Summer tour is hardly work for now laid-back heartthrob

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John Mayer is trying to make the summer continuation of his “Continuum” tour a “mini-vacation.”

And he figures he’s earned the right to some respite – or at least some recreation while he’s on the road.

“I’m just trying to be laid-back and do a great show and not put a lot of pressure on myself,” says the singer, songwriter, guitarist and heartthrob.

“I kind of see (the show) as an extension of the day – get to the venue and work out and eat lunch, take a shower, and then get onstage and play and kind of meet the audience where they are, which should be similar to how I am – except for the shower, maybe.”

Mayer, 29, certainly has the credentials to spend the summer in a celebratory mood.

“Continuum,” his fourth studio album, has sold more than 1.7 million copies since its September release, launching the hits “Waiting For the World to Change” and “Gravity” and winning Grammy awards for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Its success netted him spots on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May and Eric Clapton’s upcoming Crossroads Festival near Chicago.

He also found himself on Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, although that honor kicks the Connecticut-born musician right into self-deprecation mode.

“I know if it was the Time 99, I would’ve been off the list,” says Mayer, who’s played coy with his recent romantic linkage to Jessica Simpson. “There were a lot of great minds in that room.”

Nevertheless, Mayer comes to the summer tour “relaxed,” which has a distinct impact on the way he’s approaching the shows.

“I’ve gotten older and learned how to have a little fun and stop taking myself so seriously,” he acknowledges. “I’m letting the music become intense when the music becomes intense, but as the guy playing it recognizing that it’s summertime and a summer evening, it’s less a display of musicality and more like a conversation.

“I just want to take off all the pressure and play as loose as I can. I think great things happen then.”

Some of those things could affect his next album, which is already under way, somewhat.

“I’m just working it out now,” says Mayer, contending it’s “still too early” to say much about his future intentions, except that he expects to start working in earnest this fall. Where it leads, he says, is anybody’s guess.

The album will come out, he adds, “whenever it’s great – the same thing I said with “Continuum,’ and that took two years. I’m just trying to get a better record out of me.”

Fans, however, will have to wait for the album to hear any of it. Mayer won’t be offering any previews in concert.

“I think the days of that are gone,” he says. “There’s too many tapers, and the audience is too large.”

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