John Mayer says his 'Shadow Days' are over
May 22nd, 2012
08:26 AM ET

John Mayer says his 'Shadow Days' are over

John Mayer scoffs when asked about an "unnamed source" who claims his new single, "Shadow Days," was written as an ode to his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston.

"It's weird because I've never told anybody what a song is about, literally," the seven-time Grammy winner explains to CNN. "There's no sources because no one ever asked! At no time writing the song did the engineer say, 'What's that about?' At no time did (producer) Don Was look at me and say, 'Hey Johnny, what's that song about?'"

But if you listen to the lyrics, you'd realize "Shadow Days" isn't about a woman. It's a mantra from Mayer to himself: "I'm a good man with a good heart/Had a tough time/Got a rough start."

"I think people are under the impression that I sit down with a pen, and I stare off at the wall and I say, 'Someone's going to get it.' And that's not how songwriting works," Mayer says.

"I was singing and strumming the guitar, and I remember singing, 'I'm a good man with a good heart,' and it was really interesting to hear it sung, because it's not arrogant to say that, you know," he continues. "And then I thought, 'Well, if you're going to say that in a chorus, you better explain why you're able to say that. You better explain in your verses why you deserve to say you're a good man."

When Mayer recorded his new album, "Born and Raised," people weren't quite sure where he fell on the "good man" scale. After all, there was that cringe-worthy interview he gave to Playboy in 2010, where he managed to insult everyone from African-Americans to former flames Aniston and Jessica Simpson. In one disastrous diatribe, he went from Grammy-winning Golden Boy to Public Enemy No. 1.

"Shadow Days" documents the soul-searching that followed that fall from grace.

"I think it was an okay time to have a little perspective on myself," he admits. "I think that's probably the only time I did, or will, sort of just write about that crash, that sort of violent awakening into adulthood by way of really embarrassing - now embarrassing - behavior."

Some may call it poetic justice, but shortly after his words were unleashed in print, Mayer suddenly lost the ability to sing or speak. He developed granuloma - nodules near his vocal cords - that had to be surgically removed. As soon as he finished up the new record, the granuloma returned, and he was told he'd need a second surgery, which he still hasn't brought himself to schedule yet.

"I think in singing the record, I lost the ability to sing. Again. Because I sang the record, I wasn't able to go on tour. But if I'd gone on tour, I would have had to cancel two weeks in. I aggravated it again," Mayer explains.

At the moment, he's a singer who can't sing, with a new album he can't promote on tour.

"It's up to the record to kind of speak for me, or tour for me," Mayer says quietly. "Maybe it's kind of cool to find something and not have it jammed down your throat. Who knows?"

These days, you won't find Mayer living in New York or Los Angeles. He sold his homes on both coasts, and has moved to a small town in Montana. His wardrobe consists of jeans, boots and a custom-made felt hat straight out of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." His dark, bushy hair brushes his shoulders. Life is less complicated, but at 34, Mayer prefers it that way.

"Where I am is where I should have always been, which is a singer-songwriter who's not looking to dominate the world," he says. "Let someone else try to think they can beat the game. I watch people do it and I totally understand where they're coming from, and I go, 'Okay, well, I don't want to be the guy to tell them they can't do it.' So I'm going to keep watchin.' I know what he's TRYING to do."

In the meantime, he keeps to himself, sharing his thoughts with his guitar.

"I'm going to make another record. I may have to sing differently - quieter or something, maybe in a different voice," he muses. "Or write the songs with a croaky voice, and then come back and re-do the vocals in a week, six months after the surgery. But I'm OK. I want less of the world than I ever did."


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  2. rTravis

    I did him.

    November 22, 2013 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rachel

    Ugh I love John! I actually just got tickets to see him live in Minneapolis. I've heard incredible things about this tour! Expecting big things on the 23rd :)

    November 21, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
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  13. Kimberly

    John Mayer is an amazing musician. He apologized for his silly comments right after he said them and he has apologized numerous times since then. His fans believe him. We do not hate John for this we hate the media for making this out more than what it had to be and we hate the media even more for taking him away from us and making him feel like he had to go into exile. We want John back and the media should go into exile.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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    May 25, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. T.rex

    Ironic, because the only person on the planet i dislike more than him, is actually Jennifer Anniston!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Teddi

    Yeah right! He's humble now because he had a life lesson. Sometimes that's all it takes...

    May 24, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  17. Big Mama Pie

    I think John Mayer is blessed with a fabulous voice. I also believe God taps us on the on the shoulder sometimes to remind us where our talent originated. He's a young guy who acted like a pompous ass during a less than mature time in his life. He was at least perceptive enough to eventually realize that he acted like a spoiled goofball. Good for him. I hope he continues to pull all the strings together and continues on with a fabulous career. Everyone deserves a second chance. I hope he gets it.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  18. anna

    He calls himself a singer – he is joking, right? Awful voice!

    May 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Singer/songwriters are story tellers. The voice is secondary to their ability to tell their story in a convincing way. Dylan's voice is not the best, but it is perfect for the stories he tells. Nobody claims Tom Waits has a beautiful voice, but it is a great vehicle for the stories he tells in his songs.

      September 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  19. MeinNJ

    Who?

    May 23, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  20. Sally

    John Mayer-please be "good to us too" and stop subjecting this society to your arrogant and downright awful personality. He is truly awful. When it's not about him...it's about him. Not a direct quote from John Mayer, but what his might be really saying–"no, it's not about a girl, it's really about me, and how great I am, and how good of a person I am.....so, like me again, please, because my ego misses you." Gag. I'd rather eat s** and die than purchase a John Mayer album. He has talent, I guess, but there are plenty with more musicians out there with less talent and a good heart. I'l put my money on them. John Mayer-YOU ARE FIRED due to a desirability factor that reached sub-zero temperatures.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  21. dustjackets

    I am not a John Mayer fan but, nevertheless, cannot ignore his out of this world talent with the guitar. Anybody who Eric Clapton voluntarily jams with "Just for fun" free of a stage or a recording studio must be worth their salt when it comes to how they manipulate those 6 strings. Nobody says you have to like him, but don't lump him in with the other talentless teen idols of the early 2000's – as Ben Franklin once said, "homeboy got skills"

    May 23, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  22. Polly

    If you don't like John Mayer, then why are you watching a video about him and wasting your time making nasty comments about him? Don't rain on everyone else's parade, go watch a video you like and keep the nasty comments to yourselves.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • myself

      Agreed,some ppl are nasty.I like your comment.John Mayer is cutie in a booty.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  23. Lizard King

    I think we'll be working until we 're dead and will never get social security

    May 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  24. @Leon David

    Stop be a cry bady d!ckhead. Lossen up, stop being a tight a55 and have fun with the comments.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Cow Palace

    @Robert, if you do, can u put that on video? I would love to see that. That would be a record breaker and better than Tommy Lee and Pam Anderson.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Jim Dandey

    Dude, your 15 minutes of fame are over too; go away...

    May 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  27. honeybunn

    I can respect a man who comes back and oplogize for his wrong during.He still keeps in touch with Jennifer . she has forgiven him a long time ago. I still think regardless of what the writer says. this is a song about his breakup with jennifer aniston. I think she is the only women that meant something to him. although she is in a relationship with justin she will always stay in touch with John mayer. she loved him too. John don't give up we don't know what the future hold for us.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  28. yoshimoto

    I hate this guy – he is so conceited and yet he really is not that talented – thinks he can play guitar like Hendrix – that girl that was on his tour blew him away.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • davidb23

      not that talented??? have you ever heard or seen him play something other than early 2000s stuff? clearly not, Mayer is one of the most influential guitarists of the last 10+ years. If you take into account his commercial success, he brought blues into the limelight because people would pay to see him no matter what he played. not many musicians out there have that kind of pull

      May 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • nancheska

      Of course he aint' Jimmi. Nobody is! That doesn't mean he can't play a mean guitar!

      May 23, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  29. Jada01

    Least...sorry typo.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Jada01

    John Mayers talents Out weigh any harsh comments he made. He`s human we all goof at the mouth at some point in time at leasy he recogonized his wrong. Love ya John stay focused on the road ahead.

    May 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • allaboutbuff

      That still doesn't excuse him for blatantly ripping off Bob Seger in Shadow Days... I am shocked that he hasn't been sued already, it is so obvious.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Robert

    I'd bang Jennifer Aniston back to the stone age, given the chance.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  32. FLUSH LIMP BALLS

    Who's John Mayer?

    May 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Lindsey

    Good for him! He is amazing at what he does. I find it funny how people take offense to things he said about other people. He is human, and admits to having a past foot-in-mouth problem. At some point we all lack that little filter between our brain and our mouth. I read the article and was not offended at all. He is a musician, and could be doing far worse. It was a playboy interview so its not like any young fans had the ability to read it. He could be out shooting up heroin and driving drunk into people's homes like other famous musicians. His biggest issue was a few poorly chosen words. So comments about karma coming back at him are ridiculous! I love his music and find it refreshing that he has a new outlook on life. Moved to a small town and is taking time for himself. Good luck to you Mr. Mayer, and I look forward to all of your future albums as I have never been dissapointed in any of the others.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Dave

    yeah he's been a jerk. BUT, he was right about Aniston, she's dumb and looks like a Horse.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • honeybunn

      You are the ass hole that need glasses. If horses look that good they would rule the earth.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Marco

    You people that are comparing John Mayor to Chris Brown kill me,two different scenarios John insulted a gender and race of people.He doesn't have to like my kind but he should've kept his mouth shut,and the filthy things he said about one actress was unforgivable.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carrie

      At least he never hit anyone!

      May 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingersrule1

      You are saying that black men think its okay to hit women and you don't have a problem with that. You do realize that don't you? With freedom of speech you have the right to say what you want and not get in trouble for it. Beating someone up is taking their freedom away. Talking crap just makes you sound dumb but does no damage. Chris Brown deserves to have his nuts chopped off and his girl should have gotten jail time for continuing to go back to him after he beat her. Rhianna is an idiot.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ross

      AWWWWWWWWWW SHADDUP already – loser!

      May 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jen

    I agree he said some pretty inappropriate and offensive things. But sometimes it takes making a big mistake to grow in life and I don't know anyone who hasn't said or done something they've really regretted. Of course he'll have to face the consequences of lost fans and I'm sure money. But he's human.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Kevin

    I don't listen to Chris Brown and I won't listen to this guy. What he said was offensive and everytime I hear his voice I think of what he said. He insulted the very people who were suporting him. We all make mistakes and we all pay for them. His payment is the loss of fans...at least this one. As far as I am concerned he can stay in the shadows.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • AhSo

      Goodbye, have a nice life. Don't forget to polish the halo over your head every now and then.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      what he said was in poor taste – (if you are referring to the Playboy Interview)

      However, there was some merit to the statement. They asked him if he thought he had a 'hood pass' and he said no, if he had that much credibility it would be called an N-pass – which really is a valid point. He may have musical respect but the African American community doesn't look at him as one of their own. Again expressing his comments about his female preferences, again poor taste, but too much was put on the word and not enough on the context. This wasn't an interview with CNN or Rolling Stone eve, it is Playboy, it is risque by nature.

      May 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  38. AhSo

    Can't wait to hear the new songs; I know I will not be disappointed. Mayer is talented, period.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  39. fauxbacon

    if people can forgive and continue to buy Chris Brown records, certainly people can do the same for Mayer...he is owning up to his actions and is understanding about the fact that he disappointed a lot of people, unlike Chris Brown who throws tantrums when he isn't being welcomed back into the industry with open arms. hope everything works out for you John, way to step back and learn a little bit about yourself...

    May 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  40. John Travolta

    I love your new cowboy outfit John. Will you touch my scrotum?

    May 22, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  41. cog in the wheel

    I enjoy John Mayer's music, he's a wonderful guitarist. I'm sure he's popped off, saying things he shouldn't, offended friends and fans. Don't care...we all make mistakes (if I was called on the carpet for everything I've ever said...yikes :-) Great music. Hoping he's able to produce more of the same, and can lay back and enjoy life too...

    May 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  42. Warren Buffet

    I am worth 40 Billion dollars and still collect Social Security, call me a Patriot.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • se123

      Sorry to inform you but you are not receiving social security there's a cut off. Nice try though

      May 22, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Alicia

      @ se123, Warren Buffett is 81 years old. He was born in 1930 so that would make his full retirement age (FRA) 65. So yeah, he can be collecting SS benefits and making billions of dollars. There is no earnings limit after FRA.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Kendara Anne Geraldine Urkowitz

    Will miss the big TOAD.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  44. David Whitesell

    Warren Buffet is a Fat Joke and could replace Mayer.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  45. Leon David Peris

    We would really miss him.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  46. Leon David Peris

    Let us watch our commnets.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  47. Tanya Y.

    Karma John,that big mouth of yours got you in trouble in the first place and then you got f ucked.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  48. Diana Rodrigues

    2nd! :D

    May 22, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  49. 1st!

    :)

    May 22, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |

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