John Mayer's naked guitar playing 6 other things we learned from his interview with Alex Cooper

John Mayer
(Image credit: Call Her Daddy / Spotify)

Alex Cooper's Call Her Daddy podcast had an unexpected guest on Tuesday (20 December): John Mayer. And he didn't hold back. 

While he talked dating as a celebrity and played a couple of his hits, there was also some revealing insights into his musician mind. And why he likes to play guitar after sex. 


With a little gut hanging over, sitting Indian-style on the edge of the bed. It’s nice!

“No, I do it after sometimes,” Mayer responded when Cooper asked him if he likes to play guitar before or after. “No, you should never play guitar to have sex with someone, but a little naked guitar playing after is very memorable.”

“With a little gut hanging over, sitting Indian-style on the edge of the bed. It’s nice!" continued Mayer, warming to his theme. "I like seeing the way people fold up all weird when they sit up. No matter who you are, you look weird when you sit up. And it’s cute.”

Ok, too much information? Well he doesn't do many interviews these days so luckily for fans, there's lots more that Mayer revealed in the extended chat. And not in a naked guitar playing way. 

So let's break it down. 

1. Your Body Is A Wonderland is about his first love

"That was about my first girlfriend," Mayer corrects Cooper about his muse for the breakthrough song, when she suggests it was about one of his celebrity girlfriends. "That was about the feeling, which was already kind of nostalgic. I was 21 when I wrote that song and I was nostalgic for being 16.

"I had never met a celebrity when I wrote that song," he adds. And he doesn't even know if his high school girlfriend knows he wrote it about her. Until now. "If you were my one and only high school girlfriend, that was actually about you," he says. 

"I don't write songs about people," he continues, immediately contradicting himself. "I don't write them for people or about people. I might use a relationship that inspires me to write something." 

2. The most important thing in his life are his songs

Not his watches, clothes or many-coloured Silver Sky collection. Mayer is beholden to the 'sanctity' of songs. "The most important thing in my life now are my songs," he says, continuing on the theme of why he doesn't usually reveal who might inspire specific tracks. 

When I go play songs now, I see people in the crowd and they're reliving their life

"So when I go play songs now, I see people in the crowd and they're reliving their life," Mayer explains. "It ain't about anyone but the people I'm singing to. It's now about their college years, it's about their sick family member who died, it's about their fight with cancer and how they beat it. These songs now for people are about these waypoints in their lives. They're not about any one person.

"The first three records in my life were just proving, and you should, and then you start hearing people say 'thank you, your music got me through a dark time.' That's so much deeper. I think everyone should have those 'prove it' years and enjoy them. Because I definitely did." 

3. He knows some people thought he was a douchebag

"I got the douchebag title a lot," Mayer acknowledges of his younger years and why some people may have seen him as obnoxious. "And I was trying incredibly hard. But I had been trying incredibly hard, from when I first started playing guitar, to get where I needed to get."

"I had this moment in my [late] twenties where I thought, 'This is where I belong, this is where I should be," observes Mayer later in the interview when he talks about consciously pulling himself back from the limelight in other areas to focus on music. "And obviously it wasn't because I didn't handle it very well. And so that all kind of shut down, and I got the chance to start it up again. And I haven't ever been happier in my life. I'm known for what I do."

4. He reveals the greatest thing about being John Mayer

It's not the money. It's songs again. "Where I am now, the greatest thing is any idea I have I can do," explains Mayer. "I feel like if there was a song idea I had for any musician in the world, I think I'd have a pretty good chance of them at least listening to it. 

"That's really interesting to me. That to me is the greatest thing. The songs I already have I'll take for the rest of my life. But also, any idea that I have, any musician in the world would go, 'I wanna hear what Mayer has for me.' So I feel that the idea that I could bring anything to light that came to mind, that's the greatest thing."

5. He writes songs about his anxiety

"That's where my first three records are from – they're about managing anxiety. Why Georgia, why am I f*****g here? Am I living it right?" Mayer asks, paraphrasing the lyrics to his song, Why Georgia. 

"There's a song Not Myself on the first record, that's all about having a panic attack in front of somebody; 'Would you want me when I'm not myself?' 

He also reveals he's had panic attacks on dates – "for a really long time I would resist going out with anybody because it would make me so nervous my stomach… it would be terrible."

6. The guitar makes him ok with being mega famous

"If I'm having a day when I don't like any of this stuff, I can pick up a guitar and listen to myself play and go, 'That's why you do it'," reasons Mayer. So the fact that it's all linked to something I do objectively well, that I can listen to; I can write a song, I can play a song, I can play guitar – that's what anchors me to all of this stuff. All of this is happening to me because I play guitar, write music and sing in a way that people want to pay attention to. 

"I can't imagine what this would be like if I didn't have that grounding element. And as I get older I have so much empathy for people who are really well know but don't quite have something to hold on to like a buoy. My life gives me this buoy, which is, I can write a song, I can play guitar." 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.