07 July 2010

Berlin Update… And More

It’s good to know that R.E.M. are not only working hard in Berlin, trying to finish their eagerly awaited 15th album, but also having fun and supporting their friends who happen to play gigs in the city. Last week Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey performed with Pearl Jam at Wuldeheide Park, and on Monday, the entire band (yeah, all five of them – Peter, Scott, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Bill Rieflin!) joined Patti Smith onstage at Zitadelle. R.E.M.’s manager Bertis Downs has sent a report, plus several photos and a video clip, so head over to REMhq now. Even better, our own Karin was at the concert, so hopefully she will send us some photos and her report soon!

Also, I’ve been scanning my collection of magazines and books systematically, so next up is the fabulous Q Magazine! As a starter, I have scanned features from two issues: one is from 1992, when the band were at the peak of their creative and commercial power, collecting accolades for Out Of Time and getting ready to release Automatic For The People. As was customary at the time, Peter and Mike did most of the talking, but the feature captured the entire band in great mood. Fast forward 16 years, it is April 2008, R.E.M. grace the cover of Q and reflect on a very difficult decade behind them. They honestly assess their ups and downs, both professional and personal. Now, the journalist seems determined to tell the rise-and-fall, gloom-and-doom, skeletons-in-the-closet kind of story, so he asks the trio of Peter and two Michaels the same stupid questions, desperate to squeeze some juicy gossip out of them. Fortunately the trio are way too interview-savvy to be tricked into this, and the fact that the text is accompanied with some great photos makes it more tolerable. tongue So, click on the snazzy thumbnail and read away!

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13 Responses to “Berlin Update… And More”

  1. Ivana Says:

    You know what amuses me? When journalists go: ahh, Around The Sun sold *only* 2 million copies worldwide. I mean, that’s effin’ 2 million, i.e. more than 99% of the artists can ever hope to sell.

  2. Kay in KCMO Says:

    Yeah, I thought that, too. Who wouldn’t want to sell 2 million of anything they created?

    Could you or someone else translate something for me? At the bottom of page 46 of the Q magazine article you just posted there’s a sidebar and one of the headlines is “Wally-free activism.” What does “Wally-free” mean? I’m an ignorant North American. happy

  3. Ivana Says:

    To be honest, I have no idea. Obviously the journalist is more erudite than us mere mortals. nerd Maybe he was referring to Wally the comic book character – you know, the slacker: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wally_(Dilbert)

  4. Elena Says:

    I mean, after all these years I still don’t see anything wrong with Around the Sun?! Call me crazy, but there are several songs that I really like – I Wanted to Be Wrong, Leaving New York, The Outsiders, Boy in the Well, Aftermath… OK the lyrics are not exactly “Shiny Happy People” and I am not all that crazy about the way the album is produced, but in general I feel that ATS is somewhat underrated… sad

  5. Ivana Says:

    Well if I may say it aloud, obviously the main problem was that Peter HATED the album, and he made sure EVERYONE knew that he hated it and wasn’t involved with it. I’d say that it was his attitude that influenced the fans’ and journalists’ attitudes – at least to some degree.

    Kind of reminds me of how Bill Berry and Peter threw shit on Fables when it was first released – like, Fables sucked, we were miserable, Joe Boyd was a disappointment etc. So they created this bias against Fables, and it took years – nay, decades – to clean up its name.

  6. Elena Says:

    You might be right. So, in the year 2029 the whole world will finally understand the deep significance of ATS on the occasion of its 25th anniversary… rolling on the floor

  7. Prost Says:

    I liked only two songs from ATS…Ascent of Man,The worst joke ever..Interestingly these two I did not like initially..But they grew upon me..Rest of the songs reverse happened..I liked the songs initially but I hate it now..Accelerate also did not measure up to REM standards..UP and Reveal were great albums but underrated..

  8. Ivana Says:

    Most songs from ATS sound better live. For example my fave, Electron Blue – the studio version is plinky-plonky lame, but the live version kicks butt.

    As for Accelerate, I’ll be posting something shortly, it kind of explains some problems with that particular record. winking

  9. Dol Says:

    And you know why they sound better live? IMHO of course. Because Mike added his harmonies. For me ATS is not an R.E.M. album, but is for the most part a Michael Stipe solo album. I can’t feel the energy between the three members. I can’t hear the powerful sound of the bass, I can’t listen any harmonies or backing vocals (that make Accelerate more than a good album, and in a my top 5 ranking, actually).

  10. Ivana Says:

    Agree 100%! I must find Peter’s interview where he said that Michael was taking so long to record the vocals, and they were so behind the schedule, that Mike didn’t have the time to add backing vocals.

    *off to look for that interview*

  11. Ivana Says:


    Fans found it especially alarming that “Around the Sun” lacked the R.E.M. staple of Mills singing backup to Stipe. “Mike is really one of the best backup singers of all time,” Buck said. “But with the last record, Michael didn’t put any vocals down until the last week of recording, which didn’t give Mike any time to do anything with them.”


  12. Dol Says:

    One Kudos for Peter (and 2 for you Ivana!) -3 for Mister Stipe that takes too long to write his lyrics tongue

  13. Ivana Says:

    *high 5*

    Peter knows what he’s talking about. winking

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