The Quarantine Stream: 'John Mayer: Someday I'll Fly' Takes You Behind The Scenes Of His Career

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a series where the /Film team shares what they've been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)The Movie: John Mayer: Someday I'll FlyWhere You Can Stream It: YouTubeThe Pitch: This hour-long documentary tracks the rise of singer/songwriter/guitar virtuoso John Mayer, taking you behind the scenes of each of his studio albums from 1999 until 2014. But unlike the godawful music documentaries that you see on channels like AXS TV, there's no obnoxious narrator, no laughably fake recreations of certain moments, and no floating heads being interviewed – Mayer's voice is the only one you hear, so you get his career arc described in his own words.Why It's Essential Quarantine Viewing: I've been a big fan of John Mayer since 2001 when his Room for Squares album came out. I've seen him multiple times in concert, dating back to November of 2002. But I suspect it'll be many months until I'm allowed to get the COVID-19 vaccine and likely more months after that until I'm ready to go back to a big concert again. This documentary helped scratch that itch by providing tons of concert footage, which was great. But I think one of its biggest strengths is in all of the behind the scenes footage and stories I'd never heard, even as someone who has closely followed his career for almost two decades.

Mayer is a once-in-a-generation guitar player, and it was cool to hear him talk about how the reason he picked up the instrument in the first place was because he was inspired by Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly playing "Johnny B. Goode" at the end of Back to the Future. (Nice origin story!) There are photos and audio of him as a teenager playing guitar in high school bands that I'd never seen or heard before.

The majority of the documentary gives Mayer a platform, through these off-screen interviews, to talk his way through each of his albums and detail the creative impulses and thought processes that went into the major decisions behind each of them. As a fan, I found it fascinating, and it helped better contextualize what was happening during the one stretch of his career that has not been my favorite (Born & Raised through Paradise Valley). This documentary was made in 2014, but I'd love to see an updated version describing what went into 2017's The Search for Everything, which has grown to become my favorite Mayer album overall.

Director/editor Eastwood Allen did a great job compiling some rare footage, and unless you're an absolutely obsessive Mayer fan, I almost guarantee there will be some stuff in here that you didn't know or haven't seen. And as a little bonus, I'll leave you with this behind the scenes video that Allen put together showcasing some of the creative tweaks he made to existing footage in order to bolster the story he was telling: