John Mayer’s Regrets

His big mouth nearly ruined his career.  Now, in his first major inter­view in two years, he swears he’s a changed man.

By Josh Eells

If you’re a slightly dam­aged rock star look­ing to show the world you’ve made a fresh start, you could do a lot worse than Par­adise Val­ley.  An absurdly pic­turesque cor­ner of Mon­tana not far from Yel­low­stone National Park, it’s where stars like Peter Fonda and Jeff Bridges come to decom­press in Big Sky splen­dor.  As of recently, it’s also the sec­ond home of John Mayer, who traded paparazzi and bot­tle ser­vice for a big stone-and-wood cabin on a 15-acre spread on the banks of the Yel­low­stone River, with a Land Rover in the dri­ve­way and a record­ing stu­dio at the top of the hill.

On a recent Sat­ur­day, Mayer stands in his new kitchen mak­ing a peanut-butter sand­wich, in a blue flan­nel shirt, art­fully weath­ered jeans and Japanese-designer moc­casin boots.  He bought this house from a local wildlife painter in Jan­u­ary, and he’s still in the process of mov­ing in.  In the mas­ter bed­room, clothes spill from a suit­case that’s still half-unpacked.  In the liv­ing room, framed pho­tos of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell lean against the fire­place, wait­ing to be hung.  Mayer, mean­while, is casual and unshaven, with a hair­cut that sug­gests he hasn’t been around a woman in a while.

Today is Mayer’s first inter­view since early 2010, when ROLLING STONE and Play­boy each pub­lished dis­as­trous inter­views with him.  In the lat­ter, the singer com­pared his ex-girlfriend Jes­sica Simp­son to “sex­ual napalm,” joked about hav­ing a “white-supremacist dick,” and tried to dis­sect the con­cept of a “hood pass” by using the word “nig­ger.”  The fall­out was swift: He was branded a misog­y­nist, a racist, a nar­cis­sist and, not for the first time, a douchebag.  At a con­cert on the evening that the Play­boy inter­view appeared, he gave a tear­ful, nearly five-minute, onstage apol­ogy.  “I quit the media game,” he said.  “I’m done.”

He approaches our inter­view almost like a ther­apy ses­sion — at one point reclin­ing with his head on a pil­low, lit­er­ally on the couch — and pauses fre­quently to ana­lyze how his answers will sound to the pub­lic, at the same time intensely self-aware and not at all.  Some­times, as when the topic of his 2010 inter­views comes up, he turns away entirely, star­ing at the cows at the dairy across the river, or at the river itself as it rushes past.  “It’s chang­ing,” he said, “all the time.”

First of all, how did you find this place?

I took a road trip with friends, and we stopped here to do some fly-fishing.  I loved it, so I called a real estate from the back of a mag­a­zine and gave her a bunch of key­words — “Sev­en­ties, Neil Young, old gui­tar, groovy, get­away.”  She showed me this place, and I was like, “Done.”

And you’re out here full-time now?

I still have my apart­ment in New York, but I”m here for the rest of the year.  I drove out at the end of March — the “Shadow Days” video was my trip out.  My stuff was in the back of that truck.  That truck and another truck.

What do you like about it here?

It’s just a mat­ter of not being in that world.  Not being in L.A., not being in New York.  You can have what I call a nat­ural mind.  I have a few win­dows that are shut here, so to speak.  Like, I have a no-TMZ rule.  When I get to the house, I want to just exist.

It’s been a while since we heard from you.  This is your first inter­view in more than two years.

I was just done.  I was shut down.  To be hon­est, I still want to be shut down.  But at a cer­tain point, you’re just feel­ing sorry for your­self and running.

Speak­ing of run­ning — let’s go back to the win­ter of 2009–2010.  Describe your head space.

I think what it comes down to is that I’d stopped appre­ci­at­ing the rar­efied air that I take up as an artist who means a lot to peo­ple.  I just turned into a punk.  The world of being a celebrity is emo­tion­ally very com­pelling and dif­fi­cult to say no to, and I jsut took on more nad more of it.  It’s always the moment before some­body breaks when they act the tough­est.  Your adren­a­line goes nuts and you go, “Bring it on,” and that’s when you’re 30 sec­onds away from devolv­ing into a ball of tears.

And that’s where you were?

I was hold­ing up the walls for a while, but it was just a mat­ter of time.  There were peo­ple in my life who said, “I love that guy, but I don’t want to be any­where near him when that goes off.”

What was hap­pen­ing, exactly?

I had a gam­bling addi­tion with people’s opin­ions of me.  When some­one says, “I don’t like that guy,” I like to sit down and talk to him, and make sure he’s not mis­un­der­stand­ing me, and some­times you can save it.  So it only makes sense that I would scale that up to a mil­lion.  And as soon as I’d get it back to even, I started mak­ing big bets again.  What I didn’t real­ize was that one of the best things you can do is walk away.  I’ve arrived at some­thing that I wish I’d known a long time ago, which is that I have to let peo­ple not respect me.

Do you remem­ber what was going through your head while you were doing those interviews?

I was just per­form­ing for myself.  If there was an ele­phant in the room, I wanted to ride it.  But all peo­ple said was, “Look at that idiot on the ele­phant.”  I remem­ber dur­ing htat ROLLING STONE inter­view being really para­noid, think­ing, “I know what your’e try­ing to do to me, and I won’t let you do it — I”m going to do it to me.”  That’s a guy who needs to take a break.

You mean talk­ing about mas­tur­bat­ing and look­ing for “the Joshua Tree of vaginas”?

Any­thing like that.  If I’d said, “My par­ents just got divorced; I’m get­ting ripped apart in the tabloids; I’ve got peo­ple hid­ing in my bushes; and I do’t know what’s up or down,” that would have been more com­pelling than any bravura com­edy act.  Or try­ing to be Tracy mor­gan, giv­ing you rock­ing quotes about sex.  It’s like any bad comic: You get ner­vous, and you bomb.

But you’re not a comic.

Yeah.  I guess maybe I was arro­gant.  But at that point I was run­ning with a lot of comics, and I just started think­ing like one.  I would hear some­one do a stand-up act, and then I’d go, “I’m gonna say the f-word a lot.  I”m gonna do bits.”  I don’t know if that’s intel­li­gent or just the stu­pid­est thing I’ve ever heard of.  Not every­thing is a riff.

Tell me about the day the “Play­boy” inter­view came out.

It was a Wednes­day in Feb­ru­ary.  I was in my hotel room in Nashville.  There was a Chi­nese restau­rant out­side the win­dow, and the call came in, and I remem­ber star­ing at the restau­rant sign while some­one said, “This is a really big deal.”  It’s like in a movie when the explo­sion goes off but you don’t hear it — it just goes black.  It’s the com­plete inverse of “You’re nom­i­nated for five Grammys.”

At that point did you still think, “Oh you’re over­re­act­ing, it’s not so bad”?

Yeah.  You’re just try­ing to stop your­self from implod­ing.  You’re hop­ing you can charm your way out of the sit­u­a­tion.  Charm your way out of peo­ple being — I don’t know about offended, but…

Oh, I think peo­ple were def­i­nitely offended.

I don’t want to tell peo­ple what they should have felt.  But for about five min­utes there, I thought that I could dis­arm the situation.

By apol­o­giz­ing?

By not back­ing down.  Just bar­rel­ing through.  I don’t know.  It was crazy.  I’m never going to be able to give you a one-to-one ratio of thought to action.

So those inter­views came out.  And then what happened?

I got the shit kicked out of me.  I got sort of dis­owned.  But the sub­se­quent crash — which some­times I call “the mar­ket cor­rec­tion” — kind of ripped me out of a cul­ture that I didn’t have the strength to exit myself.  It’s almost like Stock­holm syn­drome.  And I never would have known it if it hadn’t sent me spiraling.

What was going on in your head around that time?

I remem­ber just feel­ing like every­one was made at me.  Like if I was at a party, no one would come up and shake my hand.

Was there a time when you thought it was all over?

Yeah.  I was becom­ing irrel­e­vant — and I needed to become irrel­e­vant.  I told myself, “What­ever you’re left with, you’re not going to com­plain about it.  Your life will go on — but the party’s over.”

Did you see a therapist?

I had one already.  Obvi­ously his role became more inte­gral.  He’s in L.A., so a lot of it’s by phone.  But it’s nice to have some­body just to be a witness.

Who else did you talk to?
Very few peo­ple.  As much as it hurt — and it hurt a lot — I don’t think any­body wanted to take me off the grill.  But ulti­mately it was one of the best things that ever hap­pened to me.  You come to the end of your twen­ties and start becom­ing an adult, and you need to shut off the com­puter to install the new soft­ware.  I wasn’t going to fix the sail on the boat at sea dur­ing that storm, you know what I mean?

I think so.  But you were 32 at the time.  Shouldn’t you be an adult by then?

I think that for me, age 32 was 28 with four years of “I’ll get to it in a minute.”

And this was what it took to make you an adult.

I could have con­verted with about half of that [laughs].  Peo­ple don’t under­stand — when you screw up, and you feel that wave of energy of a mil­lion peo­ple say­ing, “Shame on you” — 20 min­utes on that grill is enough to change your life.  The body is not equipped to han­dle neg­a­tive energy from so many peo­ple.  What’s the Kanye West line?  “There’s a thou­sand yous, there’s only one of me?” I think about that a lot.

I’m not sure that’s what Kanye mean by that lyric.

It’s not.  But that’s the great thing about lyrics: You can take them how you want.

Yeah, but that one is Kanye say­ing to a girl, “How can you refuse to sleep with me, there’s a thou­sand girls like you but only one Kanye West?”

Well, now he has me to thank.  Because I just made it deeper.

It’s inter­est­ing to hear you bring up Kanye, though.  You guys had sort of a sim­i­lar situation.

I think about Kanye a lot.  He cried, I cried.  We don’t keep up much, but I feel a kin­ship with any­body who came up in the early 2000s.  Like, maybe Norah is Bon­nie Raitt, and I’m Neil Young…But I’ll say this about Kanye.  I think we were both mas­ter­minds with a vision, and we ran out of runway.


Kanye started out mas­ter­mind­ing every­thing.  Design, art — he was a one-man show.  And then all of a sud­den you have all these peo­ple call­ing you a douchebag, and you real­ize you don’t have a plan to make peo­ple stop hat­ing you.  So you dis­ap­pear for a while, reassess everything.

You also shut down your Twit­ter account.

I real­ized that the over­all feel­ing of my days was start­ing to drift.  I was day-trading — it was like open­ing an E*Trade account when you’re con­stantly keep­ing track of how you’re doing.  I wasted a lot of time on Twitter.

I’ve often won­dered if Twit­ter rewires your brain.

It does rewire your brain.  When I got off, I remem­ber really quickly get­ting my RAM cache back, hav­ing deeper thoughts again.  Being able to write verses — before, I was just writ­ing lines.  I made the record I made because I didn’t have any leaks in the pipe.  I kept all the cre­ative water pres­sure mov­ing toward the record.

Eric Clap­ton also said some­thing about you that kind of pre­dicted all this.  He said, “I think he becomes too caught up in being clever…He’s a prime sabo­teur, and he will do him­self in, if every­one lets him.”

The truth hurts.  But it’s also a very lov­ing state­ment, in a way.

Like, “Hey, kid.  Get it together”?

I really want to share this.  Early on in the cri­sis, I had to get on a bus after a show.  Th TV was on — it must’ve been PBS — and it was Ornette Cole­man or Eric Dol­phy or some­thing play­ing.  And I just thought to myself, “What would my heroes think?”  Grow­ing up, those guys kept me com­pany.  I must have fallen asleep lis­ten­ing to Char­lie Parker’s “Now’s the Time” a thou­sand times.  And then it’s Black His­tory Month, and you get on a bus and see John Coltrane with his eyes closed, play­ing “Impres­sions,” and you go, “What did I do to these guys?  What did I do to what these guys mean to me?”

Well, what about the African-American peo­ple you actu­ally know, like your friend Buddy Guy, or your drum­mer Steve Jordan?

Um…I don’t want to get into that.  I”ll live with that for the rest of my life.  But, yeah, I hurt peo­ple.  I remem­ber meet­ing this beau­ti­ful black girl who loves my music and who wants me to apol­o­gize so she can con­tinue to love what I do.  That’s not lost of me.  I fully took the lessons.

Did you make any per­sonal apolo­gies?
Yeah.  I don’t want to get into that either, but I did.  And I kind of want to leave this part of the con­ver­sa­tion, if I can.

At this point, Mayer excuses him­self to go to the bath­room.  When he returns, he says he’s ill — dredg­ing up these mem­o­ries has made him feel like he’s going to throw up.  We agree to meet the next day.

The next after­noon, he picks me up at my hotel and we drive to a cafe.  There are looks of vague recog­ni­tion when he walks in, but oth­er­wise, no one pays much attention.

I really want to become a part of this town,” Mayer says.  “But you’ve got to assim­i­late your­self slowly.  So right now, if some­body wants a pic­ture, you can absolutely have a pic­ture.  I say yes most of the time, because I have a greater appre­ci­a­tion for people.”

Mayer orders a BLT and a cup of black cof­fee, which the three teenage wait­resses take turns mak­ing sure is never empty.

Mayer says he spent the rest of last night feel­ing pretty bad.  “I’d never told that story to any­one who wasn’t there.  And then I thought, you know, ‘It might be uncom­fort­able, but I can’t carry worry about the recep­tion.”  I moved to Mon­tana, did an inter­view, and wanted to move even far­ther away.  That means there’s some­thing I need to turn around and face.

I ask if he thinks he’s done his penance.  “I don’t know,” he says.  “I go from being overly con­trite to overly flip, and I don’t want to be either.  Some things in life are just a knot you’re never going to get out.”  Today, he says, he’d rather talk about the future.

So tell me about the new record.

I’d been wait­ing since the begin­ning of 2010 to reboot every­thing.  Some­where in the mid­dle of the last record cycle, I knew I had not made an endur­ing record.

What wasn’t endur­ing about it?

I just don’t think it was done.  And I think I do great work when I’m fueled by a cer­tain inno­cence, and that was gone.

Musi­cally, or because of your celebrity?

I think they’re linked.  I’d stopped chang­ing amp tubes.  I’d stopped A/B-ing gui­tar cables.  I stopped get­ting my hands under the hood.  By the time I got into the stu­dio [in New York] in Octo­ber, I said, “I’m gonna write some bad songs.  I’m not gonna edit myself.”  Some of them were bad — but I started get­ting that mus­cle back.

How were you writing?

I wrote on my type­writer.  I would go home and write at least three pages of lyrics.  You can’t see what you’re typ­ing, so it’s this feel­ing of anonymity with your ideas.

I heard this was a pretty heavy time for you: par­ty­ing a lot, writ­ing hungover…

I wasn’t par­ty­ing.  But I was drink­ing.  There was some­thing ther­a­peu­tic about wak­ing up with a part of my head that wasn’t crit­i­ciz­ing me.

Were you going out?  Drink­ing alone?

I’d go to bars with friends, or drink in the stu­dio.  And then I’d wake up and take out my gui­tar and lay on the couch and write.  I don’t remem­ber being depressed.  It was about being able to write with­out crit­i­ciz­ing myself.  I was in that strange, beau­ti­ful place where the chem­istry in your brain is, like — your enemy isn’t home.

I wouldn’t do it again, because my body can’t take it.  I used to be fine by 1 p.m.; now it’s two days.  But I feel like I lived this really authen­tic New York musi­cal vibe.  I’d go to the bar, have a beer and a shot of Jame­son, and walk down Mac­Dou­gal Street in the Vil­lage, just wav­ing to NYU kids.

The Free­wheelin’ John Mayer.

Absolutely.  I have no prob­lem say­ing that.  I wanted to touch a lit­tle of that.  I wanted to rub the belly of it, and I did.

We started record­ing in May.  And it was a great run.  I would come home and feel really lonely, because some­thing beau­ti­ful just took place but there was nobody around to say, “Wow.”  I started think­ing that I wasn’t all bad.

One thing I want to ask you about is the dis­con­nect between “pub­lic you” and “record you.”  In con­ver­sa­tion, you’re smart and funny and com­pli­cated.  But on your records, every­thing is very straight­for­ward and earnest.

Well I’m a lot less funny now.  So maybe every­thing is back to nor­mal.  But I think I’ve earned the right to write a really dumb lyric if I want to.  I’ve estab­lished a base line — if I wanted to use a bet­ter rhyme, I would have.  I don’t have to prove to peo­ple that I can turn a phrase.

I’m think­ing about songs like the new one, “Shadow Days, with a line that goes “I’m a good man, with a good heart…”

It felt wrong to say “I”m a good man” after what hap­pened.  But that’s what makes it kind of beau­ti­ful, too — say­ing it and mean­ing it.  I know I”m a good per­son.  If I’d put that out in May of ’10, it would have been reviled.  But two years is enough time to believe in mol­e­c­u­lar change.

What about that line in “Speak for Me,” where you say, “Now the cover of a ‘Rolling Sone’ ain’t the cover of a ‘Rolling Stone’?”

I was in the stu­dio, read­ing that issue of ROLLING STONE with Snooki on the cover — the one where she was rid­ing a rock.  To be hon­est, it wasn’t even about her, bea­cuse you could look at ROLLING STONE cov­ers since the begin­ning and there was always the equiv­a­lent of Snooki on a rocket.  But I flipped through it and I felt a lit­tle lost — like, “Who my age can I model myself after?  Who’s around that I can say, “I’d like to be more like that guy’?”  I meant it more as a fan than as a guy who’s actu­ally ben on the cover of ROLLING STONE.

There’s another song called “The Age of Worry,” where you sing, “Build your heart and army/To defend your innocence/While you do every­thing wrong.”

That song was like a let­ter to myself.  It’s me using the role of song­writer as soother, actu­ally car­ing about the cul­ture of unhap­pi­ness and cyn­i­cism.  Of peo­ple not enjoy­ing their twen­ties.  I had my twenties.

I’d say you had the shit out of your twenties.

Elton John and I were in the same stu­dio for a minute, and he had this line — he said, “You did your bit.”  I did my bit.

How do you think you’re dif­fer­ent now as an artist?

I think all the words I wanted to shy away from at the begin­ning of my career, I now want to be.  Earnest.  Sen­si­tive.  Singer-songwriter.  I would love to be Jack White — or maybe I want the peo­ple who like Jack white to also like me.  But I”m the guy who writes beau­ti­ful music at 85 beat per minute.

Do you think there’s still a place on pop radio for that?

No.  And that’s really hard for me to say.  I”ll prob­a­bly never be in the Top 10 again.  Let­ting go of hits is really, really hard.  But I want to age grace­fully musi­cally.  I look at my cat­a­log almost like the devel­op­ment of a human being — it was a cute lit­tle kid, and then it had pim­ples for a while, and then it became a cool adult.

This was a big moment for me; I was sit­ting at a restau­rant, and they were play­ing either John Mayer Pan­dora or Cold­play Pan­dora.  And my song would come on, and I’d go,” That’s a really beau­ti­ful son.”  And then Jason Mraz would come on, and Jack John­son, and Cold­play.  And I said to myself, “You know, this is not bad company.”

You used to say you were afraid you’d meet your soul­mate and she wouldn’t want any­thing to do with you.

I dis­agree with that now.  My behav­ior is no longer a lia­bil­ity.  And there are plenty of excep­tional women.  I remem­ber talk­ing to this girl at a restau­rant, and she was really rough on me.  She walked out.  And then she walked back in and said, “I”m sorry.  Let’s start that again.”  And I had so much respect for that, you know?  I can’t cal­cu­late how much I bother some­one.  But I’ll find some­body who will understand.

Do you think you could find her in Montana?

Maybe.  But I haven’t had a girl­friend in a long time, and I”m OK with that.  I am fully hurtable right now.  I’m not a weaponized ver­sion of a man.  In my twen­ties, I had weapons-grade charm.  Now I feel like I”m extremely sen­si­tive and open to love.  I can’t help it if the wom­an­izer thing still floats around.  I mean, how can you be called a wom­an­izer if the last time you were actu­ally with some­body was 2009?  I don’t think a wom­an­izer is some­one who hasn’t dated a woman in three years.

When was the last time you went on a date?

2009?  I don’t know.

What about Tay­lor Swift?  In her 2010 song “Dear John,” which she’s implied is about you, she sings about being “played by your dark, twisted games.”

What is that in ref­er­ence to?  Bring­ing that up?

To you being a womanizer.

Oh.  That’s one thing I lit­er­ally don’t have an opin­ion about.

Opin­ion, fine.  But how did you feel when you heard it?

It made me feel ter­ri­ble.  Beaucse I didn’t deserve it.  I’m pretty good at tak­ing account­abil­ity now, and I never did any­thing to deserve that.  It was a really lousy thing for her to do.

You mean the sen­ti­ment or the way it was delivered?

Both.  I never got an e-mail.  I never got a phone call.  I was really caught off-guard, and it really humil­i­ated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down.  I mean, how you would you feel if, at the low­est you’ve ever been, some­one kicked you even lower?

What about the things she’s singing about in the song?  Like how “I was too young to be messed with”?

I don’t want to go into that.  But I will say as a song­writ­ing that I think it’s kind of cheap song­writ­ing.  I know she’s the biggest thing in the world, and I”m not try­ing to sink anybody’s ship.  But I think it’s abus­ing your tal­ent to rub your hands together and go, “Wait till he gets a load of this!”  That’s bullshit.


The restau­rant man­ager comes over to say there’s a polit­i­cal event start­ing soon, for the local chap­ter of the Tea Party.  “We should go,” Mayer says, sup­press­ing a grin.

Back at the house, we sit on the porch and Mayer opens a cou­ple bot­tles of IPA.  He’s sup­posed to be on tour, but he head to can­cel because of a throat prob­lem.  Last year, he was diag­nosed with a gran­u­loma, a blis­ter near his vocal cords that’s exac­er­bated by singing and talk­ing.  He had one surgery, but it didn’t take.  Some­time in the next few months, he’ll have another.

It’s dis­ap­point­ing not to tour,” Mayer says.  “The band sounded so good.  We were on some Grate­ful Dead shit — really deep.”

So how does one get a granuloma?

I’m not sure how I got it.  But it just kept grow­ing.  I did a lot of ther­apy, like anti-acid-reflux, and it didn’t work, then I went on vocal rest.  No alco­hol.  No spicy food.  No talk­ing.  Most of Sep­tem­ber I wasn’t talk­ing at all.  I’d have a blue­tooth key­board, and some­one would have an iPad to read what I type.  I had to point to menus at restau­rants.  Peo­ple look at me like I’m crazy.

So In Octo­ber I had the surgery.  Then they inject Botox into your vocal cords.  I want to be care­ful about that, because I don’t need to see on the Inter­net, JOHN MAYER GETS BOTOX — I had Botox on my vocal cords.  But I didn’t get enough so now I’ve got to do the surgery again.

Con­sid­er­ing all that’s hap­pened, does the fact that you were lit­er­ally forced to shut up strike you as kind of poetic?

I can see how for other peo­ple it might be quaint.  But I’d already fig­ured it out man.  I’d done the home­work and then some.  I could have learned the same lessons with a quar­ter of the consequences.

Yes­ter­day you said half.

I’m say­ing a quar­ter now.  I’m going eas­ier on myself.

So what has changed in your life?

I just don’t think I’m sup­posed to be in people’s faces all the time.  I don’t care what I think about Amer­i­can Idol or Auto-Tune.  I don’t Google news-search myself.  It gives you this sense that the whole world is think­ing about you, when really it’s just, like, the Hin­dus­tan Times and a mommy blog.  I’ve learned that peo­ple don’t care.  The paparazzi weren’t in the bushes because I’m “super­star singer-songwriter John Mayer.”  It was about the situation.

You mean Jes­sica Simp­son, and Jen­nifer Aniston…

Yeah.  I made it about me.  Sud­denly they were my paparazzi.  Peo­ple were like, “Dude, — no.  I like some of your songs.  But get out of the frame.”  Peo­ple got upset I con­sid­ered myself in, like, the top 10 male celebri­ties or some­thing.  It’s like, “No, you’re the guy I lis­ten to when I make omelets.”

But that’s a lit­tle disin­gen­u­ous.  At this point, you are a celebrity.

Yeah.  But it’s not a bad thought to have.  If I was some­body who didn’t like me, I’d like to read me say­ing that nobody cared.

Do you feel like you’re 34 now?

I really do.  It’s been an inter­est­ing and vio­lent coming-of-age, but I appre­ci­ate where I am.  Get­ting out was the hard­est part — but stay­ing out is easy.  That’s why I got this place.  So I could live a life-size life.

How do you plan on fill­ing your days?  Back­pack­ing?  Fly-fishing?

Wake up in the morn­ing.  Get a cup of cof­fee, make break­fast.  Go to the gym.  Then just drive up the hill to the stu­dio, take the care to work.  Even­tu­ally I want to make records for other peo­ple here, too.  Every­body wants to work with Adele, but so do I.  I told her, “If you ever want to write together, I do a mean Track Six.”

And if we see you on TMZ in a month, com­ing out of some club…

It’s reduc­tion­ist to say you’re either liv­ing in Mon­tana or liv­ing it up at a club.  Yeah, maybe I’ll go out at cou­ple of nights in L.A.  Run my hands across the lock­ers, have fun with my friends.  But then I’ll get on a plane and come back here.  And I’ll go to Albert­sons and fill up my fridge, turn on the lights, sweep the floor, and I’m here.

And you’re not wor­ried about get­ting sucked back into the world?

I had the same dis­cus­sion with my ther­a­pist.  Say I’m at the Gram­mys, and there’s an after party.  There’s a girl giv­ing me atten­tion, and it’s intox­i­cat­ing.  But there’s a plane to Mon­tana wait­ing on the tar­mac?  What do I do?  What I’m learn­ing is, I’m going to be all right either way.  Because I’m a dif­fer­ent per­son.  Now I’m think­ing about who I’m going to put in this house.  I’ve got a room with two twin beds, and children’s books between them.

You bought children’s books?

A very resource­ful inte­rior designer bought them.  I wrote this song that didn’t make the record called “Sweet Unknown.”  There’s a lyrics I love: “If you want to be free, you’ve got to go it alone/And if you want to go home, you’ve got to build your own.”

You built your home.

I’m ready, man.  I spent two years not being thought about, and now I have a hard time want­ing to be thought about again.  I wouldn’t mind being for­got­ten about right now.  And to be honest…I think it’s kind of cool.  I think it’s kind of cool not to be around.

Source: Rolling Stone (tran­scribed by IOMNJM)