By now, you've probably read and/or heard about Mayer's instantly infamous Playboy interview, in which he used the N-word and made sexually charged references to famous exes Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson.
Mayer quickly apologized for some of the comments he made in the interview, which also featured comments about black women and his " 'hood pass" that many have perceived as racist, including a number of prominent rappers. "I think it's time to stop trying to be so raw in interviews," Mayer said after the fact. "It started as an attempt to not let the waves of criticism get to me, but it's gotten out of hand and I've created somewhat of a monster. I wanted to be a blues guitar player. And a singer. And a songwriter. Not a shock jock. I don't have the stomach for it."
Indeed, the Playboy interview wasn't the first time Mayer has said outrageous things or the first time he's talked about not being able to stop himself from making potentially offensive comments. In October, Mayer sat down with MTV News' Tim Kash and decried what he described as the "hatrix," a fake Internet world of hate in which people criticize and put other people down. "People don't like things that [are] purposely shocking," he said. "They start to feel abused by it. ... People are really concerned with what other people are saying about them."
While blasting the tabloid media that covers him and confidently saying his songs will last well beyond the gossip rags' outrageous stories, Mayer said fans don't need to worry about the effect those reports have on him. "All the things that play out in the media were, most of the time, by a choice I made in my life," he said. "You make a choice in your life, and it affects your life in all the ways, good and bad."
In a cover story in January's Rolling Stone magazine, writer Erik Hedegaard tackled head-on the insular world Mayer inhabits, titling his story, "The Dirty Mind and Lonely Heart of John Mayer," with the subtitle, "He has everything a 32-year-old man could want. So why can't rock's biggest playboy shut up and enjoy?"
What followed was six pages of Mayer's stream-of-consciousness ranting, in which the reader learned that the "Daughters" singer has a $20 million watch collection, owns a bulletproof vest, can't resist "poop Twitters," believes he has "masturbated [himself] out of serious problems" in his life and describes how even in his sex dreams, he has to stop his virtual mate from grinding on him because he's distracted by a phantom paparazzo. These were all very personal, TMI-style utterances that the average guarded modern pop star would never reveal.
"I don't know how much further I can do this before I'm a dead body on the side of the road," he said. "I mean, either I'm a total f---ing nut case who can explain himself, or I'm really not crazy and I can explain myself. I don't know yet."
If nothing else, Mayer is conflicted, at once painfully aware that he talks way too much, but seemingly unable to stop. "I have these accidents, these mistakes, these self-inflicted wounds, and then I tear my head to shreds about it for days," he said about incidents such as the Playboy debacle (it's unclear if he completed the men's magazine interview before or after the Rolling Stone one). But, after a few days of reflection, he said, he typically decides he can't just be quiet. "I don't want to detach. I don't want to go live in a gated community. So I will continue to make these worldwide dignity mistakes as often as it takes to not make them anymore."