but I'll make sure not to wait 'til the last day of camp to go to camp Doughty.

Interviewer: [ticket giveaway to listeners]

Well we're very lucky to have you here. I want to talk about the record and some other things, but first can we have a little music since that's what all these people showed up for?

[Plays acoustic version of "No Such Thing"]

Interviewer: [...] Performing tonight at The Quest in support of that album, No Room For Squares. Couple questions for you, John. One is in that song you make a direct reference that you honestly can't wait for your ten year reunion. I wonder, in real life since songs are not completely autobiographical, do you really have any intention whatsoever of going to your high school reunion?

JM: I have every intention of being too busy and having to send a video tape message from wherever I happen to be at the moment. There's like all types of scaffolding behind me. He's like, Hey everybody, I'm in Singapore doing a show. Hey, can you keep it down back there, union guys? I'm sorry, they're building my hydraulic lift for my entrance tonight. But I just wanted to say, you all look great. Have you lose weight? Thank you so much, and we'll see you at fifteen."

Interviewer: This one, it's a simpler question but might be harder to answer. Everybody loves John Mayer. Why is that?

JM: I don't think I knew that. 

Interviewer: What is it about the nature of your songwriting that seems to appeal to everyone so universally? 

JM: I actually like the question. Why is it that nobody doesn't like me? 

I want to see if I can answer it articulately. I think it's because I don't think you have to like me to believe me. I think because when you accept an artist that you don't really like it's because at least you believe 'em. I don't believe a lot of people who sing. I don't believe a lot of bands. But I believe Staind. And Staind is very much like others of its ilk, but I believe. And therefore I don't hate it. The question of, is it for me or not, is different. But I think that people at least hear that it's thought-out and maybe respect the fact that it's not hammered out in twenty minutes and at least I have some sort of consistency, maybe. I hope.

Interviewer: Good answer.

JM: Thank you. 

Interviewer: Are you diversifying? Do you have anything else as sort of a backup plan in case this whole rock star thing doesn't work out?

JM: I don't know. I would like to have a TV show, I think.

Interviewer: Variety show, game show?

JM: Variety show. I would like to be the man on the street with a microphone. There's just something very innately funny about talking to someone with a microphone and aiming it towards them while they talk and taking it back when you talk and aiming it towards them.

[Plays acoustic version of "Your Body is a Wonderland"]

Interviewer: Before we went on air you were saying something very nice about John Ondrasik.

JM: John is one of those rare people in the music industry who is as nice as he is good. Which is really an interesting balance, and not many people share it with him. People who play music live in a neighborhood and all their houses are really really close together. And most of these people live their careers inside their house, which they really want to because then they don't have to see other people's houses. And when they have to walk outside to get the mail and they see one another they usually give each other dirty looks. And there are a few people who come out of their house and will deliver mail that accidentally came to their box to you and say, "Hey I'm John. Nice to meet you. I live in the house down the street. If you ever need anything I want you to let me know because I like the color of your house a whole lot and I like what you did with your yard and your shrubs. So if you ever need anything, if you need me to watch your dog while you're gone you let me know." And John is one of those guys who comes over in his bathrobe. To use a long-winded analogy. 

Interviewer: Well that's a good analogy, I like it very much. Now you grew up in Connecticut. These days you call Atlanta home, is that right?

JM: Um, yeah. As home as I can call anything. My bed is there. I own a bed and it is staying in Atlanta.

Interviewer: I read that you were inspired by the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Is that true?

JM: Absolutely. I still get a fire in my gut when I listen to it, when I talk about it. Being in the industry now, I meet people who've seen his shows, and you won't really see me any more wide eyed than when I hear about a Stevie Ray Vaughan show by proxy of someone else who was there. When I get on stage and I pick up a guitar, it's my reference. It's just the way I hold a guitar. It's everything from fighter pilot, western cowboy, to kung fu karate master all in one. It just really really appeals to me.

Interviewer: Very nice. When did you decide that blues wasn't going to be the exact direction you were going to take it? 

JM: When I realized that I didn't think there was anything that I could do for it. If that makes any sense. There wasn't anything I could do to it or for it. I would have been leaving it the same way I found it the day I died. So I felt like there was something I could do with combining maybe sometimes with that blues ethics but with maybe a little bit more of a broad observationalist style. Which the blues has, but there's certain notes, literally, that are missing from the blues scale. I think there are some emotional notes that are missing from the blues also that I didn't want to miss. 

[Interview]: You managed to include most of them, if not all of them, on your record.

JM: Thank you. I hope so. I got more records to try, at least.

Interviewer: One more question here. I kind of jokingly before referred to what are you going to do if this whole rock star thing doesn't pan out. Clearly your music resonates with people and music has been a dream you've had since you were very young. Are there other dreams you have, other things you want to pursue other than music before your life's over?

JM: I have hobbies. But there's not anything else I'd want to pursue for the rest of my life. I mean, I never minded when I was growing up if you thought I was a schmuck, and if you told everyone John Mayer is totally obnoxious. As long as you followed up with, "but man, have you heard him play guitar?" That's all I really need to be known for. Plus, the guitar is a longtime quest for me. And I don't think it would be fair for me to start trying to spread it thin and pick up other things. I don't even want to play other instruments. I just want to play guitar, and I want to make records. Sometimes making records is the last thing you think about when you're at a record label. Because you make a record and then you recite it.

But my big dream is, maybe four or five records down the line—I mean hopefully, I don't want to flatter myself—but hopefully be the kind of artist where my fifth record comes out on a Tuesday and you're there Monday night and you don't even know what the record sounds like, you don't know what the track listing is. And you go to the shelf, and you pick it up and you bring it to the counter and you go, here you go, I want one of these. That'd be cool.

Interviewer: Well, I don't think you'll have to wait until your fifth record.

[Plays acoustic version of "3x5"]


JM: This is an incredible year [...] I'd hate to look back being forty years old and going, Maybe I should have taken June off. So I think we're gonna go all year. This is my life. This is where I live. All over the place.