Pop star John Mayer visits alma mater, barred from ceremony

Sunday, December 26, 2004

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Grammy Award-winner John Mayer returned to his alma mater to be inducted into its Hall of Fame -- and wound up in the headmaster's office.

The 27-year-old guitarist and singer, a 1995 graduate of Fairfield Warde High School, decided to attend the induction ceremony but was barred because of what school officials said were security concerns. They said they had not expected the pop star to attend.

"We were not ready for John Mayer," said Jim Conley, chairman of the school's Hall of Fame committee.

Mayer said he was taken to the headmaster's office, where officials stalled him until the ceremony was under way and then walked him to his car.

"It was hurtful," he said Thursday.

Headmaster James Coyne said he explained to Mayer that he was "concerned for his welfare and for the welfare of the students."

"I'm sorry he felt that way," Coyne said, adding that the star wasn't escorted from the premises. "We accompanied him to his car."

Mayer said he initially was not able to attend the ceremony, but changed his mind last week. He said he intended to donate a guitar he used on tour.

As he approached James Blake, a professional tennis player who also was inducted with golfer J.J. Henry, a former teacher took Mayer by the arm and led him into Coyne's office, Mayer said.

"So there I was," Mayer said, "I could see James out there with his mom and the whole thing's going on and I'm in the office."

Mayer won a best male pop performance Grammy for the 2001 single "Your Body Is a Wonderland." He's nominated in the same category and for song of the year for "Daughters," off his new album, "Heavier Things."

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