John Clayton Mayer is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and record producer. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mayer attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, but disenrolled and moved to Atlanta in 1997 with Clay Cook. Together, they formed a short lived two man band called Lo-Fi Masters. After their split, Mayer continued to play local clubs, refining his skills and gaining a following. Take a look below for 37 more fun and fascinating facts about John Mayer.
1. Mayer was born on October 16, 1977, in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Richard, a high school principal, and Margaret Mayer, a middle school English teacher.
2. He grew up in nearby Fairfield, the middle child between older brother Carl and younger brother Ben.
3. His father is Jewish, and Mayer has said that he relates to Judaism.
4. As a middle school student, Mayer became close friends with future tennis star James Blake, and they often played Nintendo together after school.
5. He attended the Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk for his junior year (then known as the Center for Japanese Studies Abroad, a magnet program for learning Japanese).
6. After watching Michael J. Fox’s guitar performance as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, Mayer became fascinated with the instrument.
7. When he turned 13, his father rented one for him.
8. A neighbor gave Mayer a Stevie Ray Vaughan cassette, which cultivated Mayer’s love of blues music.
9. According to Mayer, his fascination with Vaughan started a “genealogical hunt” that led him to other blues guitarists, including Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, Otis Rush, and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
10. Mayer started taking lessons from a local guitar-shop owner, Al Ferrante, and soon became consumed.
11. His singular focus concerned his parents, and they twice took him to see a psychiatrist, who determined him to be healthy.
12. Mayer says that his parents’ contentious marriage led him to “disappear and create my own world I could believe in”.
13. After two years of practice, he started playing at bars and other venues, while still in high school.
14. In addition to performing solo, he was a member of a band called Villanova Junction (named for a Jimi Hendrix song) with Tim Procaccini, Joe Beleznay, and Rich Wolf.
15. When Mayer was 17, he was stricken with cardiac dysrhythmia and was hospitalized for a weekend. Reflecting on the incident, Mayer said, “That was the moment the songwriter in me was born”, and he penned his first lyrics the night he left the hospital.
16. Shortly thereafter, he began suffering from panic attacks, and says he feared having to enter a mental institution.
17. He continues to manage such episodes with anti-anxiety medication.
18. Mayer considered skipping college to pursue his music, but his parents dissuaded him.
19. He enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in 1997 at age 19.
20. At the urging of his college friend Clay Cook, they left Berklee after two semesters and moved to Atlanta. There, they formed a two-man band called LoFi Masters, and began performing in local coffee houses and club venues such as Eddie’s Attic.
21. According to Cook, they experienced musical differences due to Mayer’s desire to move more towards pop music.
22. The two parted ways and Mayer embarked on a solo career.
23. With the help of local producer and engineer Glenn Matullo, Mayer recorded the independent EP Inside Wants Out.
24. The EP includes eight songs with Mayer on lead vocals and guitars. For the opening track, “Back To You”, a full band was enlisted, including the EP’s co-producer David “DeLa” LaBruyere on bass guitars.
25. On his third episode of Current Mood, Mayer revealed he had been sober for two years.
26. He stopped drinking after having what he says was a six-day hangover after Drake‘s 30th birthday party.
28. In 2002, Mayer created the “Back to You” Fund, a nonprofit organization that focuses on fundraising in the areas of health care, education, the arts and talent development. The foundation auctions exclusive John Mayer items, such as guitar picks, T-shirts and signed CDs.
29. Mayer participated at the East Rutherford, New Jersey, location of the Live Earth project, a musical rally to support awareness for climate change held July 7, 2007.
30. Mayer performed at a number of benefits and telethons for charity throughout his career. He has participated in benefits for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
31. In response to the Virginia Tech massacre, Mayer (along with Dave Matthews Band, Phil Vassar, and Nas) performed a free concert at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium on September 6, 2007.
32. In early 2010, Mayer gave a controversial interview to Playboy Magazine.
33. Pop singer Taylor Swift performed vocals for the song “Half of My Heart” on Mayer’s November 2009 album Battle Studies.
34. In March 2014, Mayer sued watch dealer Robert Maron for $656,000 when he discovered that seven of the $5 million in watches he purchased from the dealer contained counterfeit parts.
35. He dropped the action in May 2015, releasing a statement that asserted that research restored his “belief that Bob Maron is an expert on Rolex watches and confirmed that Bob Maron never sold him a counterfeit watch”.
36. John Mayer is a guitar collector and has collaborated with elite guitar companies to design his own instruments. He owns over 200 guitars.
37. In the mid-2000s, he did comedy sporadically, making random appearances at the famed Comedy Cellar in New York and at other venues.