A Newsman-Turned-Judge’s Blurry, Firsthand Account of John Mayer at Eddie’s Attic

Over on his blog, Live Apartment Fire, 11Alive’s Doug Richards recounts the rather humorous tale of how he once drunk-judged John Mayer (and assumedly Clay Cook) at an Open Mic Night Shootout at Eddie’s Attic back in 1998.

Eddie served the judges all the free beer we wanted, and I had a couple. Maybe more. My mood became increasingly contrary as the night wore on. One performer was pitiful, as I recall. All the other judges gave her a thumbs down; I gave her the only thumbs up. It was a mercy vote.

At one point, a duo came on stage called the Lo-Fi Masters. They were two too-cheery white guys with guitars and enormous skill. They were perky and cute. I despised them. They emerged winners of that night’s shootout, despite the fact that I voted against them at every opportunity. I enjoyed the evening, but mostly forgot the details.

Luckily, Mayer was able to overcome Richards’ drunken harsh judgment and become the celebrated, outspoken superstar he is today.

Richard’s also posts an old WAGA segment on Eddie’s Open Mic Night back in the day.  You can view it in his post.  (Oh hair styles, will you ever stop changing?)

Thanks to Steve for pointing this out!

13 thoughts on “A Newsman-Turned-Judge’s Blurry, Firsthand Account of John Mayer at Eddie’s Attic”


  1. I was there. I actually saw Mayer there several times at Eddie’s before he broke, and in a roundabout way he’s responsible for me meeting my wife (I happened to be on a John Mayer Yahoo group in early 2001 when she saw I was online and asked me to chat….the rest is history). I was easily able to sit about five feet from him, and bought the self-produced version of “Inside Wants Out” out of his trunk.

    The last time I saw him live was at Centennial Park when they broke the attendance record (2004?). I don’t listen to him as much anymore, especially since he’s become “Ashton Kutcher, but more perverse,” but I will always have a weird sort of affection for him.

  2. A thumb’s down? that’s curious.

    Richards must have been throwing-up when Mayer played Your Body Is a Wonderland, which also makes me want to throw-up.

    1. Right on, Brad. I’m glad I’m not the only one who experiences that reaction to JM. Pretty much the same when I hear Bruce Hornsby, Hootie and the Blowhards and Dave Matthews. Guess I’m just not a pop-radio kinda guy.

      1. Wow, you guys are kicking it today? Who wants to hang out and listen to some old live Sonic Youth? Husker Du?

          1. To me they are way over the Beatles…I missed Bob, having kids prohibits seeing shows, but I did see Sugar here a few years back. Quite good.
            You guys should check out Atlanta band Mastodon, they toured with Metallica last year.

    1. Ha! Yeah, sorry Doug. I guess the more PC thing would be to say “had been drinking”, but I really wanted to invent the word “drunk-judged”.

      It’s like “drunk-dialing” but instead of annoying your ex, you’re deciding the fates of singer-songwriters.

  3. I can’t believe I’ve lived three miles from Eddie’s Attic for over seven years and haven’t been there once in that time. While I lived in Smyrna I went there a couple of times a year. This has more to say about how friggin’ old I am and no longer hitting late nights out (and having small children doesn’t help). In the late 80’s and 90’s I was out seeing bands almost every weekend and managed to never see Mayor, Sugarland folks, Black Crowes or Collective Soul. Atlanta is and was so much better than that crap.

    Doug became more likeable today.

    1. Don’t feel bad. I’m still kicking myself for living in Athens during the heyday of Neutral Milk Hotel (’95 – ’98) but somehow managing to miss them live.

      That’s the nice thing about Eddie’s: great music, respectful audience, early shows, relatively family-friendly environment. They’re not doing the two shows a night thing anymore, but it’s still a place you can take well-behaved kids, even sleeping infants (saw a two-week old at a show there Friday before last). Really, it’s one of the things that helped convince us to move to Decatur when we were living in Smyrna.

  4. I totally heart Doug, and have to ask: does anyone but me remember when the Black Crowes were Mr. Crow’s Garden? I do, because I saw them open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers back in the day, at the Fox. They got booed off the stage, they were TERRIBLE, and anyway, everyone was there to see RHCP. Nice contact high, and most people were standing on the arm rests. Good times.

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