Before there was Dead & Company… before there was even a Fare Thee Well… there was just two, really good guitarist jamming out on a late night television program. Back in February 2015, John Mayer took over as an interim host on The Late Late Show, where he welcomed Bob Weir on and joined him for a performance. Mayer was a burgeoning Deadhead, and the two clicked on a musical level. The rest, as they say, is history.Watch Bob Weir And John Mayer Jam On ‘The Late Late Show’As Weir recently explained to Radio.com, “We were going to do, like, two songs… And we did a sound check that lasted about an hour and a half and touched on those two songs briefly and then just went and kept going. And [CBS] finally had to unplug us, they had a show to produce. And so, the idea came up to put together a band.”Mayer then spoke about what he needed to do to make Dead & Company a reality. “I took most of 2015 off from touring and even recording… I knew that it could be done, but not without a really, really large amount of time to do it, in terms of learning all the songs, and also figuring out sort of that really subtle combination of what is absolutely inherent and native to the music, and what can be changed, so that whatever I’m doing seems really authentic to me.”Weir spoke about the timing for deciding to formulate this group. “Well actually, we had decided previous to the Fare Thee Well concerts that we’re going to do [this],” Weir explained. “At least we were going to run it up the flagpole, because I played with John, like I said, in January of last year. And it became apparent to us that this was a rabbit that we wanted to chase. And so we were already talking about it. And we brought Mickey and Bill into the conversation. And Phil is getting older, and has less than limited interest in hitting the road anymore. So we knew we were looking in a different direction there. And so we got to talking. We had already, by the time we hit the Fare Thee Well concerts, we had already auditioned some bass players, and had a pretty solid notion of what we were up to. But we were loath to talk about it at the time, because there was still way too much undecided about it, and it really hadn’t much taken shape, and besides, you don’t want to be talking about your next project [when you’re on a current project]. We were just sort of feeling our way into Dead & Company without putting a lot of thought to it, while we were concentrating on the 50th.”Mayer then spoke about his preparation for the band, saying “There were songs I knew; there were songs I didn’t know. And so I kind of built this assembly line in my head of learning the songs that I knew, and really listening hardcore to the songs that I didn’t. For the most part, I was just going on the same ride that every other Deadhead goes on, where they discovered the music, one song at a time. So it’s what I call sort of ‘shaking the big Polaroid’ with this music. It was a lot of learning of songs, and then it was a lot of really trying to get the combination right, like I said.”It’s certainly nice to hear how dedicated Mayer was to the craft. However, the guitarist did worry about how he was going to be received by the band’s loyal legions of fans. “Certainly, I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received at all, but I knew that in the nucleus of it, that there was some authenticity. There was a lot of authenticity. Musically, it’s exactly what I was hoping it would be; it’s exactly what I thought it would be. And in terms of the way it was received, it was absolutely what I was hoping it would be. So it couldn’t have been better for me.”With Dead & Company going so well, Mayer hasn’t really put much emphasis on his solo career as of late. While he was in the studio working on a John Mayer Trio album not too long ago, it seems that Mayer is in no rush to release it. “I feel like I’m at this point where the shape of my career is sort of in line with the shape of who I am as a person, which is a little broader than just having a solo career. I’m really, really thankful for the solo career, giving me the opportunity to be able to leave the solo career, and then come back to it, and have it still be there. So I feel like I have the best job in music right now. It’s a little bit boundless.”He continues, saying “It’s not necessarily a guy trying to make a record to go to number one to continue to keep that machine going. It’s really me now. And I thank Bob and Mickey and Billy and Jeff and Oteil for the opportunity to really open the door and walk outside. It’s very difficult to get the strength to decide to put something aside that’s become sort of your life. It’s what you know. It is the routine to make a record and tour, make a record and tour, make a record and tour, in terms of just keeping this sort of world domination scheme going. But the music that these guys make, the music of The Grateful Dead, made this [opportunity] such a no-brainer in terms of me understanding exactly why it was I wanted to put a [solo] record on hold. And it just is like another – it’s just another badge on the sort of musical lapel, you know?”And, “Most people [who] are solo artists: the solo [career] is the very top of the pyramid. And interestingly for me now, the solo [career] is underneath the top of the pyramid, and the top of the pyramid is just ‘musician.’ And that is so freeing and beautiful. I’m not held to any record cycle. I’m not held to any pop cultural demand right now. And to be this many years into a career and still be discovering how to play the guitar is, I think, the sign that I’m really on the right path, in terms of being a musician. And it’s hard to commit to being a musician when you become successful; you want to keep so many other balls in the air. So to be more sort of practical in the answer, I put [my solo] record aside last April, and just started to learn all this music, and came back to the album in January, which was actually really good to take time to step away from it and listen back to it again, and decide what are the songs that have stood the test of time. And so now, I’m back in the studio making the record. I’ll finish it by the end of the year. And this year will have been a year that I was both in this band touring, and finishing my record, so that next year will be a solo artist sort of a year. But I will never close the door on Dead & Company, ever. And I think as long as there’s a desire to do it, I know how to carve time out. I think it’s always going to be worth doing. I will do Dead & Company as long fans want it, and as long it still feels like there’s something left on the table to try and play and get right and explore. So for me, I couldn’t be happier as a musician and a career artist now.”The remainder of the Radio.com piece talks about the band’s future plans. The quotes were pulled from a round table conference call interview, so they appear very similar to the ones listed in the Billboard piece about the possibility for writing and recording new music. They also mention Weir’s discussion about the late great Merle Haggard, which was also previously published.Dead & Company tour kicks off June 10th, but the band’s bassist, Oteil Burbridge, joined a very special “Fu & Phriends” benefit for Bernie Sanders with us earlier this week. Check out video coverage here.