R.E.M. Talks Truth of Their Breakup & Where Their Friendships Stand Today

Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, and Peter Buck of R.E.M. perform during the NBC 'Today' show concert series at Rockefeller Center on April 1, 2008 in New York City
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R.E.M., an alternative rock group formed in 1980, quickly rose to the top of the charts with songs such as “Losing My Religion” and “Everybody Hurts.” In 2011, the band shocked fans when they announced their breakup, wanting to spend their time focusing on solo projects. The original members of R.E.M., Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry recently came together for the first time in decades to discuss their induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In the rare interview on CBS Mornings, they opened up about their breakup and talked about how the members are doing today. The group called the induction a “huge honor.” They first came together at the University of Georgia in Athens and wrote songs quickly to try to make money as a band, writing songs in their rehearsal space in Athens. Stipe said the band coming together “felt like kismet.”

R.E.M. performs on MTV Unplugged at the MTV studios in New York City. 5/21/01

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Stipe was generally in charge of the lyrics and Mills called him one of the best “melodists” in the world, adding that Buck was the one who motivated all of the bandmates to keep going and churning out tunes. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse in 1995. Berry suffered a double brain aneurysm while on stage and left the band two years later because although he recovered, his energy levels and drive were never the same. After he left, the band struggled to maintain the same kind of success and started to disagree on everything.

It led to the band’s breakup in 2011 but it didn’t end their friendships. Stipe shared, “We’re also here to tell the tale, and we’re sitting at the same table together with deep admiration and … lifelong friendship. A lot of people that do this can’t claim that.” Buck added, “I think we quit at the right time. This is a really good place to finish, you know – great tour, great album, go home.” While fans may dream of a reunion tour one day, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now. When asked what it would take to get the band to tour again, Mills joked, “a comet.”

Watch the full interview here:

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March 2023

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