John Mayer happy with blues

DAVID SCHMEICHEL - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 4:59 AM ET

John Mayer must have himself one helluva To-Do list.

At the ripe old age of 29, the doe-eyed rocker has already released a slew of acclaimed albums, racked up an impressive five Grammys, and collaborated with the likes of Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Buddy Guy.

He’s evolved from a breathy soft-rocker to a sought-after blues guitarist, while somehow finding time to squeeze such non-musical pursuits as comedy, fashion design and journalism into his busy schedule.

Oh yeah, and while he doesn’t share details of his personal life with the press, he also happens to be dating one Jessica Simpson — all of which makes it a safe bet that as Mayer approaches the Big 3-0, he’s got little to complain about.

“Absolutely,” he agrees from Montreal en route to a show tonight at MTS Centre. “I mean, it would be awful to say that I wasn’t (happy), because I know there would be a lot of people lining up behind me to say, ‘If you don’t want it, I’ll take it.’ ”

While he’s probably best known for lite-FM staples like Your Body is a Wonderland and Daughters, on his most recent album — the Grammy-winning Continuum — Mayer continues to indulge the inner bluesman he awakened while touring with his side project the John Mayer Trio.

While seen as contrived by some, he says the move from pop-rock to blues was about challenging himself.

“The only plan was that I needed to be stimulating myself musically,” says Mayer, who recently found himself on the cover of Rolling Stone’s New Guitar Gods issue alongside blues-rocker Derek Trucks and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante.

Besides, the venture led to the aforementioned collaborations with Clapton, King, and Guy, though Mayer — who’s also worked with Kanye West and Common — says he’s still intimidated by such pairings.

“I’ll always be, and that’s the way it should be,” he laughs. “There’s a pretty defined pecking order, and I know where I stand in it.”

When he’s not releasing best-selling albums or working with icons, he can be found expanding his horizons by writing pieces for Esquire, designing T-shirts and sneakers (sold at his shows), and performing stand-up — a pastime he claims helps him write better.

“It’s like if you think about those libraries with the ladders connected to the wall,” he says. “Your goal is to be able to access anything at any time.”

Though he says he’s done with comedy for now, he doesn’t appear to be through with his tabloid-friendly girlfriend. While we’re not brave enough to ask him a direct question about Simpson (the last guy who tried that got a cryptic answer in Japanese), we did wonder how he deals with the heightened scrutiny.

“I guess I don’t go about dealing with it, period,” he says. “To me, the only way to defend a private life is to just not engage that ... to just leave that whole thing alone.”

Tickets to Mayer’s show are $45.50 and $65.50 @ Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.ca or 780-3333).


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