Album cover

Continuum

Interview with My Stupid Mouth forum (2005)
Conducted by founder Richard Young

I think a lot of people have read stuff about it being a "blues record" or it's "all guitar playing" and it's not. There is more guitar playing. Certainly, it goes back to the Room for Squares motif in terms of songs you can play on guitar. So now we're back to the organic kind of playing. The bridge is a totally different melody and a totally different feel. The reason that's like that is because I have the time to write, and what I thought was a chorus but it ends up being a bridge, and so naturally it might be a different key or a different time signature, and so it's a lot more in one tune. I don't think I'll ever go back to that "sit around and scratch your chin" kind of lyric writing. It doesn't impress me anymore. People can expect the singing to be a lot more open now. The record is about half done, and we're going to LA after this tour to really finish up seven or eight tracks that we're just going to go kill it and it'll be half done. I don't have singles yet, but I know that I have songs that I'll play on stage forever. I've got lifetime kind of things because they feel really really really good.

RY: What do you look forward to the most about your new album?

JM: This is the first record I've loved making. Not to put down any other processes, but this is the one where I'll go into the studio and not know what I'm doing. I just went in with Charlie Hunter and Steve Jordan on Memorial Day weekend. We all get in a room and find a sound that moves us and just feel that certain vibe from those specific players. One of my favorite tunes that I ever wrote came out in an hour and a half. That's always really scary when you tell somebody that you wrote a tune in an hour and a half, because if it sucks they look at you like maybe you should've spent three hours on it. It's just happening. It's so much fun and I'm discovering things musically, as I play them and record them that I never thought I was going to do. So I get all the fun because I never thought I'd hear myself sing on this melody or that chord change.

RY: How about a timeframe for when we can expect the new record to drop?

JM: It'll come out when it comes out. Part of making this record is compression. Take three ideas and it may turn into one great one. I think even when I'm done with the record, which I'd like to be done with by the end of the year, I may go back and do four more songs, and take the best two of those, and knock the worst two off the record. I have a hunger for this record that I wonder if I'm ever going to have again for any other record [Laughs] because there is so much to say on this one.

RY: Any songs you’ve previously played that listeners will be familiar with come release time?

JM: I think the only songs you’ve heard that are definitely going on the CD are "Hummingbird" and a song called “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)," which I think was originally just called Untitled 2 or something. Everything else is new, so new that even my closest friends can’t identify any parts of the songs as something they’ve heard me mess with before.

Interview in Berklee alumni magazine
"Running with the Big Dogs John Mayer, '98"

MS: What is your new record going to be like?

JM: It will be defined by the people playing on it. Steve Jordan plays drums, Pino Palladino and Willie Weeks play bass, Roy Hargrove plays trumpet on it. It is in an R&B direction, but is hard to explain. Any label I put on it is going to make you think too far in one direction. It’s my voice and my sensibilities—which are growing—but it’s a little less wondrous. It’s a little more patient and a little less breathy in terms of the vocals. Would I be self-indulgent if I said it was cooler? There is a lot of guitar playing on it because the songs are written well enough so that more guitar makes sense. Eric Clapton is the greatest guitar player to me because he writes songs that lift the guitar playing to greater heights. He understands that if you want to be more than a guitar player’s guitar player, a people’s guitar player, you need to understand the lyric. I want to understand the lyric more.

Interview from WPLJ Acoustic Cafe
Live at WPLJ Acoustic Cafe with Race Taylor

JM: What would the next John Mayer song sound like?

RT: Would it be a ballad?

JM: No. I'm putting a strict two ballad rule on my next record. With Continuum there really was a very even mix of rockers and ballad and it just was that the rockers weren't as good, so we just kind of kicked them off. And it became a little bit of a lighter record. But there were songs on there like "Facial Reconstruction Surgery of My Fist," "Ass Hammer" was on there, "Slow Bludgeon Blues." But the focus groups seem to like the ones with the dreaming and the broken hearts.

2012 Interview in Rolling Stone
The Dirty Mind and Lonely Heart of John Mayer
I know that I’m supposed to say that my newest is the best one. Bullshit. Continuum is my best one.
Live in Albuquerque, NM 2013
Concert at Isleta Amphitheater

Take it back to the Continuum record. Something about that album. Who can tell why certain things just [clicks tongue]. It's the Continuum record. I'd rather have one record everybody agrees on as being the record they all like the most, or that the majority of people like the most, than have everybody go, "I'm undecided, they're all very poor. I'm undecided, you know, it's hard to pick a least favorite. They're all so substandard."

You know? We have all ears going to one record.

Interview at the Oxford Union
"Life in Music"
Yeah, I really love design. Actually, I'd just finished making Continuum. Handed it in, and my manager played it for the head of the label, and I was [like], "what'd he say, what'd he say, what'd he say," and the call—I remember where I was—the call came in, and he said "uh, he doesn't hear anything on it, he doesn't hear a hit. [He] wants you to go back and write some more stuff." And I was just like, how can you not hear how special this record is. And I just thought, if I can't do this, I'm done. And the record went on to be really, really successful. And my most successful record to date, I think, and it taught me a big lesson which is, like: listen to someone's record twice before you give a point of view on it. So now if anyone ever plays me a song, I go, "play it again." People a lot of times assume what it is they must be saying to you.

Interviewer: Without putting you into too awkward a position, what is the work, the song, the album of which you're most proud. That sounds so corny.

JM: No, it's not corny. Well I know now that Continuum is the record that was sort of the best representation of what I could do. It's really cohesive, it was really in-the-moment. It was also a time in my life where I was very open-minded. I wasn't self-protective. I was still riding my bike down Venice Beach and I wasn't worried who was taking my pictures. I wasn't guarded, I guess you should say.

Interview with My Stupid Mouth forum (2013)
Conducted by founder Richard Young

Continuum is Continuum, and I don’t know if people know this, but the reason it is what it is—it’s luck. Both on my part as the writer, and on everyone else’s part for hearing it all at the same time. 

Continuum was written in little stages, and we would go in the studio and record three songs at a time, two songs, one song. It took a long time. The first three songs I did were, "I Don’t Trust Myself (with Loving You)," "Over and Over," and "Bold as Love."

We recorded those three at Right Track Recording in New York City or something after the Tsunami Benefit [January 2005]. I wrote "Gravity" in 2005, then "Vultures" with the Trio in 2005. 2006 was "Waiting on the World to Change".

RY: It was kind of like you were saying before about what Paradise Valley could have been. I remember you telling me in the past that you kept throwing tracks off Continuum in favor of newer/better songs. 

JM: It just kept going. There’s a whole other Continuum record. I remember sitting at a pool with Steve Jordan and making track lists and we had record one and record two. There’s "The Hurt," there’s a song called "Please Tell Your Boyfriend to Chill," which I think Herbie Hancock played on. There is a "[I Don't] Trust Myself [With Loving You] Part II." There are a ton of songs, but I’m not remembering all of them right now. There was a song that was going to close off Continuum that is a fucking cool song. 

They’ll come out sometime. They have to. They just end up coming out. So, Continuum was a very composted thing.

Interview with Steve Jordan
Layin' It Down With Steve Jordan, Part 2

Steve Jordan: Welcome back to Layin' It Down with Steve Jordan and my guest today my dear friend John Mayer. This interview is so fabulous that, if I say so myself, you can say that we can make a two-part out of this, which is kind of like what we thought about Continuum for about 48 hours. I had a double album there for a minute.

John Mayer: We had a double album—sitting by the Four Seasons pool we both had a sheet of paper. We're like, Okay what's on your list, what's on this—and we were sequencing it and there's so many other songs for that record that didn't make it.

SJ: You know the ten year anniversary, which is now. Are you thinking about putting some of this stuff out or what?

JM: I think we passed the point.

SJ: Got it. [Laughs]

JM: So it's a little quick to turn around it after 10 years and start celebrating. I fear retrospection. There's no greatest hits album you know, but there is certainly—

I mean there is a "I Don't Trust Myself With Loving You" Part Two. I don't know if you remember this. There's another: [singing] "how wrong, you were, about me." I did that horribly out of tune, I changed keys in the middle. And it was just a kick. We would mute stuff.

But that time of my life, man, was the perfect confluence of everything. It was before every storm. It was right in this beautiful eye of the storm of making it. I had made it, so the storm of trying to make it was over, but the storm of trying to keep it going had yet to hit. Or the storm of how you deal with being a needy little bastard for your whole life and then having the world come to your doorstep.

Right in between these two things was me living in LA up in Pacific Palisades and riding my bike around Venice Beach listening to rough mixes of "I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)" and "Belief" and "Dreaming With a Broken Heart" and "Gravity." 

Everything after that got bigger and stranger, but right there was the perfect mix of the music that I was making being great and my life being, like, really, really excellent.

SJ: I had a meeting with Donnie Ienner during Continuum, and he said to me as he was giving me a pep talk—because we had never worked together before, so you know, he was kind of concerned, like Okay, you know, whatever—and he said, Whatever you do, John is a catalogue artist.

JM: I love Donnie Ienner by the way. [I] should have said that before you said that.

SJ: And he got you, he understood that you had songs.

JM: I like label bosses. I like them. I like having a boss, I like having a guy who came up in music who can tell me that thing that I think is exciting is not that exciting, or the thing that I don't think is exciting is more exciting than I think. I always liked Donnie Ienner. He was a music guy who was not afraid to give an opinion, and he was right a lot of the time.

SJ: Yeah.

JM: He was right a lot of the time. I always appreciated that. And I feel like a world without the Donnie Ienner type is a little bit less impactful in terms of artists putting music out, because there's nobody to throw a phone. It's hard to look at it now any other way than like, I was never really a hit artist. Any time I had a hit, quote-unquote—or actually had a couple hits not in quotes—they were sort of these outlying, quizzical like, Oh he got one through. I was never cool in terms of being signed in a world where people were super into what I was doing. I was always told, well, they're into this right now, not really what you're doing. So I've kind of always stuck my way around.

Podcast interview with Dean Delray
Let There Be Talk, Part 1 of 2, Episode #501
You can't be too pretty with music. You can't be, and look I've never been cool in any one year that I had my record out. Maybe Continuum for a second. But the rest of the time I was like “no no no, these are the people who we think are cool, you're not.” And because the songs were too pretty they go “no no we want whatever the dynamic, interesting, futuristic version of today's music is."
Instagram Story Q&A (August 2021)
Questions from various fans

QHave you ever thought about quitting music? If so, what inspired you not to?

A: Yes. One time I handed in an album and was told "it had no hits" on it. I cried. Told myself I was gonna quit and go to design school. 

That album was 'Continuum.'