His album went platinum, and he sells out 10,000-seat venues, but John Mayer has a lot to learn about life as a rock star. "If you gave me alcohol, I wouldn't know how much to drink to get drunk," he says. "I rock horribly!"
Mayer, 24, will have to figure out how to celebrate somehow now that his sensitive album Room for Squares
has spawned the hits "Your Body Is a Wonderland" and "No Such Thing." "He captures a sense of youthful wonder," says rock critic Anthony DeCurtis. "It's a coming-of-age record." Musically, Mayer came of age in blues nightclubs, where the singer, who was raised in Fairfield, Conn., honed his talent while working as a gas station attendant. The middle child of Margaret, a middle school English teacher, and Richard, a high school principal, Mayer allows that "there's probably one of us in every school system—the token 'see you when I'm famous' yearbook write-up guy. I said, This is what I'm going to do,' and I never stopped doing it."
His work led to a record deal, MTV exposure and eventually a brief relationship with Jennifer Love Hewitt, which ended this summer. "Anybody like me, who travels so much, just isn't there enough to sustain a relationship," if says Mayer. He isn't dating anyone now, but "playing onstage for me," he says, "is like a 90-minute flirt session. And then I go back on the bus and play with my silver flashy toys."