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Mayer was born in Connecticut in 1977 to a high school principal father and an English teacher mother. Young John Mayer became infatuated with the guitar after watching Marty McFly’s performance in Back to The Future. Mayer’s father rented a guitar for him to play when he turned 13, and a Stevie Ray Vaughan cassette tape gifted to him by a neighbor helped Mayer develop his affection for the blues.
Mayer took guitar lessons from a guitar shop owner in his Bridgeport, Connecticut hometown. His preoccupation with the instrument concerned his parents so much that they took him to see a psychiatrist, who assured them he was fine.
Mayer briefly attended the Berklee College of Music before dropping out after two semesters and moving to Atlanta with a college friend to form the duo LoFi Masters. They played in clubs and coffee houses in Atlanta, parting ways as Mayer wanted to pursue pop music. Mayer recorded an independent EP, Inside Wants Out, in 1999.
Mayer’s fledgling career benefited from the growing online music market at the time – he was able to benefit from an online following. A lawyer acquaintance sent Aware Records Mayer’s EP, and the label later released his internet-only album, No Room For Squares. Columbia Records later remixed and re-released the album, which spawned radio hits like “Your Body is a Wonderland”, “No Such Thing”, and “Why, Georgia”.
Mayer’s blues influence is evident in his guitar playing, which features a distinctive sound. He utilizes a mix of fingerpicking and flatpicking to incorporate percussive elements. Mayer is a guitar collector and has over 200 guitars
Dead and Company
Mayer has been touring with Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart since 2015 as Dead & Company. He developed a strong interest in The Grateful Dead’s music in 2011 after hearing their song “Althea” on Pandora. He played the song with Weir on the Late Late Show, impressing Weir enough to bring him on.