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Why Georgia

Live in Cleveland, OH 2002
Concert at Tower City Amphitheatre
I wrote this song when I had nothing in my apartment but speakers and amplifiers. There was no place to sit. It was hard to invite ladies over and be like, "have a seat on the JBL!" There was just a little computer, and I was writing songs and stuff, and I had no idea what the hell was going on. And every night I thought about calling my parents and going, "you know, you must have been right, I think I'm gonna come home." And then better sense prevailed, and then I wrote this song, and it's called "Why Georgia," and it goes like this.
Interview with My Stupid Mouth forum (2013)
Conducted by founder Richard Young
"Why Georgia" is a country song.
I try to read the crowd as best as I can like last night [in Lincoln, NE], I was like, “you know what? This is supposed to be easy for people.” So, it was really like a cost-benefit analysis. If I play "Why Georgia," I’m better off playing it because there are more people who want to hear it while I’m playing than people who don’t want to hear it while I’m playing it. So why not just try to make everyone happy?
Live in Atlanta, GA 2019
Concert at State Farm Arena

I wrote this next song at a Borders Books in Marietta, Georgia. I had forgotten my guitar, if you can believe it or not. And I had left work, and I was headed down 85. And then I realized I had forgotten my guitar. But traffic going the other way was just absolutely bumper-to-bumper. That was a horrible feeling. I had no guitar and I was going to a big gig at Borders Books. And they either gave me, like, thirty bucks cash, or, like, fifty bucks store credit or something like that. So I took the fifty bucks and got a book on how to make more money, and here I am. That's how you do it.

And this is no lie. I was so flustered. I borrowed a guitar from the great Shawn Mullins, actually. I stopped by Shawn Mullins' house, cause he was on the way. [Flustered] "I need a guitar, so sorry, you hardly know me, I know you think I'm a punk, can I please just borrow a guitar?" And I borrowed his guitar. And there were the four people waiting for me, and God bless the four people waiting there. And it was me again. Me versus the coffee machine. [Imitates loud coffee machine.] I didn't have that kind of firepower at the time, I only had a little PA. They had, I think it was a Bunn[-o-Matic coffee maker]. I think it might have been a Bunn, can't be sure. You know a Bunn? Ever see a Bunn? B-U-N-N?

Anyway. I was so frustrated that I just started making this song up. And the song was about how I had had this terrible afternoon. And that's where the song picks up.

Radio Intros 2024
LIFE With John Mayer on Sirius XM Radio

Of all the genesis stories of songs of mine, I think this one is the most interesting. The song is Why Georgia. And the melody for the verse was invented on the spot at a Borders Books. The reason it was, is because I had forgotten to bring my guitar from work to Borders Books where I was playing a show, if you could call it that.

So on my way to Borders Books without a guitar, I realized that I had not yet passed my friend Shawn Mullins' house. So I borrowed a guitar, but I was late by an hour, and I sat down and I began to improvise a song as to why I was late. It sounded exactly like the intro you hear to Why Georgia. And just loved, "I am driving up 85, da-da-da-da-da-da." I went home and I finished it.

Excerpted from Radio Intros 2024 >