“Practice hard, practice longer than anyone else. Train your brain to focus for large clips of time. See how many paragraphs you can read of an article before you turn the page. When was the last time I heard a whole record? When was the last time I wrote a whole song? And you start to realize that your brain— my mind was narrowing in terms of the bandwidth of what it accepts as a chunk of information, and that’s the scary part. That’s where rules are rules. So as soon as I plugged that up and I went ‘I’m not gonna ask myself anymore what are some good tweets I can throw up’. Everything goes into the record. I didn’t bring my laptop to the studio, I got a new phone number, the phone never rings. I have no friends, everyone knows I’m in the studio. I go in the studio and then I stay there until I look up and then I walk out. I’ll be there for eight, ten hours, take two breaks to eat, three breaks to pee and then I don’t look up. And I wouldn’t have done the last time, and I didn’t do that on the last record, and that’s why my last record is not my favorite record. But you write where you’re coming from, and you write and make the record in the life that you have, and I realized I’m tweeting, I’m blogging, I’m looking around for other things that are advantageous to nothing. To having golf claps on Twitter, you know. I’m not putting Twitter down, Twitter is great to use once you have a thing to tweet about, you know. So, everyone go home and ask yourself ‘What is my unit of focus? Is it ten minutes, twenty minutes?’ ‘Cause I got my unit of focus now to be hours.” - JM
“There’s a difference between being honest and just exposing things. You know, a lot of people go ‘I’m just being honest’ No, you’re just —there’s no honesty in just spilling things out. The honesty in a song, I believe that you have diplomatic immunity inside a song. If you wrote a song, you’re behind that song. I’m not gonna let the media affect how I write my music, but I go in and out of that. I go in and out of caring. The only way I could not care enough to write this record about my life is to shut all of it off. I’m not reading what people think, I don’t think it exists, I haven’t read a thing in like 6 months and my life is still pretty damn great so uhm, WINNING! I had a discussion with my manager, because there’s some stuff on the record that’s definitely going to raise some—it’s gonna intrigue people. But it’s how I feel. But think about this, if the media was the way it was, were in 1965, then everybody would go, like if Bob Dylan broke up with Joan Baez or something, it’d be like ‘Dylan-Baez split!’ And then all of a sudden “It Ain’t Me Babe” would be a big sensational media thing, but it’s not. Because number one, it’s a song, and if it’s a well written song people will be too busy thinking about their own damn life, if you do it right. If you don’t do it right, it’ll be like ‘Who’s that about?’ I won’t name any names but some people aren’t very good at it. And uh—I don’t care, I thought I could say what I wanted to. Because if you’re honest about something you go ‘This is my fault too.’ So when I go ‘Well, I’m not some trouble maker and I never meant her harm, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make it hard to carry on’. That’s honesty, that’s true honesty. Spilling things that anybody can just sort through, I don’t choose to—I don’t think I’ve done it, I’ve certainly accidentally done that outside of songs, but that’s another reason that I took all of that other stuff out. So if I have something I wanna say, I don’t blog it anymore, I just put it into songs. The songs got richer, because it’s like covering up holes in a hose so the water pressure gets stronger.” -JM
“Here are the myths; Right time/right place. Who believes in right time and right place? ‘You gotta be in the right time at the right place.’ Not true. Here’s why it’s not true. That would be true if you only played one show for your entire life, then the mathematical construct would make sense, and you’d have to be in the right time at the right place. Forget about right time/right place, it doesn’t exist. You create your place and you create your time through what you’re doing. It’s not about getting your foot in the door, or meeting a person and them giving you an opportunity. It doesn’t exist. Right time/right place, debunked! I just don’t believe in it, and I don’t want you to believe it because it’s dismissive of what you could actually do. It’s dismissive of your real talent. You create that destiny of what you’re doing. The other one is ‘So few people make it!’ Have you ever heard this one? It’s like the NBA! I had a conversation with my dad last week, and he was trying to justify his fear of growing up that I was in trouble, some deep seeded trouble because I wanted to be a musician. And he said that you gotta have a fallback plan, also a myth! Also a myth. You can’t have a fallback plan. Anybody who tells you to have a fallback plan, are people who had a fallback plan, didn’t follow their dreams and don’t want you too either. That’s the bottom line. ‘No, no, come on, you’re an exception.’ An exception to what rule? You can buy a guitar anytime you want. Exception to what? And they say this thing, my dad said this thing, love the guy, but I had to set him straight. He said to me ‘Well, it’s like the NBA, so few people get in and so many people want to.’ And I said ‘Dad, did you have a child I don’t know about who tried to get into the NBA, and this is worrying you?’ It’s not true. First of all, in the NBA you have a certain amount of people that bench. In the music industry, if you’re good, come on in. There’s no ‘We have enough’. In fact, they say we don’t have enough. So they don’t say that we got a Rihanna and we don’t need another one, they say ‘We want 5 more Rihannas!’. So it’s the exact opposite of the NBA. Debunked!” - JM
‘Fold me up, take me out, I’m portable. Fold me up, seal me up, I’m submersible. All my friends, yeah. Are all with me, on a joyride over open sea. See, I used to have a blog. I used to write just to my fans. But every motherfucker in the universe was copying and pasting my shit, and now my fans don’t understand. It’s nice to be thought of, but it’s better to be loved. I’d rather stand around in a room full of people taking my picture making me feel slightly uncomfortable if I’m sure that I’m the one thing they’re still sure of. Fold me up, take me out, I’m portable, yeah. My fans, I’m not talking about the public at large. The public at large is cool, whatever, they can comment, they can say whatever they want; ‘Whatever, this guy is a douchebag, he’s fugly’. It doesn’t really matter, but my fans!
My fans, who know that I think of them everytime I decide to go out to some cheese dick club. But it’s my right to go to a cheese dick club, and I defend it! They know that before it’s time to leave, and I’m settling up the tip and I know that the cameras are outside, I think of them first and I say ‘What can I do? What’s that one thing I can do to a camera so that only me and my fans understand?’ And the rest of the public at large, which really doesn’t matter to me that much, unless they happen to someday become fans, and then that’s cool. My fans understand that when they see me coming outside of a club doing some speech on some bullshit about nothing of the top of my head, they know that’s me. I want you to know that’s my wink to you guys!
I’m never really all that messed up. And I wanna tell you one more thing before I go into this song so you know truly understand what I’m trying to tell you. Because I became such fodder all of a sudden for pop culture, the one thing I have to do at the face of it, is to be as weird as possible. Because weirdness is a wall that I can hide behind, and have a really good time. Because you can’t let them get your heart. You can’t let them all get your heart! So you gotta be a little wacky, and a little weird and throw them off guard. But I want you to know that as fans, not the public at large, fans; I think of you all the time. And I’m so blessed that I still got you on my side.’ - Johnny, intro to “Why Georgia”, MCC1.
‘I wanna tell you that I think about you every night. I mean this. I think about you every night when the house gets quiet, and the workday is done, and it’s down to me and a guitar, and my brain and my heart and my experiences. I think about you every night. And all I think about is proving the world wrong and you right! I think about living up to the standard that I might have somehow set for myself. And I don’t think it’s an impossible standard, I think it’s very possible. I think you just stay vulnerable. The stakes get higher, but you just stay as vulnerable— let the stakes look weird, let everything else look weird. But I wanna stay vulnerable and I think about you every night I pick up a guitar. And I play and I sing things I’m not quite sure of yet, because all I wanna do is give you twelve more songs. 12 more ideas. 12 more melodies. I wanna see you all again, and I know the only real ticket to seeing you all again is to live up to the standard of being a musician, and putting everything you have into your music. And I want you to know I might take a day off tomorrow, but after that, I really want you to know this, I couldn’t be more honest and serious and open and true right now. Pacific standard time, if you look at your clock and it’s between the hours of 11.PM and 5.AM I want you to know that I’m thinking about you. Until the moment you hold this record in your hands, I want you to know that I’m thinking about you. Will you do that for me? It’s true. And if you can’t sleep because you’re counting down the hours till the next thing you gotta do or the next day, just know that I’m awake, in a little tiny room with my Blackberry off, working on the next tour, the next trip around the world, the next time that I can see you. Because I don’t want wanna see you again until I can give you 12 more songs, because I know from the bottom of my heart I can give you 12 of the best songs I’ve ever written in my life for you. Just know that this is me. When you see my name printed, that’s just some random letters that spelled my name. This is me. I love you, I thank you, and I send this last part of this song out to you.’ - John Mayer, “Gravity” speech, MCC2.
‘We never seen nobody run this far. You’ve never seen nobody go this far. I’m half of his heart. And if half of my heart brought me to a guitar, then half of my heart must do. And if half of my heart made me a pop star, half of my heart brought me to you. And imagine what the other half of my heart can do. Haha, and imagine what the other half of my heart can do. And you’re out there, and you’re currently working on your heart like it’s on some sort of garage, like mechanics garage lift, and underneath your heart goes ‘pffgrdgdrf’. And then the no good looking people come up to you and say ‘Hey, let’s give it a go’ and you say ‘Hell fucking no!’. They’re draining the oil. Changing the filters. Cleaning off the grease on that once pink piece, it’s now just covered in dark lies and let downs. If you got your heart back up on that lift, and you say OK, I’m gonna use my deductive reasoning, what didn’t work out about the past? What was good about the past, keep it. What was bad about the past, burn it. What was good about the past, learn it. What was bad about the past, burn it. Now you’re already once again, tall, fluffy, brand new tissue here. Yeah, there’s nobody who wants to call you. And that’s cool, even though it hurts a little bit. Because even the people we don’t want to call, make us feel better when they call. We like to say ‘Don’t ever call me again! But keep trying’. Because it’s nice to be the one to say ‘No, I gotta go. Didn’t you hear me the first one hundred times? It’s all alfa omega.’ So if you believe that you finally might have a plot this time, like you finally went through your last major ass kicking, and you think that this might be the time, you may be on the outset of the right thing if the right person comes along. You may actually be, cosmically, mentally, psychologically prepared for true love, then sing to the skies! (John Mayer, Virginia Beach, 2010)
‘When I’m up on stage, I love playing. I mean, every night before I get up there, I don’t know how I’ve done this for so long, ‘Cause every night before I go on stage I think to myself ‘This is the night where I’m just gonna flip out and walk’. And then I get on stage and it’s cool and everyone kinda holds me down, you know? The audience kinda—that’s the great thing about relating to your audience, is that if I’ve had one of those days where I’m like ‘God, I’m just, I don’t have anything down right now’. I can look out on the crowd and while I’m singing ‘Am I living it right?’ There’s someone else singing back to me ‘Am I living it right?’ And I’m like ‘Good, we’re all a little messed up. Cool’. - Johnny, 2007.
‘Come on, keep me where the light is. Let me tell you something; it’s not how long you go thinking you’ve been perfect all your life, ‘cause you ain’t that. It’s all about how you do with yourself when you learn that you’re not. Nobody bats a thousand in the game. Nothing about that has to do with the reason we’re playing. It’s not about how long you go without falling. It’s how you stop yourself and pick yourself up along the way. Don’t know what it is about us people, we start to fall a little bit, they try to make the most of it and fall all the way. What the hell is that about? So you’re flying high, there’s no reason why, sometime’s you just gotta down. Time’s going tough for you, that’s the time you come on through. You stop the bleeding, get on up and keep on walking through. Looking up at the sky saying ‘keep me where the light is’. Come on, keep you where the light is. Congratulations, you’re not perfect, but I hope you can keep you where the light is…’ - John Mayer, San Diego, 2006.
‘I wrote this song sitting on the floor somewhere in Georgia. I was playing around on my guitar and I just—this song is about when you’re right in the middle—like getting older is like getting on a boat and leaving the harbor, you know. As you get older you can still see the harbor behind you, and you’re like ‘Cool, I see where I am, cool, I know where I am. I was there and now I’m here’. But at a certain age it’s just all water everywhere ‘cause you haven’t reached your destination and you’re still so far away where you left. And I just remember feeling stranded, writing this song and wanting to go back in time, to 1983… - John Mayer, before playing 83, Washington, 2007.
‘I think people are really good at gaining things, at getting things. And really—I might aswell frame it like me. I’m really good at wanting things. ‘Let’s go get it, I wanna get it, I wanna get it’ and I’m really bad at keeping it. I’m really bad at maintaining it. And for my life, looking at it like an arc, I got really successful really quickly and now, I mean—I’ve got it so good all the time that there’s no reason for me to even leave the house. I should just stay home, ‘cause if I leave the house chances are—I just have a tenfold better chance at messing something up. You know what I mean? So how do you live your life and have fun without giving too much back, you know? ‘Cause, to use a gambling reference, it’s like I already hit it, let’s go up to your room. But I have to still stay at the table. So, I gotta sit there and be like ‘Not gonna do that, not gonna do that’. I don’t ever wanna go to rehab. That would just—I don’t. I don’t wanna go to rehab, I wanna be like ‘Jeez, that’s a lot of drinking for me, I’m gonna stop that for a year’. You know? Like, how do you not hit the wall? How do you not base your life based on what you can have? I don’t ever wanna know what I can have, I just wanna work off of what I want and then go like, try to get to the next level and no one complaints. But I don’t want anyone to tell me the extent of what I could have. I think that’s kinda how people go insane, you know.’ — John Mayer, 2007
‘Don’t let me live to be a loveless man, who can never understand when he sees an outstretched hand to the promised land. Don’t let me suffer. Don’t let me live, don’t let me live to be, to be a loveless man. Let a man be lost, for once in his lifetime. To sit in his own mind. And stare at the skyline. And live out his whole life, all in a nights time. Let a man be lost. And keep me where the light is, I’m just about to find it. Just about to find it.’ - John Mayer, Toronto, 2010.
‘Here’s the thing now. When life gets good, you can’t stop the game and walk away and say ‘Hey, I made it!’ ‘Cause when life gets good, you gotta sit there, at the table and keep playing the game you’re playing. Things are gonna get good, and things are gonna get bad again. And you’re gonna hold my hand, you’ll be alright again. When it gets good again, when the nose of the plane rights itself from the nosedive, you’re gonna say ‘Hey, I’m still alive!’ And this is now my beautiful life, and this is now my beautiful house. No, I won’t, don’t you give up. Don’t you give up. No, no. I won’t give up, no I won’t run. Don’t you ever stop for anyone.’ - John Mayer, (Cincinnati, 2010.)