For the three music fanatics in the John Mayer Trio, it's rare to have a conversation without getting a little geeky with the music talk.
Take this exchange, for example, in response to a question about the band's upcoming live album:
"I don't know how we'd do in the studio," Mayer said. "I mean, I do because we're working on my record, but if we were making a John Mayer Trio record in the studio, it would be only fair to play as a trio and not overdub. That's what I think would be the rule."
"Well," drummer Steve Jordan interrupted. "The Experience overdubbed."
"That's true, but he didn't call himself the Jimi Hendrix Trio," Mayer replied. "If he had called himself the Jimi Hendrix Trio, I'd like to think that my hero, Jimi Hendrix, would have held it to a trio. And if it wasn't a trio any longer, he would say."
Regardless, John Mayer Trio's first album will be a live one. Due November 22, the LP will be recorded Wednesday and Thursday at Chicago's House of Blues. The group — which also includes bassist Pino Palladino — did make it into the studio, however, to record its first single (presumably without overdubs). "Who Did You Think I Was" and B-side "Come When I Call" were released Tuesday, exclusively at the iTunes Music Store.
Gus Van Sant, director of films including "Good Will Hunting" and 2005's "Last Days," helmed the video for "Who Did You Think I Was," due later this month.
The Trio, meanwhile, just launched their sold-out fall tour, which wraps up in October with three East Coast dates opening for the Rolling Stones (see "John Mayer Gets His Wish, Forms Blues-Rock Trio").
"If you're the Rolling Stones, you have to really be thinking of yourselves like gods now because the people who open for you are the like the people who have the biggest careers in music now," Mayer joked, referring to a roster that includes Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas.
"They're going to get the deli tray with like the vegetables and then in the center is that terrible ranch dip. Pearl Jam is going to walk into a locker room that smells all spicy 'cause some basketball team was in it the night before, and all they're going to have is a bag of Tostitos and like a Coke, and it's going to be like, 'Congratulations. Love, the Rolling Stones.' ... The Rolling Stones go, 'Get me the Black Eyed Peas,' and then the Black Eyed Peas show up and they can't even get black-eyed peas on the rider. 'You will sit here in the visitor's locker room, and you will wait until the Rolling Stones call you onstage. You will have 14 minutes to play. If you go one minute over, you will never play again.' "
On the trek, the John Mayer Trio are playing new tunes, covers and some of Mayer's solo tracks.
"There's a sound we want to put across, and it's all a matter of finding the best tunes that are going to put it across," the singer/guitarist said. "There's more than a couple of the tunes that I've already written that have gone on my records that will probably surprise people, because I think there's more of a gritty core to some of these tunes than have been put on the records.
"The thing that's so exciting to me is there's no game plan," he continued. "This is the equivalent of the last day of school .... and I hope school's always out. I never again want to approach my life by way of buttoning myself up and getting ready for 18 months of this [album] push. It's just playing, and it should always be just playing. And that's what this band is really about right now, and that's the fun part."
As he mentioned, Mayer has also been recording his next solo album, which will likely get a 2006 release.
"People don't really have anything to call their collectible band anymore," Mayer said. "And I'd like to establish something in my career where you go, 'OK, I like the stuff that Mayer puts out. Maybe not song to song, but endeavor to endeavor, I want to collect what he's doing. I want to collect these shows or these experiences."