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After watching Michael J. Fox’s guitar performance as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, Mayer became fascinated with the instrument. When he turned 13, his father rented one for him. A neighbor gave Mayer a Stevie Ray Vaughan cassette, which cultivated Mayer’s love of blues music. According to Mayer, his fascination with Vaughan started a “genealogical hunt” that led him to other blues guitarists, including Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, Otis Rush, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Mayer started taking lessons from a local guitar-shop owner, Al Ferrante, and soon became consumedHis singular focus concerned his parents, and they twice took him to see a psychiatrist, who determined him to be healthy. Mayer says that his parents’ contentious marriage led him to “disappear and create my own world I could believe in”. After two years of practice, he started playing at bars and other venues, while still in high school. In addition to performing solo, he was a member of a band called Villanova Junction (named for a Jimi Hendrix song) with Tim Procaccini, Joe Beleznay, and Rich Wolf.