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The singer-songwriter tackles puns, working at Pier 1, and ''Back to the Future''

By Dan Snierson
Updated September 08, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
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John Mayer plays a mean guitar — but in a really nice way. The singer-songwriter/pop star/bluesman (and rumored Jessica Simpson beau) has just kicked off a tour in support of his new album, the soul-flavored Continuum, which hits stores on Sept. 12. Let’s toss a bunch of Stupid Questions onto the stage and see what happens.

As a teenager, you worked at a gas station. That explains the blues side of you. But which of your early jobs explains the thoughtful acoustic side?
I think working at a Pier 1 would do it.

Because of all the candles?
Because of all the female energy — all those girls about to get married. Really hard to pick up girls who are shopping at a Pier 1. They’re all on the registry.

Would you say that, on average, you use your celebrity superpowers for good or evil?
Never use them for evil. I’ve never once said, ”Do you know who I am?” Maybe if my leg was in a bear trap and the only person with a key was like, I don’t know, a big American Idol fan or something…but I’ve never used it to get out of a traffic ticket. I’d rather pay 200 bucks and show up in court than ever have to defend in my life having said, ”Do you know who I am?”

You wrote the hit song ”Daughters,” which won a Grammy, in the shower —
I did not win a Grammy in the shower. I did have to go to the Staples Center to pick it up.

Now, if you decided to write a song while doing the laundry, how would that turn out?
All my choruses would be summer fresh?

Has a fan ever created a pun using your name that was so awkward, it made you want to be non-famous again?
Well, there’s ”Mayer Me.” That’s neat. I mean, I know it’s not actually recognized by any governing state or jurisdiction…. Once, this girl had a sign that said ”Do Me,” but it was too close together, so I was like, ”What’s ‘Dome’?”

I’d like to quote you out of context. You may begin.
All three at the same time. All equally as snug.

You’ve said that Back to the Future inspired you to play guitar. So what did Back to the Future III make you want to do?
Write a tersely worded letter to Mary Steenburgen: ”Kids don’t like trains.”

You’ll be performing at a bar in the first episode of CSI this season. So, John…why’d you do it?
I don’t know what you’re talking about.

I’m talking about why you murdered all those people and then tried to cover it up, only to leave behind some cryptic microscopic clues that helped crack the case.
That’s episode 4, and they can’t find my fingerprints because I’m callused from playing guitar. But then they start matching the guitar strings, and they can tell from the pattern on the guitar string and my tattered calluses… I also like episode 5 — the story line is that the killer is actually in a guy’s beard.

If you could be the Mayer of anything in the world, what would it be?
I would be the Mayer of the Awkward High Five/Handshake/Hug. Every week I would update with a newsletter just how awkward it’s going to be for people: ”This Week in Awkward With John Mayer.”

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