I was never really a big John Mayer fan. From what little I knew about him, he was an EMO guitar player who dated Jessica Simpson, bad-mouthed Jennifer Aniston and talked about his “White Supremacist” penis in print.
John started off as a pop rock player and then he took a turn into the Blues and musically found himself. His “Continuum” album was pretty good and set him on the path to an overweening stardom.
His latest “Battle Studies” album was a bit of an artistic bomb — even John admitted such during a recent radio interview, which I’m sure pleased Columbia records to no end — but there is one, magical, song on the album that deserves greater attention: His amazing rendition of Robert Johnson’s famous song, “Crossroads.”
Here is John giving you a video tutorial “Crossroads” — and be patient, because he’s annoyingly trying to be funny at the start — but once he gets into the heart of the tutorial, you will learn some fascinating things about technique, intention of exactly how to play that song even if you don’t play the guitar.
The pedal John mentions in the video that he used to create that creamy-but-crunchy, buzzing overdrive sound — the Pete Cornish GN-2 — is a $900.00USD pedal… if you can even find one to buy… and yes, I would like to buy one very much, please!
In that video, John is helpful and charming — and you begin to wonder how the musical genius gets embedded in the immature manchild — and if there can ever be a reconciliation of opposing psyches and a carving, self-defeating, behavior that will help re-seal the persona as one.
Are we allowed to like the music of the man while being repulsed by the childish behavior of the boy?
Before John became — “The John Mayer” — he often spoke of an innocence he planned on never losing. He refused to drink or do drugs. He only wanted to create great music.
Then life happened, and fame became him, and he started smoking marijuana and, according to John, Jessica Simpson “changed his values” — what a powerful statement about a single individual — and the genius in the man became lost and tainted by the meandering, everyday, mind.
John began to blog. He began to Tweet. He gave a raucous interview to Playboy that brought down the John Mayer House of Cards and he’s been in recovery mode ever since.
To remedy his offensive statements, and to admonish the boy back into the man, John has lately repeatedly and publicly recanted and apologized — without excusing his behavior to trying to shade the meaning in his ugly, spouted, truths — and he started to disconnect his public persona. He deleted his Twitter account and its 3.7 million followers and is backing away from his website blog in an effort to retreat and heal and get back some emotional private perspective previously spent in the wilds of public braggadocio.
How do we handle a talent like John Mayer? We can’t love the song and loathe the man — and accepting the brute belittles the briar patch he so conveniently tended for his own benefit.
If we are ever able to get beyond the insults and the ridiculous $20 million wasted on a watch collection — do we really want to enjoy John Mayer’s music again — or has his previous public behavior so sullied any song he might want to sell us in the future that we cannot forget or forgive or fork over our money in protest?