“Come on, none of us are ever gonna hit it like that”: John Mayer names Stevie Ray Vaughan as his all-time top guitar inspiration

“Every time I see a clip of him playing on Instagram, I go, ‘Good God.’”

[L-R] John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan

Credit: Getty Images

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As guitarists, no matter how skilled or proficient we become, there’s always those musicians who play with a style we feel we’ll never reach.

Take John Mayer, for example. He’s one of the most successful guitarists in the world – with a set of chops any player would envy – but he’s acutely aware of his musical inspirations, and remains adamant he’ll never reach that level.

In a new interview with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, Mayer is asked who is “all-time favourite guitar player inspiration” is, to which he replies, without a moment’s hesitation: “I mean, legacy all-time favourite, Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

He explains: “I will still watch this guy on Instagram. I’ve seen him for years – you know, he sadly passed away many years [ago], but every time I see a clip on Instagram, I go like this, ‘Good God.’

“So, yeah, I repeatedly watch the same musician and go, ‘Come on, none of us are ever gonna hit it like that.’”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mayer picks both his least favourite album from his catalogue – which to date spans eight studio albums – as well as his top three.

On the former, he explains: “It’s the one I spent the least amount of time on. It’s only the least favourite because other ones were just more important to my life. I like some of the songs on this album but if I had to take one out of the discography it would be Paradise Valley [2013].”

“I think there are some good songs on it but I remember making that record because at the time I was being made to go on tour, and at the time I thought at that point in my career I should not go on tour without a record. So I kind of [thought], ‘Let’s make a record,’”

He continues: “I thought I was too young to go on tour without a record and be sort of a legacy act. So that record came together in about three or four months, but it gave me some really great songs I wouldn’t want to lose, but compared to the other [albums] that were a little more baked, I would take out Paradise Valley.”

On the three records in his discography he regards as “front-to-back perfect”, he lists, in no particular order, “Continuum [2006], Born & Raised [2012] and Sob Rock [2021].

“I know it looks like I’m saying my latest record [is great] but in terms of works that are complete from front-to-back, and there’s not anything I’d want to take off them – those three,” he says.

In other news, John Mayer recently announced an exclusive year-round SiriusXM channel, Life With John Mayer.

It’s described as a “musical experience hand-selected by the guitarist and songwriter and an ever-evolving world of music built from Mayer’s classics, collaborations and never-before-heard material blended in with the music he loves.”

John Mayer is currently on tour in the US, and will head to Europe in March next year. For a full list of dates, head to his official website.

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