Posts Tagged ‘Peter Buck’

Chris Martin of Coldplay

An outpouring of grief swept the music industry at the passing of Tom Petty , as it was confirmed that Tom Petty died from a cardiac arrest at the age of 66.

The emoting continued at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., as Coldplay held a minute of silence for the passing of a rock ‘n’ roll legend. They followed the silence with a cover of “Free Fallin’” as they were joined by Peter Buck of R.E.M.

The band joined figures from all over the industry in expressing their sadness at Petty’s passing.

Watch fan-shot videos of Coldplay and Buck’s performance


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Back in June,  R.E.M members Mike Mills and Peter Buck traveled to Norway for the Sun Station Vadso Festival, featuring performances by a series of intertwined bands including newly reformed The Dream Syndicate , Filthy Friends , The Minus 5 and The Baseball Project.

Peter Buck plays in most of those bands, and Mike Mills has rotated in and out of The Baseball Project, a — as the name suggests — baseball-themed band that also features Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate and latter-day R.E.M. sideman and The Minus 5 mainstay Scott McCaughey.

During the Baseball Project’s set at Sun Station on June 23rd, the group performed R.E.M.’s breakout 1987 single “The One I Love,” with Mills taking lead vocals , with Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Taylor who plays with Buck in Filthy Friends — taking on Mills’ usual backing vocals.

During the festival, the band also played the R.E.M Out of Time album track “Texarkana,” which Mills introduced by saying, “Peter and I used to be in a band together a few years ago, and this is a song that we never did.” And, during his own set, Mills, along with Buck on guitar, played the  R.E.M. classic “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville.”

Thanks to Slicing Up Eyeballs

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In the summer of 2007, R.E.M. set up camp for five nights at Dublin, Ireland’s venerable Olympia Theatre to explore new material, test out arrangements, and rehearse songs for their 14th studio album, Accelerate, later released in 2008.

The 39 tracks on the 2-disc set, recorded over the course of the 5-night stint, cover a wide range of material from R.E.M’s back catalogue including deep cuts and fan favorites not performed live in years. In a moment of candor upon entering into unchartered territory, vocalist Michael Stipe dubbed it “an experiment in terror,” but “the terror was for nothing “Live at the Olympia” one of the best non-studio records released this year.”

Select songs from the performances would later be on the 2009 live album Live at The Olympia. The album is a two-CD release, and contains a total of 39 songs. In addition, a DVD with a documentary entitled This Is Not a Show directed by Vincent Moon is included.

All this is to say that if you missed a chance to pick up a copy in 2007, here’s your second opportunity to get what’s been called “the best R.E.M. record you never heard.” This must-have release has just been reissued on Craft Recordings and should suit the tastes of both longtime fans and the uninitiated alike.

The 39 tracks on the 2-disc set, recorded over the course of the residency, cover a wide range of material – digging deep into the band’s earliest tracks, and eschewing the obvious hits. This is a must-have for fans of R.E.M.: Aside from the thrill of hearing a legendary band working through raw material, Live at the Olympia offers the chance to re-live a wealth of deep cuts that R.E.M. rarely performed over the course of their career.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Award-winning band R.E.M. is one of the most revered bands to emerge from the American underground. Singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry helped originate college rock during the post-punk scene of the ’80s. The Athens, GA-based group toured relentlessly for the first decade of their career, refining their idiosyncratic blend of brash tunefulness, poetic lyrics, chiming guitars and evocative vocals. By the early ’90s, R.E.M. had become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bands in the world. With an extraordinary three-decade-long run of creative vitality, R.E.M. have established a powerful legacy as one of the most enduring and essential rock bands in popular music history.

Kill Rock Stars: Filthy Friends: 05/27/2017, SE Portland, OR

Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and R.E.M.‘s Peter Buck are in a new band called Filthy Friends. Listen to “The Arrival”, the new single from their debut, Invitation. The LP is out August 25th.

Filthy Friends is the sound of music being made free of expectations, free of fear for how it will be received, free of any and all bullshit that has become part of the modern music industry. Filthy Friends is the product of like minded individuals with nothing to prove getting together and making a heroic racket together that finds space for their many influences and interests.

The band is lucky in that regard. Their legacies in the music world are comfortably secured. Lead singer CCorin Tucker has left an indelible mark on the punk scene through her memberships in Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy. Guitarist Kurt Bloch has logged a lot of hours as the leader of The Fastbacks, as well as serving as a producer/mentor for up and coming Seattle rock groups. Drummer Bill Rieflin has a fine day job as one of the drummers in King Crimson. Bassist Scott McCaughey keeps plenty busy doing studio work and mining the power pop underground with his long-running band the Young Fresh Fellows. As for the other guitarist Peter Buck…if you’re unfamiliar with him, you haven’t been paying attention to the last 30 years of alternative/college/indie rock.

So far, the world has gotten to know Filthy Friends through a nicely scattershot batch of songs: “Despierata,” their entry into the anti-Trump project 30 Songs For 30 Days and the 2017 Record Store Day release featuring their original “Any Kind of Crowd” and a sinister take on Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” Now this fierce collective is fanning the flames even hotter with the release of their debut full-length Invitation. Yes, it does slip their already released tracks into the mix, but what surrounds those tunes is oh so much more than you could have ever asked for.

The 12-song collection works through a flurry of different moods and styles, genre exercises and joyous experiments. The intricate guitar knots and blasts of bubblegum pop of Buck’s beloved Television are all over the herky-jerky “Windmill.” A mashup of ‘60s downer vibes and rootsy rumblings makes up the marvelous “Second Life” whereas “Come Back Shelley” is all swagger and glitz in the style of a lost glam rock 45. There ain’t nothing this band can’t do with the wet clay of rock music and what they sculpt out of it is pure art.

If you can sense an ease with the way these songs and this band got together that isn’t a mistake. The five Filthy Friends have gotten to know each other well, lo these past few decades. Bloch and McCaughey are both longstanding members of the Young Fresh Fellows. Rieflin and McCaughey were both unofficial members of R.E.M. during the band’s post-Bill Berry years. If that weren’t enough Buck, Rieflin, and McCaughey are also members of the Minus 5 and the Venus 3, bands that have made fantastic records on their own and with venerated singer-songwriters like John Wesley Harding, Alejandro Escovedo and Robyn Hitchcock. With all of them living and working in the Pacific NW, they’ve all gotten to know and love the work that Tucker has done in Sleater-Kinney and with her solo ventures.

The bottom line is that this is a group of musical lifers who, after 30+ years of playing shows both big and small, still get a visceral thrill out of recording a great song or standing on stage. They’d be doing it with the same enthusiasm and authority if they had an audience of 5 or 5,000. Don’t ask much more of them beyond that. We demand far too much from the artists we love. Best to let these kids do what they wanna do and just enjoy rolling around in the muck with them whenever we get their invitation

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R.E.M. Poster

On January 26th, 1989, R.E.M. kicked off the Green World Tour at MZA Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Unsurprisingly, the set list skewed heavily toward the band’s latest album, 1988’s Green: The Athens, Georgia, band opened the show with “Pop Song 89,” and performed eight of the album’s 11 tracks overall omitting only “The Wrong Child,” “Hairshirt” and “Orange Crush.”
The rest of the setlist leaned heavily on 1986’s Lifes Rich Pageant (“I Believe,” “Begin The Begin,” “Cuyahoga,” “Just a Touch”) and 1987’s Document (“Finest Worksong,” “Exhuming McCarthy,” “Welcome To The Occupation,” “Disturbance At The Heron House”), with a scattering of older tunes—notably, 1984’s “Pretty Persuasion”—thrown in for good measure.

As the Green tour progressed and traveled to New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., U.K. and Europe throughout 1989, the shows followed a similar template, with tunes from 1982’s Chronic Town EP (“Wolves, Lower,” “1,000,000”) being particularly welcome chestnuts. There were other surprises scattered throughout, of course. Vocalist Michael Stipe occasionally prefaced “World Leader Pretend” with some lines from Gang of Four‘s “We Live As We Dream Alone,” while prior to “I Believe,” he recited lyrics from Syd Straw’s “Future 40’s (String Of Pearls)” or the band’s own rarity “Tired Of Singing Trouble.”
In fact, covers were a staple of the tour: Hugo Largo’s “Harpers,” Velvet Underground’s “After Hours,” George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Television’s “See No Evil” and Syd Barrett’s “Dark Globe” rotated in and out of the setlist. So did the Golden Palominos’ “Boy (Go),” on which Stipe contributed lead vocals. Perhaps the most well-known re-do, however—likely because it ended up on the band’s 1989 fan club holiday singlewas a rip-roaring take on Mission of Burma’s “Academy Fight Song.”

Image result for R.e.m the green world tourR.E.M. Green World Tour ORG 1989 Concert Program STIPE

The Green tour marked many firsts for the band. For example, the trek featured auxiliary musician Peter Holsapple (late of the dB’s) adding guitar and keyboards, marking the first time R.E.M. expanded beyond a four-piece onstage. Although the band played a mix of U.S. auditoriums, college venues and arenas on 1987’s Work Tour, it stuck to the latter for Green tour, and played larger spaces overseas as well. This was partly due to popularity—Green was the band’s first major label album, recorded for Warner Bros.—and partly out of necessity.
The tour featured the group’s first forays into major video productions on stage, and these took the form of song-appropriate clips (e.g., trees and nature for “Fall On Me”), emphasis projections (words such as “HELLO” and “GOVERNMENT” flashing during “Pop Song 89″) and deliberately detached “participation” banter moments. According to the R.E.M. Timeline, at a March 1, 1989, show in Louisville, Stipe read these three rules aloud: “No. 1: Don’t stand on your seat as you may fall. No. 2 Don’t hurtle missiles or throw things. No 3. Don’t rush the stage as Peter doesn’t like that.”

Their first show of several in the year 1989 The Green Tour (Audio Only with photo accompaniment) At this point Green had just hit Gold (over 500,000 copies sold) two months after release, and it would go on to sell over 5 million copies as of 2015. Audio isnt great Quality 5/10 (the audio comes in through the right channel only during Get Up)

Not a spectactular show, and certainly lacking the spectacle of some of their later performances on the Green tour, but it’s still a decent concert. Also, only (mostly) complete R.E.M. show in Japan .

REM live Pop Song 89 Tourfilm 1989

Stage-wise, Stipe did some of the shimmies he exhibited during the videos for “Pop Song 89″ and “Stand” during those songs, and sported a white suit, which drew comparisons to the boxier, large suit David Byrne sported during Talking Heads‘ Stop Making Sense. The attire was camera-ready: In 1990, R.E.M. released the Green tour-focused concert film “Tourfilm” which was filmed over five shows near the end of the tour—and the black-and-white footage of the performances was striking.

On November 13th, 1989—the day after the Green tour officially concluded  R.E.M. performed all of Green and 1983’s Murmur albums back to back, during a benefit show at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. It would be the last time to catch R.E.M. for a while: The Green tour was the group’s last major, extended batch of concerts until 1995’s Monster tour. R.E.M. had spent much of the ’80s on the road, and the band needed an extended break. “We were physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally spent,” Stipe told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. “I thought I would never tour again. The idea to stop touring wasn’t any strategy. It was survival.”

R.E.M. playing live at The Omni in Atlanta, GA on April 1st, 1989.

Dressy Bessy Kingsized

With many a fine album and such an interesting roster of bands on the Burger Records label, I came across this band and as always its particularly exciting to discover that Dressy Bessy had returned with a band new album titled, Kingsized, after a 6-year long hiatus. Upon listening to the album I was delighted to hear that their sloppy, stroppy approach to high energy guitar pop was in full force and sounding better than ever.

On their previous two albums, Electrified and Holler and Stomp, the band had tried to adopt a heavier and darker tone with mixed success – losing some of their better pop elements in the process. Kingsized works particularly well by retaining some of that beefier sound whilst applying all the pop nous that made their early work so infectious.

The high-tempo opener ‘Lady Liberty’ is a case in point, and a song that illustrates the band’s best qualities and showcases Tammy Ealom’s vocal delivery perfectly. The overall quality throughout is very high and there are half a dozen single contenders on the album. ‘Cup ‘O Bang Bang’ may well be the best of these and features former Pylon vocalist Vanessa Briscoe Hay on backing duties.


Probably the most significant change on this release is the use of additional musicians on most songs on the album. Peter Buck adds 12 string guitar on a few tracks and Young Fresh Fellow Scott McCaughey contributes keyboards. In particular, it is the use of a handful of backing vocalists (including Wild Flag’s Rebecca Cole) that adds most depth to this album. Ealom has a wonderful voice that is the just out-of-key enough to sound interesting without sounding unprofessional. The additional of other vocals to bolster her delivery works really well throughout.


Though their previous album, 1988’s Green, can be counted as a commercial success, R.E.M. was still largely dismissed as a college rock band more known by the 120 Minutes set than the mainstream. That would all change with 1991’s Out of Time, and its hit single, “Losing My Religion.”

More than a career-making breakthrough, however, Out of Time helped to define a transitional phase in rock music, leading alternative music to the top of the charts while paving the way for the grunge revolution with its less contemplative lyrics and more severe sound. Eventually, groups like Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam started to surpass groups like R.E.M. (at least for the moment), allowing Out of Time to take on another meaning, as the possible last gasp of the underground rock era.

On the 25th anniversary of its release today, Out of Time is still an immensely listenable affair and its importance should be celebrated. And so, with that in mind, we decided to rank the 11 songs on this immortal alt-rock classic.

“Belong” is a character study of a woman brought to the brink of a nervous breakdown by an unnamed news event who clutches her child close in an effort to steel herself and regain her composure. Although the song’s melodic wailing chorus from Michael Stipe and Mike Mills is haunting, the song feels oddly disconnected from the rest of the album.

Throughout the 1990s, countless mixtapes wrapped up with this gentle track as warmly as a parting farewell handshake to a friend. Here, Stipe belts out nonsense sing-song words, allowing the track’s lush instrumentation to take center stage. On the cassette version of Out of Time, “Endgame” was the final song on the so-called “Time Side” (with the other being the “Memory Side”). This is brilliant placement, as the tune’s reflective nature offers brief solace from the heavy emotions that dominate the rest of the album.

Given Michael Stipe’s dynamic persona, it’s easy to forget that R.E.M. contained another vocalist. This album afforded Mike Mills the opportunity to really step into the spotlight, with this track being his finest moment. As rustic as the environs from which it took its name, the song — whose melody and lyrics were also created by Mills — spins a yarn about a redemption-seeking man desperate for another shot. “Catch me if I fall,” wails Mills throughout the song, and you can and will be waiting to do just that.

Easily the most divisive song in R.E.M.’s entire catalog, “Shiny Happy People” is, depending on your point of view, the group’s foray into disposable bubblegum pop or a cloying, insidious earworm that was the early ’90s equivalent of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Regardless of your opinion on the song’s merits, it’s difficult to not, at least, be charmed by the guest vocals from Kate Pierson of The B-52s, whom R.E.M. knew from the Athens, Georgia music scene.

For this heavy-handed condemnation of Top 40 radio, R.E.M. enlisted the help of Boogie Down Productions’ KRS-One to sing a closing rap verse about how “now our children grow up prisoners/ all their life radio listeners.” This song seems dated to the point of quaintness now that music fans have more options than ever to individualize what they listen to. Then, there’s the delicious irony of this being the fourth single released from Out of Time, issued at a time when R.E.M. owned the airwaves and had become the very thing they are criticizing here.

It’s worth noting that R.E.M. again attempted to incorporate rap into their music — with much greater success — by featuring A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip on “The Outsiders” from their underrated 2004 effort, Around the Sun.

A powerful song of frustration and loss, “Low” is a song whose impact isn’t immediately evident thanks to it being buried in the track-listing behind the juggernaut that is “Losing My Religion.” Michael Stipe’s lyrics here seem more personal — “I skipped the part about love/ it seemed so silly,” he muses — than the usual ambiguousness that he was known for, foreshadowing the heart on the-sleeve nature of the subsequent Automatic for the People LP.

By the time he angrily declares “you and me/ we know about time” just before the sad resignation that closes the track, listeners have discovered “Low” for what it truly is: The album’s secret weapon that exposes how devastating heartache can be.

It’s unclear exactly how much R.E.M. listened to Pet Sounds while crafting this summery slice of pop bliss, but I’m guessing it was a considerable amount. Mike Mills again delivers lead vocals here, marking the first time that an official R.E.M. single was released without Stipe being front and center. Sure, this is a lightweight track compared to the heaviness that will define the rest of this list but that’s more than okay. Sometimes you just want to drive around on a nice day and let music put the nastiness of life far from your mind. And when songs like this one can accomplish such a thing, why that’s near wild heaven, indeed.

“This could be the saddest dusk I have ever seen.” Those words kick off “Half a World Away,” a devastating, if somewhat oblique, focal point from Out of Time. Hinting at a relationship gone wrong due to issues ranging from alcohol to physical and literal distance, Stipe’s mournful vocals are heightened by the happy musical dirge accompanying them. This cacophony of organs, harpsichords, and violins swirl into a stew of acceptance that the protagonist’s dreams will remain forever out of reach on the horizon.

The closing track on Out of Time, “Me In Honey” is a melodic rocker in which yet another one of Michael Stipe’s lovelorn characters attempts to make sense of his life. Yet there seems to be not only hope, but glimpses of recognition, that to be head over heels or caught in honey, as the song would have it, is just as thrilling as it is daunting. The group once again enlisted the help of Kate Pierson to provide background vocals here, with her stirring vocals giving the song an added layer of sexiness.

This was the song that changed everything for R.E.M. In a mere 4 minutes and 28 seconds, the group went from being underground darlings to mainstream rock sensations. Despite some misguided grumblings from longtime fans who felt the group sold out by becoming successful with this track — a complete fallacy given how nontraditional of a pop hit it is — the general consensus was that the group had unveiled a masterpiece.

It helped that the accompanying video was a heavily rotated monster directed by Tarsem Singh that used imagery from Caravaggio and religious texts to convey its otherworldly mood. (Stipe’s frenetic dancing was pretty memorable too). The clip helped R.E.M. dominate the year’s MTV Video Awards, a ceremony at which Michael Stipe’s seemingly unending parade of T-shirts with political messages on them only got the band more attention.

But even with the airplay and marketing push that “Losing My Religion” received, it would have all been for naught if it wasn’t a great song to begin with. Beginning with Peter Buck’s mandolin strains and concluding with Stipe’s final tortured declaration of, “but that was just a dream, dream” the song is an absolute oddity about longing, heartbreak, and obsession that is still as striking as it was 25 years ago.

Twenty-five years ago, R.E.M. released Out of Time, which eventually sold over four million copies in the United States and transformed longtime college radio darlings into a mainstream concern. It was the album’s first single “Losing My Religion” that definitively turned the group to artistic and commercial leaders of the burgeoning alternative rock movement. Up until this point, the group’s singer Michael Stipe had directed their music videos, or had entrusted them to people rooted in the art world like Robert Longo, James Herbert and Jem Cohen. Stipe had also stated publicly that he would never lip sync in a video — a claim he backed up in every video during the band’s first ten years.

h the band and their label sensed that this was their potential crossover moment, they selected Tarsem Singh to direct “Losing my Religion.” Singh (credited as just Tarsem) was finishing up film school at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena while nearing the age of 30 and selling cars in the summer to afford tuition. He had previously directed only two videos for record labels — for Suzanne Vega and En Vogue — but the young director managed an artistic triumph. “Losing My Religion” would go on to win six MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Video and Best Direction as well as the Grammy for Best Short Form Video.

After “Losing My Religion” Singh would quickly depart from videos to produce commercials and visually stunning films including The Cell and Mirror Mirror. Here Singh tells the story of how the captivating and confounding video for “Losing My Religion” came to be.

Tarsem Singh: I had done a Suzanne Vega video [for “Tired of Sleeping”], I really liked the song and I wanted to do something in the style of the photographer [Josef] Koudelka. The Czech Republic was just opening up. My college professor at the time was from the Czech Republic and I told him, “You want to go there for a week? We can shoot this thing in the countryside. They don’t seem to have a working currency. We can sleep in a bus and do it.” He said, “OK.” That landed with the R.E.M. guys and Stipe was a fan of Koudelka. They approached me to see if I was interested in doing a music video.

The reason I only did [a small number of music videos] was I never really was a very good music video person. I’m quite the opposite from people like Mark Romanek and David Fincher. They always had a team of people and did it correctly. I never wrote [a treatment] for a song, ever. I would just have this idea and I would assume that when the right song comes along, I’ll do the music video. Later it kind of created not-so-friendly situations where bands that I love and adore would know that I liked their music and would send me a song. I would hear it and go, “That’s great.” Then I would spend some time and go, “Oh, it doesn’t fit into any of my ideas.” And everybody would say, “It’s supposed to be the other way around.”

For R.E.M., I had an idea. Then [Warner Bros.] asked me if I’d be writing it down and sending it. I said that was why I hadn’t done any videos since [“Tired of Sleeping”]. They said that [R.E.M.] live in Athens and I could go visit. I called my sister because I hadn’t been to Europe for so long and I was so excited I was going to see my family; then, of course, the day before, I find out it’s Athens, Georgia. But I said, “No problem,” because I’m in college and I’m getting paid to go somewhere.

I went and saw Stipe and the guys for probably a day and a half. All I wanted to see was where he stays, where he lives and what he does. Something was missing from the idea, one little piece. I spent a day with him, in the evening we went clubbing. I saw him dance and I thought, “That’s the missing element!”

He thought that I was procrastinating and not pitching the idea. When I was leaving the next day, he said, “When are you going to…?” I said, “I’m not supposed to tell anybody the idea, but if you want, I’ll try to explain it to you.” I told him there’s a story by Gabriel Marcía Márquez called “A Very Old Man With Wings” in which this freak angel arrives and nobody knows quite what to do with it. So it’s that story, told abstractly through the style of these guys called Pierre et Gilles, who are these iconic gay photographers that take how Indians do their gods and goddesses, then they do that to the Western gods. I said that it would be interesting to have an Indian copying two French guys copying Indian work. That’s the style of one piece [in the video], that’s the heavenly abode. And the place where the angel lands, it would look like Caravaggio, whose lighting I really like. Then there’d be propaganda posters, which is a third group of people who might see this event, but might misinterpret it or come up with a different solution altogether. I said [to Stipe], “I didn’t know how the three will be cut with each other, except I saw you dance, and I think that can be interesting.” And that was my pitch. I’m sure it made no sense.

One of the things that happened at that particular time was that [R.E.M.] were in a bit of a tough situation. They were the darlings of everybody cool. Matt Mahurin had done a couple of videos with them that I adored. The problem was that Stipe had gone around saying that he would never lip sync. The thing that changed him was he saw the Sinead O’Connor video [for “Nothing Compares 2 U”]. It doesn’t have anything to do with what the song is about, you’re looking at a person’s face.

You have to understand my mentality was of an absolute student. You have no money, no nothing. My brother was working as a janitor, my girlfriend at the time was bussing tables. You’re literally doing that and somebody comes along and says, “Here’s 100 grand.” You’re like, “Fucking hell. We are going to change the world!”

We started shooting with the band, and I had a crane and all these things. Nothing was really working. I went to the bathroom and I was throwing up. I came out and I was behind the assistant director and I said, “What’s next?” He didn’t see it was me and he said, “Yeah, I wonder what’s next.” I think the AD was thinking that I was doing drugs. I don’t drink, smoke, never have. I wasn’t mad at him, so I said, “I wonder what’s next, too” I didn’t know what to do. Then I said to everyone, “I know what the problem is. Everything we have shot already is too pretentious.” I said that we should forget everything that we’d already done and just film Stipe dancing.

R.E.M; MTV; Music Awards; 1991

I like either Bollywood and Busby Berkeley or mystic-gone-crazy dancing. I don’t like half-assed choreography. I liked his thing because it was so spastic, it was so internalized, the way he danced. He danced and, in-between takes, I was jumping up with him. I just knew that was it. The next day when he came and saw me shooting all these things that looked so kitsch and so strange, he didn’t say a thing. He said, “All right, you know what you’re doing. Carry on.”

We had no idea what we had. We said we needed ten days for cutting. We cut it from nine in the morning until three [at night] the first day. We looked at it and we said, “It kind of seems to work, let’s come back and look at it tomorrow.” I went downstairs and I remember my car was gone, it was towed away. We were right back in the morning and I had one look at it and I said, “Hmm, I think it’s done.” We only had one day with it. My editor said, “What can we do?” I said, “Let’s call the studio guys and say, ‘Come and take a look at the work in progress.’ And if they go, ‘What the fuck, are you crazy?’ We’ll go, ‘Hey, we got nine days. This is shit, we’ll fix it.'”

So when they came in, they had one look at it and said, “It’s done, isn’t it?” We went, “Yeah! It’s done, it’s perfect.” Then they sent it to the band and the only note we had was there was a guy sitting on a chair and one of the angels looked funny. They said, “Can you change that angel up?” That was literally it. It came out and just caught fire.

[The MTV Video Music Awards] was pretty nuts. I had been selling cars and putting myself through school, suddenly I was doing jobs in Europe. I was loving all of that and in the middle of it, [the awards] came along. I used to work as a busboy at Bombay Palace [in Beverly Hills]. We went out there and were eating dinner before we went to the awards. The cook came out and somebody told him, “Hey, this guy is going to be on TV.” He said, “Never forget where you came from, put this turban on your head.” I’ve never in my life worn a turban, except for my brother’s wedding. It’s 10 times bigger than my head, and I ended up on the show. [After winning the first award] they asked me if I wanted to say something. I said, “Not really.” I can talk until the cows come home, but something like that, I don’t know what to say. We went up there four or five times. The last time, we had won so many awards, I thought maybe I should say something. As soon as I was about to speak, the music came on and just cut me off.

[R.E.M.] sent me [“Everybody Hurts“] which was really a massive hit, too. The only problem was, me being a jerk, I just had no ideas that fit the song. I wanted to shoot in this particular cathedral in San Gimignano that doesn’t have a roof. I went out there, we couldn’t get the permissions in time. The Museum in London, they would let us shoot there because they were building it and it didn’t have a roof, but I didn’t like that idea. Then I couldn’t make the schedule work.

Had we just done Michael Stipe dancing [for “Losing My Religion], that was so strong and powerful in itself. If I left it just Stipe dancing, I think it would’ve had the same amount of success. I remember, four months later, seeing them on Unplugged. I left him a message on his machine saying, “I wish I hadn’t done a thing. I wish you had just danced.” There is no way anybody could’ve stopped that thing from being the phenomenon that it was. If it was just him in that room, it would probably be a lot less dated than it is now. I look at that thing, and it’s the stuff that only the audacity of student-thinking would make. It’s so crappily, horrendously wonderful. All it needed was Stipe in front of a window with a band. He didn’t even need the window in Unplugged. He’s sitting on a bloody stool and he’s playing it and he’s singing and it’s phenomenal. They didn’t need any of this, it was just in the air.

Still the saddest thing that R.E.M. has ever recorded, “Country Feedback” is nothing short of shattering. More than just another somebody done somebody wrong song, this epic is an analysis of how it feels to be empty inside yet still filled with pain, rage, and sorrow. Here Stipe’s delivery alternates from a wounded hush in which he reflects on how everything from the 1970s self-help technique EST to physics were used to try to help resurrect a dead relationship. As all over the place as the lyrics are, what they represent perfectly is the scattered mindset of someone so consumed by loss. So when Stipe eventually and inevitably screams, “I need this,” you can’t help but reflect upon your own experiences with similar pain.

As you can see above, Michael Stipe refers to “Country Feedback” as his favorite song. In terms of real emotion, this one delivers like no other R.E.M. song before or after. So I more than agree with his sentiment.

Even though Out of Time marked the moment the hoi polloi embraced alternative culture, it wasn’t just a socio-cultural phenomenon – it’s a great album too. So even the old-school diehards who stigmatize the album as the beginning of the end of what they loved about R.E.M. couldn’t plausibly deny that it contained tunes every bit as arresting as what had come before. At the same time, countless new converts who had paid only casual attention to the band were drawn into the fold in greater numbers than ever before.

Part of it is thanks to the production, which didn’t differ drastically from that of R.E.M.’s previous album or two (Out of Time co-producer Scott Litt also helmed the board for both Document and 1988’s Green), but Out of Time simply nudged things along to the next logical step. R.E.M.’s sound had been growing bigger and bolder since the mid-’80s, so when tasteful string orchestrations were slapped onto seven of the album’s 11 tracks,

R.E.M.’s Peter Buck Announces ‘Warzone Earth’ Solo Album Featuring guest’s Krist Novoselic, Jeff Tweedy guitarist Peter Buck will release his latest solo album October 16th through Little Axe Records,

Buck shared a statement about the record yesterday, along with the news that he’s also working on a new record with ’90s alt-country act the Jayhawks, promising that it will “blow a lot of minds.”Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy will feature on the album along with members of his supergroup Super Earth. Folk artist Mingering Mike designed the cover.


Curiously, Peter Buck says the record is available t0 purchase now, but there’s no buy link live , A representative for R.E.M. has yet to respond to a request for confirmation of these details at press time.

I’ve just had an exciting couple of weeks working with Tucker Martine on the new record by The Jayhawks which is a stunning tour de force. I think it will blow a lot of minds. I spent yesterday with my good friend Mike, who came to town to add some Millsian glamour to the proceedings. And I am pleased to announce this morning my new magnum opus Warzone Earth is now available. The record features two alternate covers by the folk art legend Mingering Mike. I never thought I’d look so good in tights!

All kidding aside, it’s the best solo record I have made, and I’m excited for it to be out in the world. It’s available through who distributes the record. It should also be available in all the cool independent record stores in your neighborhood, once again, vinyl only, but feel free to make a cassette for your friends.

Unfortunately it took the breakup of the band to start seeing some of these ultra-rare deals come to light. R.E.M. Demos on a basically-unheard artifact: the Cassette Set from Spring 1981.
In April 1981 the band began their relationship with Mitch Easter by visiting his Drive-In Studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to record a few songs for a demo. They had done a few demo sessions previously, but were not satisfied with the results (mainly at Joe Perry’s Bombay Studio) and eventually hooked up with Easter.

On April 15th, 1981 Mitch Easter and the band recorded (at least) three tracks: “Sitting Still”, “Radio Free Europe” and “White Tornado”. On the next day they mixed the tracks, and eventually had a demo cassette run (approx. 400 copies, according to Peter Buck) to send to journalists, clubs and labels ahead of their initial visit to New York City.

On May 24, 1981 the band returned to the Drive-In Studio and laid down some overdubs onto “Radio Free Europe” and then Hib-Tone label owner Johnny Hibbert mixed both “Radio Free Europe” and “Sitting Still” on the 25th. Easter felt the Hibbert mixes were seriously lacking, so he, on his own time, mixed his own versions for consideration. The band, Easter and Hibbert then had a mixing bakeoff of both “Radio Free Europe” and “Sitting Still”, and as famously (well, relatively speaking) known, despite everyone but Hibbert liking the Easter mixes better Hibbert pulled rank and used his mixes on the band’s debut 7″ on Hib-Tone. Something went awry in the process, the record was mastered terribly, and Peter Buck famously smashed his copy and put it on his wall (following the “Radio Free Europe” lyric).

Mitch Easter’s proposed mix for the 7″ is the only one the band has seen fit to issue since then, on 1988’s Eponymous compilation, and then on 2006’s compilation of the I.R.S. years And I Feel Fine…The Best Of The I.R.S. Years 1982-1987.

Stepping back a bit: before issuing the 7″, the band chose the original, pre-overdubbed, recordings of “Sitting Still” / “Radio Free Europe”, with “White Tornado” added in, to make up their demo cassette. Jokingly, “Sitting Still” was prefaced by a few seconds of a *fast* run through of the song done in Polka-style, and “White Tornado” was followed by an aborted “White Tornado” take where Buck lays down a huge stinker of a mistake, the song grinds to a halt, and Buck is heard apologizing before Easter’s voice appears. On the final 100 copies the band added a hilarious “Radio Dub” mix of “Radio Free Europe”, done by Easter on April 23rd, 1981 on a lark with instruments/voices/effects dropping in and out of the mix, dub-style.

I don’t think the “Sitting Still” or “White Tornado” snippets have ever been collected on bootleg, and if they have, I’ve never heard them. “Radio Dub” is a bit more known, but still fantastically rare. And of course this Cassette Set is the only place to get the very original Easter mixes of “Sitting Still” and “Radio Free Europe”, both of which are far better than any subsequent issue of these tracks.

The Cassette Set was self-assembled by the band, using photocopied cardstock for the J-card inlays, and handwritten cassette labels by Stipe. Some copies featured color photograph inserts all cut up,
Its a special part of the band’s history.


On this day in 1991, R.E.M. released its seventh album, ‘Out of Time,’ featuring the singles “Losing My Religion,” “Shiny Happy People,” “Near Wild Heaven” and “Radio Song”

“Out of Time” was the seventh studio album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released on Warner Bros. Records in 1991. R.E.M.’s status grew from that of a cult band to a massive international act. The record topped the album sales charts in both the U.S. and the UK, spending 109 weeks on American album charts and enjoying two separate spells at the summit, and 183 weeks on the British charts, and spending a single week at the top. The album has sold over four and a half million copies in the US and over 18 million copies worldwide. The album won three Grammy Awards in 1992: one as Best Alternative Music Album, and two for the first single, Losing My Religion.”

Recorded between September to October 1990 at,Bearsville Studios, Woodstock,New York, United States; John Keane Studios, Athens, Georgia, United States (recording); Soundscape Studios, Atlanta, Georgia, United States (strings);Prince’s Paisley Park Studios,Chanhassen, Minnesota, United States (mixing), produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M.

“Out of Time” combines elements of pop, folk and classical music  as heard on their previous album “Green, with a new concentration on country elements that would continue on 1992’s “Automatic for the People“.

Preceded by the release ofLosing My Religion“, which became R.E.M.’s biggest U.S. hit, Out of Time gave them their first U.S. and UK #1 album. The band did not tour to support the release. In Germany, it is the band’s best-selling album, selling more than 1,250,000 copies, it was also the first R.E.M. album to have an alternative expanded release on compact disc, including expanded liner notes and postcards. Check out this different demo for the song ” Near Wild Heaven

The supporting tour for Green had exhausted R.E.M., and they spent nearly a year recuperating before reconvening for the recording session for Out of Time. Where previous R.E.M. records captured a stripped-down, live sound, Out of Time was lush with sonic detail, featuring string sections, keyboards, mandolins, and cameos from everyone from rapper KRS-One to the B-52’sKate Pierson. The scope of R.E.M.‘s ambitions is impressive, and the record sounds impeccable, its sunny array of pop and folk songs as refreshing as Michael Stipe‘s decision to abandon explicitly political lyrics for the personal. Several R.E.M. classics — including Mike Mills Byrds-y Near Wild Heaven,” the haunting “Country Feedback,” and the masterpiece “Losing My Religion” — are present, but the album is more notable for its production than its songwriting.