“I GREW UP A LONE WOLF IN MY BEDROOM PRACTISING MY GUITAR. ALL I EVER REALLY CRAVED WAS A COMMUNITY”
Total Guitar|September 2021
When John Mayer joined Dead & Company – featuring members of the original jam band, the Grateful Dead – he got a kick out of being a team player. And by honouring the legacy of the late Jerry Garcia, he found a new dimension to his playing.
Ellie Rogers

John Mayer’s discovery of the Grateful Dead happened by chance. In 2011, while listening to random suggestions on Pandora, he heard the Dead classic Althea, and with that he fell hard and fast. Taking a deep-dive into the band’s vast back catalogue, he became a committed ‘Deadhead’, leading to a remarkable chapter in his career.

The first evidence of the Dead’s influence on Mayer came with his 2012 album Born And Raised and 2013 follow-up Paradise Valley. Both albums marked incrementally intensifying departures from polished pop, with Mayer doing and playing exactly what he pleased. And both contained subtle but abundant Grateful Dead influences.

Queen Of California, the opening track from Born And Raised, was in tune with the folksy, acoustic numbers that abound on the Dead’s two albums from 1970, American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead. In the second verse from Queen Of California, Mayer also made a reference to Neil Young’s After The Goldrush, before a lengthy pedal steel-driven outro took hold over a bedrock of Dead-esque repeating chords.

Another connection was made in this album’s title track. Jerry Garcia - the founding member and de facto leader of the Grateful Dead as vocalist, lead guitarist and principal songwriter - had played pedal steel on the song Teach Your Children from Déjà Vu, the first album featuring Neil Young in the 70s supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. For the song Born And Raised, Mayer had David Crosby and Graham Nash on backing vocals.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TOTAL GUITARView All

Johnny Marr - “He Was Ahead of His Time”

How Johnny Marr blazed his own trail, by Dave Keuning of The Killers

4 mins read
Total Guitar
April 2022

“I Need to Raise My Own Bar...”

Every guitarist wants to play better – and Joe Satriani is no exception.

4 mins read
Total Guitar
April 2022

MY RIGHT HAND IS ALWAYS MOVING WHETHER I HIT ANY NOTES OR NOT!

Funk master Cory Wong is all about the groove. But on his new album with Vulfpeck, he's also rocking out. As he says: "I got to be a little more Eddie Van Halen!"

10+ mins read
Total Guitar
March 2022

“Let's Go As Hard and Fast As We Can!”

Hardcore cult heroes Turnstile are poised to be one of the breakout bands of 2022. Guitarist Pat McCrory discusses their “emotional” return to playing live– and how to experiment without losing your edge...

9 mins read
Total Guitar
April 2022

Johnny Marr - “It's My Sound. I F*cking Invented It. I Can Use It As Many Times As I Like!”

Johnny Marr is an inspiration to countless guitarists. In a major new interview he discusses his entire career – from The Smiths to his latest solo masterpiece. And also included in this 20-page TG special: how to play like Marr, with three classic Smiths riffs to learn, plus exclusive interviews with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante, Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield and The Killers’ Dave Keuning on the genius of Johnny...

10+ mins read
Total Guitar
April 2022

Writing a Guitar Solo Is Like Writing Another Song

Joe Newman has led alt-J to worldwide success, but has always focused on songwriting first-guitar playing second. Until now...

10 mins read
Total Guitar
March 2022

Writing a Guitar Part that Ends at an Irrational Point Is Quite a Challenge!

Yard Act are the most talked about new band in the UK. Guitarist Sam Shjipstone and singer James Smith reveal the origins of their unconventional post-punk sound

5 mins read
Total Guitar
March 2022

Everyone's Personality Is in Their Phrasing

He plays heavy with Black Label Society and Ozzy, but Zakk Wylde is inspired by the emotion in blues and "pentatonic insanity" of jazz fusion

4 mins read
Total Guitar
March 2022

“WE BUY EACH OTHER PEDALS FOR BIRTHDAY PRESENTS!”

The Lazy Eyes are Australia’s next great psych-rock band. Guitarists Harvey Geraghty and Itay Shachar reveal the secrets of their mind-bending sound...

6 mins read
Total Guitar
April 2022

“MY JOB IS TO SING, PLAY GUITAR AND MAKE THE AUDIENCE FEEL SOMETHING”

Blues sensation Joanne Shaw Taylor loves being back on the road. She only gets nervous when she plays for friends – like Joe Bonamassa...

6 mins read
Total Guitar
April 2022
RELATED STORIES

GUITAR GOD MAYER HAS JEN ON STRING!

MAN-HUNGRY Jennifer Aniston has been showering ex-lover John Mayer with health and diet tips, hoping to lure him back into her arms, sources say.

1 min read
Globe
December 13, 2021

OLD LOVE

On his new album, JOHN MAYER lives out a very specific rock ’n’ roll fantasy: “What if it’s 1988 and I had had a band in the late ’60s through the ’70s, and now I’m my age in the ’80s and people are handing me these things called chorus pedals?” The result is Sob Rock, a highly polished, extra-“generous” studio offering that slyly channels the guitarist’s high-school–days guitar gods — including Journeyman-era ERIC CLAPTON

10+ mins read
Guitar World
October 2021

JOHN MAYER'S Blues Chops

In this exclusive feature Milton Mermikides breaks down John Mayer’s impressive blues techniques and musical concepts, to show how they can inspire and supercharge your own playing.

6 mins read
Guitar Techniques
December 2021

¿HACIA DÓNDE VA EL INTERIORISMO?

Desde siempre, la visión hacia el futuro del diseño por parte de los creadores tiene que ver con el marco histórico y cultural que se atraviesa y cómo todo esto afecta las necesidades de una persona en el tiempo y el espacio.

3 mins read
Ambientes
Ambientes 132

GLASS HOUSES

In a six-story building in the centre of Munich, Michael and Petra Mayer run — and reside in — one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated architectural glass and mosaic ateliers.

6 mins read
T Singapore: The New York Times Style Magazine
January 2021

John Mayer

This month Phil Short checks out the bluesy side of a super-successful songwriter, singer, popstar, and bona fide guitar legend.

2 mins read
Guitar Techniques
Spring 2020

Saurer's Path-breaking Innovations @ ITMA

Saurer Group is a leading globally operating technology group focusing on machinery and components for yarn processing. As a company with a long tradition, Saurer has always been a leader in innovation. Today, Saurer comprises the two segments Saurer Spinning Solutions and Saurer Technologies.

5 mins read
The Textile magazine
October 2019

Hakim Hands Over Keys To Slum-Dwellers At Mayer Bari

KOLKATA: Mayor Firhad Hakim handed over keys to the slum-dwellers at the Mayer Bari project site in North Kolkata on Tuesday.

1 min read
Millennium Post Kolkata
September 04, 2019

Housing Projects For Slum Dwellers

Mayor to hand over apartment keys to 35 families near Mayer Bari.

2 mins read
Millennium Post Kolkata
September 3, 2019