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John Mayer Smokes a Lot of Weed, Says the Grateful Dead Are the “Third Mask” of Existence

Boston MA 6/17/17 Dead & Company's John Mayer on guitar in concert at Fenway Park. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff) topic: reporter:

John Mayer is a busy man these days, touring solo between high-profile stints with Dead and Company, the revised version of the Grateful Dead he’s currently fronting. He’s also been doing surprise late-night gigs with his friend Dave Chapelle; most notably, the two collaborated on a tribute to the late Charlie Murphy in April. How does Mayer, godfather of Sheeran and Mendes, stay mellow and take it all in stride? It’s easy, folks: with weed.

In a new Rolling Stone interview published today, Mayer extrapolated on a comment he made recently in the New York Times about how he had been “very thoughtfully entering cannabis life.” Here’s what he had to say about ripping gravity bongs, smoking wax, and so on, discussing his weed use in relationship to past struggles with alcohol:

I put it where drinking used to go, and the quality of life has gone up considerably. Drinking is a fucking con … I was always the guy saying that I didn’t like altered states. Once you know who you are, then it becomes OK. I’m much more open-minded to small changes in consciousness. I remember every trip I ever took. I remember every thought I ever had when I laid there.

Oh, hell yeah. But this was not anywhere near as dank as what Mayer said about his experience of playing with the Dead, and how being a Deadhead himself has affected his consciousness and lifestyle:

When you hear “Scarlet Begonias” kick off, you’re not quite sure what it is, who’s playing what, or how it goes. It’s this glorious stew at the beginning. “Scarlet Begonias” is the epitome of a jam, and it just lifts you. We live in a world where there’s the comedy mask and the tragedy mask. It’s either good or bad. You’re either having a good day or a bad day. But then Grateful Dead music comes in, and it’s this other mask. It’s a third mask. If you get in a fight with a girl, you could either put on something that’s going to make you feel cheery, or you could put on Grateful Dead music, which takes you to a completely different place…It inspires you, and it soothes you in some way that it’s almost like hanging out in a biker gang of imaginary friends. It’s the gift of my life, to be able to play that music with that band.

It would be hard for John Mayer to follow that up with any quote that is even half as tight, and indeed, he doesn’t manage to here. (On being named the best of Katy Perry’s famous lovers: “I don’t have a cool-enough thought for you.”) He does, however, discuss a long-gestating idea for a collaborative album with JAY-Z that he claims would be “psychedel[ic]” and feature “a Cream-Hendrix rhythm section for hip-hop.” We can only hope that it would be called “The Third Mask.”