Explaining John Mayer: He's a musician
John Mayer's not the only person in America amazed by the firestorm of controversy ignited by his comments in a recent Playboy interview.
I am, too. Because people keep forgetting an important thing about the cutie pie who wrote Daughters and Your Body is a Wonderland.
He's a musician. A brilliant musician.
And it has always been my experience -- after more than 30 years as a player -- that the more brilliant a musician is, the nuttier they are. Almost without exception.
Mayer's biggest problem is that he is born of a generation which feels the need to plaster their innermost thoughts all over MySpace and Facebook and Twiiter, providing an easily searchable database of every stupid thing you've ever said or done.
One of the things Mayer reveals in the interview -- which also proved that all the dark thoughts we guys have had about Jessica Simpson were true! -- is that the thirtysomething performer clashed with fortysomething girlfriend Jennifer Aniston because of the way he'd jacked into social media outlets like Twitter. She saw it as a dangerous distraction; he saw it as a natural part of his life.
Imagine what sort of things we might have learned about musical genius freakizoids like Prince, Michael Jackson or Little Richard, if they had been inclined to expose themselves on something like Twitter or Facebook. Or if they had been dumb enough to ramble their every impulsive thought to a journalist for a national magazine.
I recall this story I heard about Prince -- when I asked his bandmates Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman about it, they had never heard the story, so I'm assuming it's not true. But I want it to be, so I'm repeating it, anyway.
Prince supposedly fired a housekeeper because, when he was writing songs, the rhythm of her footsteps around his house didn't match the grooves he was hearing in his head. Imagine seeing the world so differently, that an action like that makes sense, even for a moment.
Welcome to the world of most genius musicians.
I've been a fan of Mayer's for a long time -- I have most of his records and have watched the concert videos. And I don't think he's actually racist -- even though his way of saying he's not sexually attracted to most black women is to say his penis is a white supremacist.
I think he's a nutty musician from a confessional generation who is learning the hard way that quips which might make your bandmates laugh after a gig don't necessarily play well when featured in a magazine article or Web site.
Now I'm not saying that every crazy thing a great musician does should be excused, especially if it hurts another person. And crazy musicians are notorious for hurting those closest to them, so I can't imagine how Aniston or Simpson feel, seeing their private business splashed all over the world like this.
But I don't even think Mayer is egotistical or necessarily a bad person.
He is, however, a genius guitar geek who is still getting used to having the world at his feet after living most of his life holed up in a practice room with his axe.
Talk about learning things the hard way