17 December 2011

Happy birthday Mike!

… and don’t keep us waiting for that solo record for too long!

Cheers!

Filled Under: Site info

UPDATE: As promised, I have scanned and uploaded scans from the latest issue of UNCUT magazine. View them below (the first six images): for best quality, right-click on a thumbnail and open in a new tab or window.

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Several new interviews with Mike Mills have surfaced, either online or in print. Let’s start with the videos. Apparently Michael Stipe and Mike Mills are in England, because they have talked to BBC and XFM and discussed the reasons behind the breakup of R.E.M., while at the same time promoting their upcoming 40-song retrospective. The good news for us is that, while Stipe seems to have completely lost interest in making music, Mills is keen to continue, and looks like his solo album will be hitting the shelves sometime in the (hopefully near) future! Says Mike: “I’ve actually spoken to several people with whom I’d like to write songs but I don’t want to jinx it by naming names.” Fair enough Mike, just don’t keep us waiting for too long! We know that you’re a perfectionist and all, but we’re kinda impatient here!

Watch the interviews below:

XFM’s Danny Wallace interviews Michael Stipe and Mike Mills (Part 1)

XFM’s Danny Wallace interviews Michael Stipe and Mike Mills (Part 2)

BBC Newsnight’s Gavin Esler interviews Michael Stipe and Mike Mills

Watch it here

Also, in an interview with Mojo (via NME), Mike has reinforced that Stipe is unlikely to do a solo record. Says Mike: “I don’t think that’s [music] is where his passion lies. I think he wants to be in the visual arts. I imagine Michael will do a lot of sculpture and photography. I think those are his big interests now.”

Yeah, we’ve figured out that much ourselves.

I have also purchased the latest issue of UNCUT, containing another interview with Mike and a farewell to R.E.M. by their long time supporter Allan Jones. I’m scanning the feature right now, and I’ll be uploading it shortly.

Finally, an announcement has just been made that Mike Mills and his fellow Big Star addicts Chris Stamey, Mitch Easter, Ken Stringfellow and Big Star’s own Jody Stephens are bringing their show – a fully-orchestrated performance of Big Star’s album Third/Sister Lovers – to London in May 2012! As you all remember, Chris Stamey reorchestrated the entire album based on Alex Chilton’s original intentions, and the aforementioned show has already toured several American cities. The concert will take place at London’s Barbican Hall on 28 May 2012 at 8pm, and the tickets can be purchased here! See y’all there! And a warm thank you to Helen and Linda for sharing the news with us!

18 October 2011

R.E.M.’s Final Single… And More

A few hours ago R.E.M. have revealed their farewell single, appropriately titled “We All Go Back To Where We Belong”. The single is currently being streamed on Rolling Stone’s website, and it will appear, together with two new songs, “Hallelujah” and “A Month of Saturdays” on the band’s upcoming retrospective Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011. Listen to the new song here.

Eburban has published tributes by some musicians who have been R.E.M. fans and collaborated with band members throughout the years. In particular, I recommend an entry by Marylin Carino of the Mudville fame, where she recalls her collaboration with Mike Mills. Here are a few excerpts:

“Mike has a pure love of music and being a musician, and when he talks about music that he likes he’s like a teenage fanboy. He told me stories of how thrilled and humbled he was to jam with some New Orleans musicians right after Katrina, and also when R.E.M. went to South America and played ‘Losing My Religion’ unplugged, sitting in a rainforest with a group of native people. One time we stayed up all night playing stoned improvisational music in his cosy home studio in Athens, me on piano and him on saxophone! It was some of the most fun I’ve had playing music.”

“He’s a major rock star, a world traveler, very sophisticated about art, food, politics. But he also is, first and foremost, a serious musician that loves to play.”

Read the rest here.

25 September 2011

New Adventures In Golf

Michael Bamberger, a senior writer @ Sports Illustrated has just published his reflections on Mike Mills and his (in)famous obsession with golf. Well, one thing is for sure: now that R.E.M. has disbanded, Mike will have all the time in the world to indulge his passion for golf. Here are just a few excerpts from the article; read the entire thing here.

“Bertis and Mike have known Jim (Bones) Mackay and Joe LaCava for years and, by extension, have a particular rooting interest in Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples, and also Davis Love. In 2002, when the British Open was at Muirfield , Phil and Bones and Bertis snuck away during one of the practice rounds and played the Old Course. A nightmare for Bertis is when Davis and Phil and Fred have Thursday-Friday tee times at Augusta that are scattered all over the tee sheet. He somehow manages to see everybody and everything he needs to see. He walks very fast.”

“Bill Berry, the band’s longtime drummer, is also a golf head, but I’ve never seen Michael Stipe or Peter Buck, the band’s lead guitarist, on a golf course. (Buck is deeply attached to baseball, as is Mills, who is often at Turner Field.) When R.E.M. was coming up in Athens, another band, Love Tractor, was starting to get noticed, too. Love Tractor had a unique, excellent sound, surfy and jazzy and folky, but R.E.M. ended up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I asked Mills once why R.E.M. made it big and Love Tractor did not. He said, “Because we had Michael Stipe. When we first started playing together, we knew Michael had a great voice. But when we started playing in front of audiences, we saw the people responded to Michael. He had charisma.” When Rory McIlroy came to play in the U.S. for first time as a pro, in 2009, Geoff Ogilvy said something very similar about him. Ogilvy’s point was that McIlory had a certain extra something — a golfing charisma — that would help him win over crowds, intimidate opponents, fuel his confidence, give him half a shot or more on some Sunday afternoon when nobody can breathe.”

21 September 2011

Goodbye R.E.M.

Thank you for the music.

Filled Under: News & Features

08 April 2011

Yo, Check This Out!

Mills Alert! The legendary New York rap pioneers Beastie Boys have filmed a new 30-minute video aptly titled “Fight For Your Right Revisited” to promote their new album Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2 coming out in the month of May. Now, why am I mentioning this here? Well, aside from me being a huge Beastie Boys fan, the real reason is that they recruited a host of Hollywood stars and fellow musicians to appear in the video, including our own Mike Mills! Plus: Elijah Wood, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, John C. Reilly, Seth Rogen, Jack Black, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jason Schwartzman, Adam Scott, Rainn Wilson, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Alicia Silverstone, Martin Starr, Ted Danson, Rashida Jones – and of course the Beasties themselves – Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA.

According to andPOP, the film premiered at Sundance Film Festival last month and received a mix of reviews. In the video, we find the “Beastie Boys” (Elijah Wood, Seth Rogan, Danny McBride) in 1986 the day after the legendary “Fight for Your Right (To Party)” video took place. It is rumoured to be a long-running Saturday Night Live skit from there on out.

Below is the trailer for the video, so you can judge for yourselves! Mike is not seen in the preview, however I hope that the full film will be released soon. Don’t you find it hilarious that Mike is not appearing in R.E.M.’s own “music-videos-or-art-films-or-whatever”, and yet he’s making a cameo in his friends’ video!?

Here’s the first report from last night’s Big Star Third/Sister Lovers tribute show. As you all know, Mike Mills was part of the house band on the night, and even better, he recruited his R.E.M. bandmate Michael Stipe to join the tribute. Please post other reports that you stumble upon in the comments below, and I’ll upload and tidy up everything tomorrow. Thanks a million!

Gothamist.com

UPDATE 2: Looks like all members of R.E.M. (sans Bill Rieflin) are currently in Austin, TX for the SXSW festival – Michael Stipe is screening the 12 music videos/art films for Collapse Into Now, Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey are playing shows with The Baseball Project, and Mike Mills is not the one to miss the party, so he has followed his mates to Austin. Here is a funny recap of their yesterday’s show. happy

UPDATE: You can download the entire Kevn Kinney set (12 songs) from Southern Shelter!

As mentioned in our previous post, over the weekend, The Baseball Project played shows in Atlanta and Athens. As expected, they were joined by a host of friends, members of R.E.M.’s “extended family”.

The tour icebreaker show took place in Atlanta on 11 March – the same day when Michael Stipe hosted his video screening event in London. The venue where The Baseball Project played is small, it holds about 150 people and it’s standing room only, but a great little venue and bands love to play there. The opening act was Kevn Kinney, singer and acoustic guitar player from an Atlanta band Drivin n Cryin who hit big in the U.S. when R.E.M. released Green; Peter Buck produced Kevn Kinney’s first solo album Mac Dougal Blues). Peter played on every song, he primarily played mandolin, but also 12-string guitar and bass, while Scott McCaughey played the keyboards. Mike Mills joined them for Drivin n Cryin’s big hit called “Straight to Hell”; and then it turned into a jam session. After a 15-minute break The Baseball Project came on, with Mike Mills on keyboards for the entire set.

The next day, the entire extended family played in Athens. This show was a reunion of 3/4 of the original R.E.M. lineup (Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry!); furthermore, they were joined (among others) by John Keane whose studio has served as the band’s favourite workplace for many years. Our own Linda Somerville was in Athens for the entire weekend, and she sent her day-by-day diary, so without further ado, read it here! Linda also met up with my buddy Mark Rockwell and his wife, and Mark has kindly sent his own brief report too. Last but not least, both Linda and Mark took lots of photos at the gig, so enjoy!

Our friend Jordan Stepp aka Athens Music Junkie has also published her impressions, photos and videos from the gig, to be found here, and a few days beforehand she interviewed the awesome Scott McCaughey.

Finally, here you’ll find Steve Wynn’s own insider account on these events! Keep reading Steve’s diary, I’m sure he will be updating it constantly while the band’s on tour!

14 March 2011

Intermezzo

Phew, what a weekend it was! While we were entertained by a certain Mr Michael Stipe in London, across the pond his R.E.M. bandmates rocked Georgia! Namely, The Baseball Project (Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon) are currently touring the U.S. to promote their second album; over the weekend they played in Atlanta and Athens, where they were joined by a host of friends. Friends’ names? Well… how about Mike Mills, Bill Berry (!!!), John Keane, and Kevn Kinney and Tim Nielsen (of the Drivin n Cryin fame)? big grin thumbs up Anyway, several friends attended these gigs; Linda and Mark have already sent their reports and/or photos, and I’m hoping to have everything ready for your viewing and reading pleasure by tomorrow morning!

While I’m busy resizing and uploading photos, adding new webpages etc., here’s an assortment of recent Mike Mills interviews from various magazines – as you all know, Mike was doing press rounds to promote R.E.M.’s newest album Collapse Into Now:

The Brander

USA Today

Music Rooms

Herald Sun

And here’s a beautiful live-in-the-studio version of “Every Day Is Yours To Win”.

R.E.M. “Every Day Is Yours To Win” from Matthew Perpetua on Vimeo.

Filled Under: News & Features

What happened yesterday?… Well, nothing much… except that I attended the special screening of 8 videos for the songs from R.E.M.’s album Collapse Into Now. The event took place in London… oh and did I mention that Michael Stipe was the host of the event, and that he took part in the questions & answers session? big grin

But the story actually begins on Monday, when I received a message from my friend Matthijs:
Matt: “So, are you coming to London on Friday?”
Me: (clueless) “Er, no, why?”
Matt: “There’s a screening in London, and Michael Stipe will be answering our questions, and I just won two tickets for the event! Wanna go?”
Me: “OF COURSE I wanna go!! Squeeee!! Thank you thank you thank you!”

So, Matthijs and I agreed to meet in front of the BAFTA Theatre in London, where the screening was about to take place, at 6pm. A few other people who I’d known, either from various R.E.M. related events, or from online fan communities, had also won tickets, so I was really happy to see them there (hiya Sue, Lucy, Mark and Rob!). Before the actual screening, there was a Collapse Into Now-themed cocktail party, where we mingled with the likes of Bertis Downs (R.E.M.’s manager), Chris Martin (Coldplay) etc; however, we were polite enough not to disturb them, so we simply enjoyed our drinks and discussed our favourite songs from the new album (and took a few photos, which can be seen below).

Then, we were invited to go upstairs to the theatre, and as soon as we realised that the front row seats weren’t reserved, we sat our asses there, right in front of the stage! There was a cosy little table and two armchairs, and soon Michael Stipe arrived with his friend Jefferson Hack, the co-founder of the Dazed Digital who organised the entire event. [By the way, on Thursday our friend Auctioneer participated in the live chat with Michael, also organised by Dazed Digital, so please read his blog post here!)

So, Michael - who had shaved, thanx God! - and Jefferson played all videos that had been completed thus far, and discussed each video after we'd seen it. Later on, they explained that the video for "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" was almost ready for the screening, but they could not adjust it for the video projector on time; and James Franco is yet to complete the two videos that he is directing.

Instead of me retelling Michael's words, I have filmed all discussions and embedded them below, so enjoy! The highlight for me was Michael's confession that he was really worried about Mike Mills's reaction to the controversial video for "Walk It Back", so below you'll learn how he eventually persuaded Mike to greenlight the video. laughing

The only segment that I did not film was the final questions-and-answers session with the people from the audience asking questions; so I will retell it briefly. When asked why the band is not touring, Michael flatly said: "Because I didn't want to." And he added that these video screenings are actually his own tour! He announced that he would soon be hosting similar events in Austin TX at the SXSW festival, and in New York City. When asked how he felt about letting the directors interpret the songs themselves, without Michael's personal interference, he explained that it wasn't easy for him because he's a bit of a control freak; however, he said that a majority of the chosen directors are either his friends, or people that he had collaborated with before (or both), so he trusted them, and he was really happy with the final results.

I managed to ask two questions: the first one was whether they plan to release these films on a DVD. Michael said that they hadn't discussed this with their record company yet, but that he definitely intended to release them on a future DVD. I also asked him which song from Collapse Into Now was the most difficult to complete. Surprisingly, he said that "Uberlin" was the most difficult song, that he rewrote the lyrics at least eight times before he was happy with them. He joked that the band wants us to believe that all songs were done effortlessly; but that in reality, of course, it's not always the case.

As you will see, throughout the session Michael was very funny and animated. No sign of the "aloof, quiet Michael" that the journalists like to portray; quite the opposite, he is a very intelligent guy with a wonderful sense of humour.

This is just a brief recount of the events, so feel free to ask questions! And enjoy the photos and videos!

Love y'all, Ivana

Uberlin

Mine Smell Like Honey

It Happened Today

All The Best

Walk It Back

Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter

Discoverer

Oh My Heart