John Mayer is predicting a “laid back” kind of summer when he hits the road June 1 for a nine-and-a-half week continuation of his “Continuum” tour.
“I’ve gotten older and learned how to have a little fun and stop taking myself so seriously all the time,” Mayer tells Billboard.com. “I have this idea for a summer tour that’s really relaxed and less a display of musicality and more like a conversation. I just want to take off all the pressure and play as loose as I can.”
After the summer jaunt — which includes a stop at the July 7 Live Earth show at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and an appearance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival on July 28 outside Chicago — Mayer plans to hunker down on his next album. He’s been working on material but says it’s “too early” to talk about any of it — except that he definitely feels self-generated pressure to raise the creative bar yet again.
“I’m not the guy who wrote ‘Continuum’ working on my new album; I’m this guy named John trying to put together a record to express how he feels,” Mayer explains. “There’s no tenure in songwriting. You start from the beginning every single time.”
What remains uncertain is whether the album will be a solo effort or a John Mayer Trio affair. “I’m not sure yet,” he acknowledges. “I have a couple of ideas for both. So I’m not sure how I’m going to do it. I think I’m just going to record the tunes first, and then see what’s up. But I would like to do a trio studio record. That’s probably next.”
The album will come out, he adds, “whenever it’s great — the same thing I said with ‘Continuum,’ and that took two years. I’m just trying to get a better record out of me.”
Mayer shares that philosophy with Alicia Keys, who he’s been working with on songs for her upcoming J album. He says they’ve “done a few things,” but it’s not yet certain what will ultimately appear on the album — which has no timetable yet, either.
“She’s such a great artist that she may have 20 things better than the stuff we did,” Mayer notes. “If (his contributions) make it, that would be great. If it doesn’t, I don’t have any hard feelings. May the best songs win.”
Additional reporting by John Benson, Cleveland.