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Interview:
Mayer Twangs -- And Tweets -- His Way Through The World
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

We all know John Mayer is good with a guitar in his hands. And a pen. But that’s not all.

The Connecticut-born singer, songwriter and axeman has released five platinum-or-better albums, won

seven Grammy Awards and scored a half-dozen Top 20 singles, including “Your Body is a Wonderland,” “Waiting on the World to Change” and “Say.” His latest album, “Battle Studies,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in November.

But Mayer, 32, has achieved equal fame with his fingers in another medium — Twitter. Though he once dubbed it “inherently silly and inherently dumb,” it’s been his primary means of communicating with fans — particularly during the past year, when he was winding down his relationship with actress Jennifer Aniston, recording “Battle Studies” and documenting his trips to the bathroom. Late in the year, he even tweeted that “2009 took fragmentation to a whole new level given the rise of Twitter and the social acceptance of texting people as a substitute to making phone calls.”

Mayer has wound down his Twitter addiction as well, having tweeted — of course — his intent to undergo a “digital cleanse” to reduce his reliance on texting, blogging and other electronic means of communication. But he remains active in the format, most recently using it to apologize for what were perceived as racist remarks in a recent Playboy magazine interview.

So as he rolls into town this weekend for a concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills, we thought we’d review some of Mayer’s greatest Twitter hits ...

• “Won best rock vocal Grammy for Gravity! Heart is about to explode. That song means the world to me and to see it get love is a THRILL!!!!” — February 2009

• “You know, it’s a blessing to know that you can learn how to truly appreciate something while it’s still around... I’m beyond lucky to learn how to accept the beautiful life I have without saying ‘I wish I knew then what I know now.’ ” — February 2009

• “I just voted on People’s ‘Is John Mayer a Keeper?’ [for Aniston] poll. I clicked ‘Love Him,’ but ‘Lose Him’ is winning at 63%...Be honest, you’d vote for yourself if you came across it, as well. Wouldn’t you?” — March 2009,

• “Ernest Hemingway once claimed he could write a great story in six words or less. I’m certainly not the first person to pass the plate around on this, but Twitter seems like an excellent place to try it...My six word story: ‘This heart didn’t come with instructions.’ ” — March 2009, after his break-up with Aniston was reported.

• “You’re going to make lots of records, I can tell. Write one song at a time, never apologize for any of them, ever. From ‘Wonderland’ to Trio stuff, they’re all my kids.” — April 2009, to Demi Lovato

• “I just read a review in Rolling Stone of a ‘single’ I haven’t even finished recording yet. That’s a new one for me.” After criticizing the issue, he added, “I guess we know who won’t make the cover anytime soon!” — April 2009 (Mayer was on the cover of Rolling Stone’s Feb. 4 issue.)

• “I’m working on these amazing new lyrics: ‘Tonight I’m going out/I need to feel that music move me/please, DJ don’t stop, I came to the club/To make the body rock/this Grey Goose going to my head, boom, boom, bang Mr DJ on the way to the restroom/I see a shorty staring like she’s legally blond/I’m staring back at her like I’m legally blind/ain’t felt this way in a long long time/boom bo.’...Please respect this dynamic new direction in my career. Thank you.” — May 2009

• “Have fun, Smile at the things that worry you. Play good music. Laugh. Live your life!” — May 2009

• “I love how some dudes hate me for dating their fantasy girl, as if they were going to if I hadn’t.” — May 2009

• “Suffering cerebral atrophy. Since I’ve been communicating in short pulses, I’ve been writing lyrics the same way... The single-serve idea is killing my writing. Laying off a little in the coming weeks.” — July 2009, on how tweeting is affecting his songwriting.

• “I find it hard to write lyrics like I used to. This is not because people know so much about me, but because of what they think they know. So I find myself trying to guess what they think they know and then trying to steer clear of it and find another way to explain myself.... The whole thing gets very tiresome and has led me to say ‘f*** it’ and write exactly like I used to.” — August 2009

• “We’re supposed to lose our friends to time, at an age when we’re ready to agree to the terms of having lived a long life. Not now.” — August 2009, reacting to the death of DJ AM

• “How do I put this like a gentleman...I have never high fived [rumored new girlfriend] Kristin Cavalari....I’m sure she’s a wonderful gal but we have never tasted the Skittles Rainbow together....My Milli has never slam danced with her Vanilli”...I have never Bensoned her Hedges, nor have I attempted to Bartle her James.” — September 2009

• “Big love to my girl @taylorswift13. A class act.” — September 2009, after the MTV Video Music Awards.

• “Rumor check: went to gay bar in Palm Springs, yes. Had a blast. Danced my face off. Someone there planted a kiss on me? No.” — October 2009

• “ ‘Battle Studies’ is officially the number 1 album in the US! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! What a way to spend Thanksgiving.” — November 2009

• Let me be the first to say it: the 2000s was the dumbest decade in recorded history. You may not appreciate it now, but in the next 2-4 years the true dumbness of the decade will age like a fine, insipid wine.” — December 2009

• “My last tweet before the [digital] cleanse. Happy New Year. May 2010 bring you all your heart desires. Let’s be better together. XO J” — January 2010

• “The cleanse was amazing. I’m back but I want to keep some of what I’ve gained. Fewer tweets, more links...longer phrases.” — January 2010

• “I need to get back into the gym. I’m all for having boobs against my chest but not when they’re mine.” — January 2010

• “My life on the road is a lot like ’70s Fleetwood Mac, except instead of cocaine it’s Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” — February 2010

• “Feels good to make music again. I don’t really do anything else all that well, so it’s nice to be back.” — February 2010

• “I like to dry off after a shower with the comforter. My room, my rules.” — February 2010

• “Re: using the ‘N word’ in an interview: I am sorry that I used the word. And it’s such a shame that I did because the point I was trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself....It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it, because I realize that there’s no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged. And while I’m using today for looking at myself under harsh light,” he continued. “I think it’s time to stop trying to be so raw in interviews. It started as an attempt to not let the waves of criticism get to me, but it’s gotten out of hand and I’ve created somewhat of a monster. I wanted to be a blues guitar player. And a singer. And a songwriter. Not a shock jock. I don’t have the stomach for it. Again, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m equivocating: I should have never said the word and I will never say it again.” — February 2010



John Mayer and Michael Franti & Spearhead perform at 8 p.m. Friday (Feb. 12) at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $36, $51 and $76. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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