John Mayer was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Mayer comes from a dual-religious home: half Jewish and half Christian of some kind. Mayer prefers his Jewish roots. Referring to the fact that orthodox Judaism only considers one Jewish if their mother was Jewish, Mayer said:
I’m half Jewish. People say, ‘Well, which side of your family is Jewish?’ I say, ‘My dad’s.’ And they always say it doesn’t count. But I will say I keep my pool at 92 degrees, so you do the math. I find myself relating to Judaism. One of my best friends is Jewish beyond all Jews–I went to my first Passover seder at his house– and I train in Krav Maga with a lot of Israelis.
But Mayer certainly has issues with the concept of faith. In his song “Belief,” he sings:
We’re never gonna win the world/We’re never gonna stop the war/We’re never gonna beat this/If belief is what we’re fighting for… What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand? Belief can. What puts a folded flag inside his mother’s hands? Belief can.
I would submit that Mayer likes Judaism for the sort-of outward, superficial aspects of it, but he doesn’t appear to be very spiritual or devout.
Politics is a wonderland
Mayer’s had a bit more to say about politics than religion–some poignant, some funny, and some embarrassing. Let’s start with funny.
Mayer was once asked by a reporter to comment on the U.S. health care system. He said:
Have you ever heard me play guitar? I’m really fucking good. You know what I’m bad at? Answering questions about public health care.
In the embarrassing category, Mayer absorbed a lot of criticism for an interview in Playboy where he made some possibly racist remarks. For example:
My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fucking David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.
Slightly vile and possibly offensive comments aside, Mayer has said some things that make a lot of sense, even if they aren’t popular in today’s socio-political environment. In fact, speaking of the environment, Mayer has proposed being “light green” instead of rabidly obsessed with “sustainability” and environmentalism. Mayer complained that the debate over the environment is too polarized: you’re either crazy about environmentalism or you think it’s all ridiculous and dismiss it. Mayer said:
So here I am, introducing a third side. A laid-back, panic free approach to environmentalism. One that believes the message of “An Inconvenient Truth” is sound, but that it’s an incredibly un-fun name for a movie. A side free from the cry of hypocrisy, for it doesn’t make sweeping promises.
Mayer’s hit song, “Waiting on the World to Change” comments on Mayer’s generation of apathetic, maybe even lazy citizens with lyrics like:
With the world and those who lead it/We just feel like we don’t have the means/To rise above and beat it/So we keep waiting/Waiting on the world to change.
Mayer might not have much faith in the political system, but he still found the motivation to officially endorse Barack Obama in 2008, indicating his Democratic leanings. Mayer wrote in his blog:
To adults who will vote for him, Barack Obama represents a return to prosperity. To the youth, he represents an introduction to it.