Several of the interviews he gave during his last tour showed a less than favorable side of his unique personality. In fact, I liked him a lot less because of those words even though I could still appreciate the brilliance of his music. Apparently so did a lot of other people, including some current and former band mates. After some public apologies, things calmed down a bit but he wisely let his music do most of the talking, hoping silence would start to repair the damage done.
More recently, I heard he was working on a new album and he always drops off the radar for a while during that process. Up until a few days ago, he had plans for two upcoming concert performances, both of which I was dismayed I wouldn't be able to attend.
When I read the news this morning that he's been diagnosed with a throat condition, it knocked me back a few steps. John Mayer doesn't have the most perfect singing voice in the world, but no one else sounds like him. Imagining the thought, even for a second, that his voice would be silenced was unbearable.
Then I heard this song on the car radio during my drive to work, and the floodgates opened and tears steamed down my face.
You see, John Mayer is not just another musician to me. He's been a huge part of my life for the past 10 years, ever since Room For Squares came on my radar. Since my first show at The Gorge in 2002, I've seen John in concert 25 times. I've cruised the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans with him. I followed him around the entire state of California for two weeks in 2006. I have three scrapbooks full of concert tickets, print interviews, photos and memories.
I became a huge fan because of that voice, and especially because of the lyrics he sang. He was the first songwriter that spoke to me as if he knew my life, understood my joy and pain, and knew my every desire ("I'll never let your head hit the bed without my hand behind it..."). And he put them all in words and set them to beautiful music.
As I was trying to find a Kleenex and not wreck the car, another thought struck me that gave me hope. Music can speak volumes without words. John already knows that.
As long as John Mayer has his mind and his heart, he'll always have a voice. And I'll always be listening to what he has to say. In the meantime, I'll be waiting patiently to hear him sing again.