John Mayer: ‘I was sort of horizontal before anyone else went horizontal’

Audemars Piguet Beverly Hills Celebration

John Mayer is a legend in his own mind. We already knew that about him, that if you speak to John Mayer, he will tell you how brilliant, how legendary, how special he is. He has a new interview with GQ Style and I wish I could even describe how much I enjoyed this piece. It’s so… niche. It’s all about clothing and fashion and his obsessive collecting habits. He collects everything from expensive watches to vintage luggage to vintage t-shirts to special sunglasses and more. He sat down with GQ Style and this is how they describe him: “He’s wearing Visvim boots, a white gold Rolex, and rocking what he calls ‘autumn sunrise’ highlights in his hair.” That may be the most perfect sentence in the English language.

At the end of the day, this interview increased my hate-respect for Mayer. He’s not really a legend, but he’s a bright guy and I love it when public people fly their freak flags proudly. Mayer is Peak Hipster, but I feel like he can’t help a lot of it – he has an obsessive, collecting nature and he’s lucky that his habits are so wholesome. He blows most of his money on stuff that will likely increase in value over time, so he’s actually making smart investments. You can read the full piece here. There are parts of it that are so Kanye-esque, I actually did a double-take. Some highlights:

His obsessive interest in certain things, like watches, sneakers, t-shirts: “Always had it. And I met really cool people when I began to extend beyond music. I met [Fragment designer] Hiroshi [Fujiwara] in Japan. Then Hiroshi would come to New York and I’d lend him an acoustic guitar. Then I’d go to Japan and Hiroshi would take me out. And then Hiroshi introduced me to [Supreme founder] James Jebbia. Eric Clapton was also in the mix, he walked me over to [now-closed streetwear boutique] The Hideout in the UK. And that really turned me on to it—’cause I’ve always had this collector mentality. I got very interested in fashion and how it connects with ambition to just go deeper into a world.”

He was horizontal before horizontal was a thing: “It’s only different if you look at the genre of music as the definer of what culture you can be involved in. I mean, I was sort of horizontal before anyone else went horizontal in terms of just breaking down the barriers. Because I was always far more interested in stuff other than the scope of music that I made. And so if you take the musical genre partitioning away, then none of it’s all that strange. It’s just that I don’t necessarily connect my interest in fashion to the main event of what I do musically.

Literalism is dead: “The new metric is your level of balancing different tastes, creating your own tastes out of them. Literalism is dead. Literalism is gone. Even the literalism of Free & Easy magazine, like, going head-to-toe with it, or Supreme head-to-toe. Literalism is easy now because all you have to do is click follow on an Instagram account and it’s a subscription to a certain amount of cultural influence. So the real question—or the only question I’m interested in—is how do you implement that in a way that’s authentic. And you can even push the boundaries of authentic, right? Even authenticity is up for debate.”

He feels good right now: “It’s my job as an artist is to never complain. Artists should never complain about other art. You just shouldn’t. And I’m only making 12 songs every couple years. That doesn’t take up most of my time.”

His t-shirt obsession: “So like I was just saying, I just DM’d this guy on Instagram, and he said he had 20 of these shirts that go up tomorrow at 9:00AM, and I’m excited—if he told me that he didn’t have an extra and that it would be unfair, theoretically, I would set an alarm. I’m into setting alarms, man. I’m into refreshing the site until it goes up and then grabbing the large, shoving it into the cart, and then checking out before someone steals it out of the cart. That excites me more than the idea of going to a Mercedes dealership. I’m into t-shirts now like you have no idea. They’re evidence of people’s creativity that you can wear. And when someone gets it right—when they really nail it—it’s killer.

His Grateful Dead t-shirts: “I must have a couple hundred. And again, in terms of not being too literal, I don’t wear them on the stage with the band, because it’s too on the nose. But where I’m interested in making it click is wearing it where you don’t normally see it. That’s what makes it so interesting. Like, Future wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt. That’s where hip-hop is so smart right now. Hip-hop understands exactly what we were talking about, how to defy literalism. I just saw Big Sean wearing a Rick and Morty t-shirt. That’s great. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Hip-hop’s always been that way. A lot more than rock and roll. And to me, it just represents freethinking. I love freethinking, and the people that I look up to are free thinkers.

[From GQ Style]

This interview literally goes on like that for like five pages. How is it that no one has put John Mayer and Kanye West in a room together with five articles of clothing and let them just talk to each other for hours as they nit-pick the clothing, brag about their fashion visions and their music and try to one-up each other? That’s the reality show I want. In case you can’t figure out what Mayer means by this whole “literal” and “horizontal” part of the conversation – I took it to mean that he feels like he was one of the first guys to go “horizontal” in that he has always had a wide array of interests – in fashion and obsessive collecting – that stand side-by-side with his musical career. The “literal” thing is, I believe, Mayer saying that he doesn’t want to dress in a costume or uniform when he’s on stage, or as part of some kind of rock star persona. He’s not going to hang out in leather pants and a Pixies t-shirt because that would be too “literal.”

Oh, wouldn’t you know? Mayer did send some love to Kanye, his brother from another mother.

Wishing a Happy 40th to Kanye, one of the most gifted people I have ever known. Here's a story I'd like to share: Years ago, while we were both in the studio together, he stood in front of me and performed a song he had just finished writing. He rapped the whole thing while playing the instrumental track on a laptop he had clutched in his arm. He was way too excited about what he had created to have the patience to concern himself with any disclaimers or false humility. It was just "listen to what I did." He knew he had one, in an ongoing streak of tracks that got better with each one he finished. I remember taking in both how incredible the track was, and how big a force he was. A guy and some laptop speakers hitting you like a laser beam. The track was "Gold Digger." And I think about that moment as a metaphor for everything he does. He was given the gift. He interacts with it like those scenes in Spider-Man where Peter Parker first discovers he can shoot webs. It's exciting and intoxicating AND YAH, maybe there would be some extra webs around stuff that didn't need it. You'd do it too. In a time where we tend to celebrate the birthdays of those who are no longer with us, I say LONG LIVE KANYE WEST. CARRY ON, SIR. 🙏🏼

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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43 Responses to “John Mayer: ‘I was sort of horizontal before anyone else went horizontal’”

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  1. Giulia says:

    The Depp douche fumes are wafting off him in that top pic.
    Is he a hoarder?

  2. Alix says:

    Five pages of that blather? Oh Lordy.

  3. jjj says:

    Now imagine it’s a woman talking about being obsessed with collecting shoes. It would end up in Cosmo..

    Also, he has so much money and is obsessed with collecting stuff… that’s kinda sad. He could be collecting so many amazing experiences that are out of reach of most people. I’m getting rid of most of my stuff and it’s been very freeing. I’m done collecting clutter.

  4. smcollins says:

    Dude likes to talk. A lot. He really is a very talented musician, though, and he’ll be the first one to tell you so. So yeah…talented, but a total douche.

    • Seraphina says:

      Agreed. Someone should muzzle him when he’s not singing.

      • Alix says:

        An acute case of logorrhea. Or, as my sister always put it, “oral diarrhea”. (Sorry to those who are eating breakfast as they read!)

    • minx says:

      Yes, and it pains me because he looks like a beloved nephew of mine.

  5. Sixer says:

    Yes, well I’ve got a gigantic collection of junk mail because I’m too lazy being work free and lying on the sofa reading my book to take it to the recycling box. That’s what I call horizontal, bozo. It’s authentic because I have labelled it (in my horizontal mind) as an ultraprecise curation of early 21st century ephemera.

    Is that word salad-y enough to win the Mayer vs Sixer wankstain joust?

    • Alix says:

      But Sixer, are you a freethinker? He looks up to freethinkers, and people who express their creativity through t-shirts without being literal about it, because literalism is dead, you know? Also, what natural phenomenon best describes the color of your highlights? Autumn sunrise? London fog?

      • Sixer says:


        Um… I am not so freethinking that I fart my thoughts out of my bottom as this one clearly does, but I can confirm to you that my highlights are skybluepinkwithpurpledotsandacherryontop.

        Because I refuse to be bound by colour.

        Will that do?!

      • frisbee says:

        No, it will only do if your farts ALSO smell of Roses and waft forth on a zephyr of doves and baby unicorns spewing forth thoughts that are both profound and beautiful embedded in thought bubbles created from pink fluffy clouds. Now THAT would do.

      • Sixer says:

        I wonder if I could cross-topic Celebitchy and have my thoughts portentously delivered by flying Elvi?

      • frisbee says:

        Yeah but only if they are flying Elvi surrounded by fluffy white chickens being catapulted off the back of tiny, made to measure drones – which completely off topic – I recently decided would be totally suitable for THE WEDDING.

      • lightpurple says:

        My highlights are springdawnsoftdewbright and my thoughts shoot out of the tips of my long fingernails. I think we’re in need of some choux pastry swans with fudge. Delivered of course by Flying Elvi riding a herd of pegasus. Or pegasi? What would the plural be?

        ETA: I am collecting potato chips from a bakery on the cake that sells them at farmers markets in Boston. Okay, I am hording them. They are addictive and once Thanksgiving comes, I won’t be able to get them without going to the Cape so I buy them in bulk every week now.

      • Sixer says:

        There is no way that John Mayer can compete with any of this.

      • lightpurple says:

        True. I believe Mayer has met his match in us celebitches. Now, will he write a tell-all song about us?

      • I Choose Me says:

        LMBAO. Oh man, I love you guys. Sixer et al, you guys have made my day infinitely better.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Unless Eric Clapton walks you over to Muji to buy some horizontal acrylic recycling boxes, you do not win this one! Seriously, how do you expect to put that sh*t on Instagram without the Muji boxes?

      (Full disclosure: I own the Muji boxes. I own all the Muji boxes. Because I’m currently curating my beauty collection for posterity. In my own mind, I’m a major influencer.)

      • Sixer says:

        In my own mind, I’m Supreme Matriarch of the Universe and Mr Horizontal is my chariot wheel licker-in-chief.

        It’s as good a reality as any, right?

  6. Reef says:

    I will always have a soft spot for John Mayer because Room for Squares helped me get over my first love. Gonna just put my hands over my eyes and “lalalallala” the insufferable garbage he spews.

  7. detritus says:

    I’m so sorry, but I’d still hit it. Autumn Sunrise highlights and all

    • Casey says:

      +1 forever and ever, don’t care what i’d catch from him. i have a thing for tall, dark and egotistical genius.

    • I Choose Me says:

      *Looks around carefully, leans in to whisper* Me too.

    • Turtle says:

      I would, too. God, help me, I would. I’d have to pretend to give a sh*t for too long afterwards, until I could sneak out, but I would. And “Autumn Sunrise” highlights is a “Ghost” movie reference, right? Props for that.

  8. Bobbysue says:

    This man is a menace.

  9. frisbee says:

    Oh Yea Gods, in Britspeak, what an unmitigated pile of old bollocks. Haven’t got the patience or time to actually read this crap, skim reading the highlights was bad enough.

  10. What's Inside says:

    Wonder if he and Kanye share the same psychiatrist?

  11. Pansy says:

    I literally didn’t understand one thing about that interview.
    Except that he’s a hoarder.

  12. Wow says:

    I use to really love his music but ever since he said those derogatory comments about black women and his penis I stopped giving him any support. I refuse to buy his music.

    He’s extremely talented but my money won’t be a part of making him richer anymore.

    • Asiyah says:

      I always took those comments as him being salty that maybe a few Black women he’s liked haven’t liked him in return. That’s why I think he’s King F*ckboy LOL

      (please note that I still think he could be a racist. Not saying he isn’t at all)

  13. FishBeard says:

    Makes crappy music with dumb lyrics to match his dumb face and subpar voice. But even all those qualities might be tolerable if his personality wasn’t boring at best and hideous at worst. He’s like an amplified soft rock Timberlake. Lol, can you tell I’m not a fan?

  14. Emilyvan says:

    This reality show is a must. From celebitchy to the producers of Surreal World, make it happen. They can also bitch about that snake Swifty.

  15. Anon33 says:

    This dude is soooooo not original. There is a Friends episode where Jeff Goldblum plays a pretentious actor that Joey is working with and he tells him something about “what you’ve been giving me is horizontal, let’s explore the vertical.”

  16. JeanGenie says:

    He’s that overly confident guy in your philosophy class who dominates every discussion… until he gets a low grade on his first paper, then drops the class.

    • Asiyah says:

      YES! LOL

      And he only dominates because he’s loud and obnoxious, not because he’s profound lol

      • JeanGenie says:

        you’ve got it! meanwhile, the smartest person in the class is a quiet woman who starts every insightful comment with, “This is probably stupid, but…”

  17. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    He’s so smarmy…. Just shut up and slew your song.

  18. Mar says:

    I am a huge Dead Head and I can’t hate him if they chose him to play with them.

  19. Happy21 says:

    The only thing that I have heard John Mayer say that does not toot his own horn is a tweet he posted awhile back:
    “Jason Isbell is the best lyric writer of my generation. He lives at a level where even great writers can only visit.”

    Everything else is about how amazing he is. I just can’t with him. Even if he loves Jason Isbell.

  20. Asiyah says:

    “he’s lucky that his habits are so wholesome. ”

    Really? He sleeps around because he considers women to be part of his collectibles. That’s far from wholesome.

    I dated a Mayer type. Yes, they are smart but not as smart as they think or portray. What they are is very good at hiding the things they’re completely clueless about, which is most things. And they tout their own horn because they truly hate themselves. But if it came down to it, they’d love themselves before they’d ever love others. Their love is limited.

  21. Electric Tuba says:

    His closet is a wonderland lol

  22. Anare says:

    Sorry. Could not finish this post after the bit about going horizontal. A legend in his own mind, indeed. Why did I even start reading this post? I know better. Ugh. Cannot with this derp.