R.E.M. (formed 1980) R.E.M. is an alternative American rock band. The lineup of the band consists of Michael Stipe on lead vocals, Peter Buck on guitar, Mike Mills on bass guitar and Bill Berry on drums and percussion.
Formative Years: Michael Stipe met Peter Buck in 1980 whilst Buck was working in a record store in Athens, Georgia. They shared a love of bands like Television, Patti Smith and The Velvet Underground. The pair of them soon met Bill Berry and Mike Mills, who were students at the University of Georgia. Their debut gig as a band was at a friend's birthday party in April 1980.
R.E.M.'s first single was 'Radio Free Europe', released in 1981 on the independent Hib-Tone label.
I.R.S. Records obtained a copy of R.E.M.'s demo tapes and signed a contract with the band, despite R.E.M. having been courted by RCA Records. The Chronic Town EP was R.E.M.'s first major label release.
Debut album onwards: R.E.M.'s debut album, Murmur, was released in 1983, to huge critical acclaim. Rolling Stone magazine made the album its record of the year. Their first national TV appearance came in October of that year, when they appeared on Late Night with David Letterman. They performed 'So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)', which became the lead single from their second album, Reckoning.
The third album from R.E.M. was 1985's Fables of the Reconstruction. It was produced by Joe Boyd, who had previously worked with Nick Drake and Fairport Convention and they recorded the album in England. The resulting recordings were seen as a departure from the quality of their predecessors.
Life's Rich Pageant was released in 1986 and was recorded by John Mellencamp's producer, Don Gehman, who raised the profile of Stipe's vocals in the songs. The track 'Fall On Me' became popular on commercial radio.
R.E.M.'s fifth album, Document became their breakthrough release. Frustrated by I.R.S. Records' poor overseas distribution, R.E.M. signed with Warner Bros. Records when their existing contract had expired. Their major label debut was 1988's Green, recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. The album has sold over 4 million units worldwide.
In 1990, following a 12-month break, R.E.M. reconvened and recorded Out of Time, using the mandolin, organ and acoustic guitar to break away from the expected sound of alterative guitar bands. The lead single, 'Losing My Religion', became a massive worldwide hit, as was its follow-up, 'Shiny Happy People', featuring Kate Pierson of the B-52s.
The next album from R.E.M. was 1991's Automatic for the People, another huge global success. Many of the tracks featured string arrangements by John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin's bass player. Again, the album spawned a number of global hits, including 'Man On The Moon' and 'Everybody Hurts'.
In 1994, R.E.M. released Monster, intended to be a more upbeat album, after the two slow-paced releases preceding it. The album featured the popular tracks 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?' and 'Bang and Blame'.
In March 1995, Bill Berry suffered a brain aneurysm and collapsed onstage in Switzerland. Although he recovered within a month, the band was plagued with other health issues, as Mills required abdominal surgery and Stipe also required emergency surgery to repair a hernia. The following year, however, they still managed to release an album, Adventures in Hi-Fi, having re-signed with Warner Bros for a staggering $80 million contract.
In April 1997, Bill Berry left the band. The remaining three members decided to carry on as a three-piece. For their next recording sessions, they hired Barrett Martin, formerly of Screaming Trees and Joey Waronker, Beck's touring drummer. Despite troubles and tensions during the recordings, Up was finally released in 1998, with 'Daysleeper' being the lead single from the album. The following year, they released the instrumental score to Milos Forman's Man on the Moon. The film was an Andy Kaufman biopic and starred Jim Carrey as the lead character and Courtney Love as his girlfriend. Also in the film were Danny DeVito and Paul Giamatti.
R.E.M. then released Reveal in 2001, with Waronker drumming, as well as Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 and Ken Stringfellow of Posies.
Around the Sun was released in 2004. The lead single was 'Leaving New York' and around this time, the band hired a permanent new drummer for the purposes of touring, Bill Rieflin. Rieflin was previously a member of Ministry. That year, R.E.M. joined the Vote For Change tour, with Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and Bright Eyes.
Whilst rehearsing for their induction into the Georgia Hall of Fame, R.E.M. also recorded a version of John Lennon's '?9 Dream' for Amnesty International.
Accelerate was released in 2008, following recording sessions with the producer Jacknife Lee. The album debuted at the number two spot on the Billboard charts.
R.E.M.'s music has inspired a number of bands, most notably Nirvana. Lead singer Kurt Cobain was vocal in his praise of the band and he and his wife, Courtney Love, of Hole, became good friends with Michael Stipe.
If the Spice Girls can put aside their differences, why can't these bands?
With the massive headline news that the Spice Girls have (eventually) decided to reunite once again, nailing on a huge stadium tour of the UK next summer, it got us thinking – what other bands would we love to see reform?
Below are five bands from the worlds of pop and rock who are still holding out on the lucrative reunion dollar – all their members are still alive, so come on guys, bring it on!
Continue reading: Five Bands We'd Love To See Reunite!
When politicians try to get some reflected glory off pop anthems, it never ends well.
After Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler had to write a second cease-and-desist letter to Donald Trump asking him to stop playing their songs during his rallies this week – having already called him out for doing the same with ‘Dream On’ three years ago – we thought we’d compile some other famous moments when politicians got scolded by musicians for using their songs without permission.
Almost inevitably, such clashes come up when songs are used by right-wing or conservative parties and candidates. Musicians are a fairly liberal bunch, understandably, and they don’t want their messages and sentiments getting confused with those counter to their own beliefs and ideologies.
So, here’s seven other famous moments when politicians tried to get some credibility off pop stars.
Continue reading: 7 Times Politicians Tried To Use Pop Songs Without Permission
Michael Stipe still isn't ready to make a solo album, though he enjoyed producing Fischerspooner's new record.
Michael Stipe still isn't ready to make a solo album.
The 58-year-old singer - whose band REM disbanded in 2011 - was ''surprised'' at how comfortably he settled back into the recording studio while producing Fischerspooner's new LP 'Sir', but he insists the experience wasn't enough to make him want to set down his own track.
He said: ''[Producing 'Sir'] definitely brought me back to music in a very unexpected way. I had had a good five years off, away from writing and composing.
Continue reading: Michael Stipe Not Ready For Solo Record
R.E.M. insist they are happy they had the ''luxury'' of splitting on their own terms and nothing could tempt them back together.
R.E.M. insist there is ''nothing on this Earth'' that would make them reform.
The 'Nightswimming' hitmakers - comprising Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe - went their separate ways in an amicable split in 2011 and feel it was a ''luxury'' being able to disband when they were all ready, rather than there being any external pressure or influences.
Asked if anything could make them reform, Mike said: ''No, there is really nothing on this Earth that would make us want to get back together.
Continue reading: R.E.M. Won't Reform
A couple of weeks ago we told you about the video that Idris Elba had made for Mumford & Sons, now another interesting mish-mash of musicians and actors have joined forces for another video, and this time around it's a video for REM directed by James Frano, with Lindsay Lohan making an appearance. A truly odd mix of people. But c'est la vie, it could be good.
In almost 6 minutes of film, the tone is very much the same: jaded America. The 'song' is less a song and more a fairly good example of spoken word poetry by Michael Stipe ("I can be bad poet / Street poet / Sh*t poet / Kind poet too"). Both verbally and visually, with 'lyrics' such as "Twentieth century, collapse into now /Cinderella boy you've lost your shoe" and images of strip clubs and the words 'has been' popping up on screen, the despondency is clear. It's somewhat reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black America's stunning track 'Dead Flag Blues', though REM's 'Blue' holds out much more hope. James Franco's done a stirling job of matching the video to the track, in a way that Elba failed to do with Mumford & Sons. And Lohan basically just plays herself, appearing ina black leotard, with platinum blonde hair, biting her lip in front of a camera. Good job LiLo.
Continue reading: Unlikely Bunch: REM, James Franco And Lindsay Lohan Make A Music Video.
Lifes Rich Pageant remains a key milestone in R.E.M.'s extensive back catalogue. This was after all the moment that inaudible lyrics and murky soundscapes gave way to big guitar riffs and even bigger drums. Outgrowing the confines of their niche college rock appeal; Buck, Berry, Mills and Stipe were faced with creating a different type of record. The new deluxe box of the bands 4th studio effort celebrates the leap forward that they took towards international success.
Continue reading: REM, Lifes Rich Pageant (25th Anniversary edition) Album Review
REM, I feel, do not get enough credit for the way in which they've grown old gracefully. Without mentioning any names, (U2) many other mega bands have found it hard to enjoy a long career without going all David Brent and having a mid life crisis. By this I mean trying to 'shake things up' in an attempt to adapt to the Itunes generation. Why bother adapting to a generation that only listen to an album for however long it takes them to get off the treadmill or reach their stop on the Tube? If you've already got a massive and I mean massive established and loyal fan base, why not just stick with them and make the music you want to make? New generations of fans can dig it if they like, and if not they can stick to the latest one album wonder doing the rounds.
Continue reading: REM, Collapse Into Now Album Review
Every REM album since 1994's disappointing Monster has been described by one critic or another as a 'return to form'. Personally, I'm not convinced that the band are capable of making another album as good as Reckoning or Automatic For The People; when you've been writing and playing music together for several decades, it must be difficult to stumble upon exceptional new ideas. This needn't be a problem, though; a second-rate REM single is still a hell of a lot better than anything most other guitar bands can conjure up, as 'UBerlin' amply demonstrates.
Continue reading: REM, Uberlin Single Review
There has only ever really be one bad REM album, and that was the last, Around The Sun. It was so unremittingly awful that many long-time fans wondered what had happened to one of the most essential rock bands of the past 20 years. So, the news that a new guitar-biased album captured a newly fired-up REM was greeted with real fervour. Accelerate is a great REM album - it's not Life's Rich Pageant or Document, but this stands comparison with New Adventures, or Automatic for the People. Gone is the preachiness and tossed-off rehashes, and regained is the Stipe angry intensity and slightly-ahead-of-the-beat compulsive obsessive rhythm - in many places, this could be Bob Mould's Sugar. Unlike Monster, the guitars are nice and jangly - it seems like Peter Buck wrested control of the band back again, made them care and made sure there were songs before they got to the (Irish) studio.
Repeated listening adds dimensions to those songs that at first seem ordinary - this is a rock album (there's no radio-friendly Everybody Hurts on this one), but it is one that burns with intelligence. It would be wrong to criticise a band for not hitting a Life's Rich Pageant high water mark - only a couple of bands ever have matched it - there are four or five great songs on here, 4 or 5 very good ones. Rather than waiting for a return to form, we simply needed to view Around The Sun as an aberration, a temporary blip in a great band's form.
Continue reading: REM, Accelerate Album Review
Portlanders: the @musicofEYELIDS show at Mississippi Studios on August 24th is not to be missed. Peter Buck, Scott… https://t.co/U9603gyhoR
Mike Mills, Chuck Leavell Honoring Georgia Musicians on Tour – Rolling Stone https://t.co/vnxLzezzT1
There are still tickets available for @atlcollective's celebration of Automatic For The People this Saturday 8/10 a… https://t.co/1MJYmkzQpj
Looking forward to this 4-date tour by @m_millsey Robert McDuffie, and @ChuckLeavell w/ performances in Atlanta, B… https://t.co/Jf7sw5oybi
RT @buzzbandsla: Review/photos: The Minus 5 (@ScottMcCaughey5) made believers of everyone @BootlegTheater on Friday night. Less than 2 year…
RT @m_millsey: It’s a joy, an honor, and a true pleasure to play music with @ScottMcCaughey5 and the #Minus5. https://t.co/NbNclsipjV
RT @m_millsey: This is part of ‘A Night Of Georgia Music’, coming soon to Atlanta, Birmingham, Savannah, and Augusta, with the amazing Chuc…
Join us in wishing the legendary Bill Berry a happy birthday! https://t.co/FSSh0x6jCT
RT @ScottMcCaughey5: The Minus 5 - the one with Peter Buck, @m_millsey, @pitmonster, @brdcrp ready for Calif romp. It's gonna KILL @TheChap…
Join Atlanta music nonprofit @atlcollective on 8/10 as artists from Athens & Atlanta relive Automatic for the Peopl… https://t.co/TPWzl0nXVX
Bertis came across this "Losing My Religion" "book cover" by screenwriter and graphic artist @toddalcott who transl… https://t.co/o9PCEjacw2
Have a listen to this excellent interview Peter & Michael did with @redbeardrocks https://t.co/dPxz5VNDDS
@_dml Already resolved but thank you for the offer
It has recently been brought to my attention that somebody calling himself Peter Buck has been impersonating me on… https://t.co/78z7Ixc2Nc
What’s your favorite moon themed song? https://t.co/qIHLL8a30o
The @BaseballProject is in #atl tomorrow! @CocaColaRoxy @Braves https://t.co/SuBqumG9nP
It's the 20th anniversary of the band's historic shows at Stirling Castle in Scotland, July '99. In honor of those… https://t.co/fOSqntoSy8
See the new 180-gram pressing of In Time: the Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 & learn the inspiration behind "Bad Day" via… https://t.co/tvoyMBjkGG