John Mayer has regrets.
In a new interview with The New York Times, the singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso is candid about his self-proclaimed “downfall” several years ago, when he seemed to partying and drinking hard and he gave questionable interviews.
In a 2010 interview with Playboy, he described his male anatomy as “a white supremacist” and compared it to former KKK leader David Duke, and used a racial slur. In another interview with Rolling Stone, he described his sexual habits in lurid detail. Both generated their share of controversy.
“What has to happen for a guy to believe that he’s totally well-adjusted and be that far out of touch?” Mayer told The New York Times, looking back at those eyebrow-raising moments. “My GPS was shattered, just shattered.”
By way of explanation, he says that back then, in his early 30s (he’s now 39), he wanted to veer away from the image of a “clichéd rock star,” but along the way, “I started to invent my own grenade.”
Now he’s decided to “drop that major.” But he has returned with new music and hopes for a hit in the new single, “Still Feel Like Your Man,” which harks back to his older soft-rock, sexually charged hits.
“I remember thinking to myself, O.K., I’m going to basically come out of retirement from blockbusters. It’s a choice to write pop songs, just like it’s a choice to write blues songs or folk songs. Let’s write the big ones that we are capable of writing,” Mayer said.
The singer remembers thinking a few years ago: “I’m a young guy. I like girls. I want girls to like me. I want to make music and be thought of as attractive. I was finally ready to re-enter that world and grow back into it.”
The new music “moves and throbs and has women in it again,” as Mayer says, though the single may also be a touch too easy-listening in a pop environment that is about as brash as ever.
Mayer says he’s stopped drinking. He also credits his work playing guitar with Dead & Company, which includes members of The Grateful Dead, for getting him on the right track.
“The feeling of inclusion that I have with this band – they saved my life,” he said.