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“I don’t have to think about how I play the guitar because the best is in the room and it’s not me”: John Mayer on the “comforting” experience of being in the same room as Jeff Beck

“I was relaxed,” Mayer says.

[L-R] John Mayer and Jeff Beck

Credit: Getty Images

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In a new interview, John Mayer looks back on a surprising moment with the late Jeff Beck that made him set aside his worries about being “the best in the room”.

“I’ve heard you in interviews, you said you saw Michael J. fox [as Marty McFly] in Back to the Future and you were like ‘okay I guess I’ll learn to do that’, and I think no that’s not how it happens,” host Conan O’Brien says of Mayer’s guitar journey in the latest episode of the Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend podcast.

“There’s something in you clearly that isn’t in other people and so in a way it relaxed me, ‘cause I thought I play the guitar because I find it kind of calming for myself and I try not to inflict it on too many other people but no, I did not watch you and say ‘Well I better really get at it now.’”

According to Mayer, O’Brien’s experience is one he certainly relates to. Sharing an anecdote about a time he, too, was “relaxed” the way O’Brien had just described, the musician says: “I was at a restaurant one night… and Jeff Beck was in the room.”

“And I was relaxed. I went ‘Oh, I don’t have to think about how I play the guitar because the best is in the room and it’s not me.’”

“I was comforted,” he adds. “I could finally quiet down this voice in my head I didn’t know was there, which is: ‘the best in the room is sitting over there, and it doesn’t have to be – it doesn’t have to maybe be me.’”

John Mayer, whose solo tour kicks off this March, recently addressed the future of Dead & Company in an interview with CNN.

Quizzed about the chance of a reunion with the supergroup, Mayer said: “I’m not at liberty to say just yet. But, have hope is what I’ll say. Have hope. Just like you should for all things in 2024.”

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