R.E.M. – Dave DiPaolo’s Deep Dive

Athens, Georgia. A location you wouldn’t expect to likely find a few college students banging out some of the best 80s new wave sounds to ever be called rock n’ roll. This is the story of Drummer Billy Berry, Guitarist Peter Buck, Bassist Mike Mills and Lead Singer Michael Stipe and their band, REM.

  • The band got their big break with the alternative radio hit, Radio Free Europe in 1981. Though Michael Stipe writes most of the songs for the band, songwriting credit, and royalties, are often shared among the bandmates. The less fighting over the royalties and the credit, the better chance a band has of staying together
  • Drummer Berry and Bassist Mills got together as bandmates before REM started. They were a lounge act with their high school music teacher in the late 70s. They would dress up and play at weddings and country clubs
  • Some people are said to be great predictors of world events, based on their gut feeling. For Michael Stipe, his gut feeling was in his head. He claims that he could predict earthquakes, and would usually get a massive headache a few days before one would hit
  • For those of you who enjoy reading lyrics to the songs in your album sleeves, REM is not your band. They do not print lyrics because the fans often have better interpretations of their lyrics, according to Stipe
  • Drummer Berry quit the band in 1997 after he suffered a near fatal brain aneurysm. He decided to take life at a slower pace and became a farmer. Every once in a while, he will still show up to play live with REM at shows
  • Michael Stipe dated Natalie Merchant of the band 10,000 Maniacs, but later came out as preferring men in a 2001 Time magazine story
  • After watching one of their early music videos, Stipe decided to swear-off the practice of lip syncing in his videos
  • As an art and photography major at the University of Georgia in Athens, Stipe learned how to make replicas of everyday objects that interest him using bronze or birch plywood. His sculptures include a Polaroid camera, a microcassette, and a newspaper
  • On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. issued a statement on their website, declaring that they were “calling it a day as a band.” Peter Buck told Rolling Stone that they were, “doing the last record, [2011’s] Collapse Into Now. We hadn’t made an announcement or anything. We got together, and Michael said, ‘I think you guys will understand. I need to be away from this for a long time.’ And I said, ‘How about forever?’ Michael looked at Mike, and Mike said, ‘Sounds right to me.’ That’s how it was decided.”