27 February 2011

Professor Mike – UPDATE 2

Hello friends! The wacky title will start to make sense as soon as you have read the new interview with Mike Mills (and Michael Stipe), published in the latest issue of Italian Rolling Stone. Our friend Dol has translated the introduction and Mike’s Q&A, while the Stipe portion of the interview was quite dull, practically they didn’t mention music at all, so we left it for another occasion. Read Dol’s translation here, and she has also scanned the entire feature (boo, only Stipe is photographed!) for our Press Gallery.

Also, Kirsten has scanned for us the reviews of Collapse Into Now from German and American editions of Rolling Stone, as well as a few other R.E.M.-related pages, so view them all in the Press Gallery.

Finally, I have bought latest issue of MOJO (April 2011). Collapse Into Now gets a very favourable review, but a 3 out of 5 stars rating!? It looks like a majority of critics agree that the album is fine, it’s just not very daring. Oh well, I suppose that after several decades of non-stop experimentation, R.E.M. are allowed to sit back and reflect on their legacy, right?

UPDATE: Here’s the scan from MOJO:

UPDATE 2: And here’s another scan from MOJO – Mr Peter Buck speaks! (and looks very dapper, despite the hair) happy Hope this will keep you entertained until I upload the second part of Dol’s translation.

28 Responses to “Professor Mike – UPDATE 2”

  1. Ivana Says:

    Dol, is it okay to share your translation and scans with folks on Murmurs and/or Facebook? happy

  2. Arek Says:

    I wish Scott and Rieflin to be the band members, they’re both great, especially I love Bill, he’s excellent drummer.
    I’m also the fan of Buck and Mills more than Stipe, in recent years he’s more intersted in different things outside R.E.M. Especially since he came out, his behaviour became strange. So I really love this site. Greetings.
    Ps: I admire Mike, he is great gentleman in a big way.

  3. Ivana Says:

    Greetings, Arek! kiss
    Btw, what do you guys think, is it possible that one of the major reasons for R.E.M.’s diminished popularity in the U.S. is Stipe’s now acknowledged queerness? confused I mean, in the early days of R.E.M., journalists were obsessed with Stipe-the-elusive, they tried to solve this enigma, and his mystique (hyped up by press) was a major factor of the band’s overall apeal. Since Stipe came out, it seems to me that press (especially in the U.S.) has pretty much lost interest in him.
    Just my observation. i dont know

  4. Arek Says:

    Yes, I think it is true (about diminishing popularity). I really love the mistery of the band and the band members. But on the other hand it is in good manners not to tell about or show off with girlfriend/boyfriend. We don’t now anything about Mike’s women in his life and this is really great. It tells about the man that he is gentleman.
    Mike talks only about music, because we are here, we’re fans, because of music. That’s my opinion. Forgive me Michael! You were great in the ’80 until late ’90.
    Besides he once said he’s bi, later he changed his mind and became queer! that’s not fair.
    I also think that contract with Warners (very lucrative) was the reason number 2 (or even maybe no.1). People thought: they record for money after they had signed it.

  5. Dol Says:

    Of course you can share on murmurs and facebook all this, Ivana! I will soon translate also the Stipe part. Promise.

  6. Ivana Says:

    Thanks dear! Btw I’ve scanned Mojo, I’ll upload it in a minute.

  7. Linda Says:

    Well,I think you are on the money there, Ivana, and that maybe the fact that the “mystery” and the potential “taint” that queerness attached to Michael in the early years did add to the press fever. After all, those were the days where bisexuality, or homosexuality was still a taboo, and looked at as abnormal and strange. Michael did say he was “queer” much earlier in his career than was “touted” by the press stated when he was around 40. Arek, and everyone, there is a really interesting interview with Michael at http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/4733 where he discusses how some members of the gay community are upset that he does not claim absolute homosexuality, but that he won’t because he is not strictly speaking,a homosexual. He desires men and women, albeit on a scale of 7 men to 3 womenbig grin. He also dicusses the reason he didn’t openly parade his lovers( male and female) in public.The interview also discusses his book”On the Road With Patti Smith” as well as the music and the band. Rose is a great interviewer and Michael is obviously at ease with him. Like everything the press does, they take one statement and blow it out of proportion.Now that he is in a long-term, monogamous relationship that he doesn’t hide, and that is more commonplace today,there is nothing for the press to ferret out! Add to that the fact that Mike and Peter are ordinary( not really but you know what I mean) heterosexuals,who have had steady relationships over the years,the music and their political views are the only things for the press to talk about when it comes to the band.Michael has said that he gets tired of hearing himself speak, so he figures others must as well.In addition, he always states that Mike and Peter are more well-spoken and better educated than he, and he feels very uncomfortable speaking since he sometimes has difficulty organizing his thoughts. He does often stammer when trying to express himself in a pressure-type situation. The fact that this is a band where the only scandal the press could produce was Peter’s “air rage” incident (of which he was cleared), makes them a pretty uninteresting topic for the papparazzi and press who only want to sensationalize bad behaviourphbbbbt Our guys have always impressed me with their gentle good manners, gentlemanly behaviour, and respect for their friends family and loves. By being private individuals, they have always protected the ones they care about, and I think they are admirable men.

    And Arekhappy..As to Stipey’s outside artistic endeavours, he has always been a visual artist with his photography and film work.He did start out as a photography student at the University of Georgia. He has been responsible for all of the band’s videos and artwork,album covers, as well as the videos and background effects at live concerts, and I think his lyrics are so successful because they do paint a very visual image for listeners to experience. It would seem to me that he has an enormous amount of responsibility for SO much of the band’s visual appeal.Maybe that is why he is not anxious to tour…wants to create wonderful and fresh effects for the concerts, and remember, he is handling the output of the videos for each new song on CIN.All of those projects are time and energy-consuming. I have a GREAT deal of admiration for the manapplause I have known several people like him( all visual artists) and they do see the world differently from most of uswinking Our Mike once said in an interview, that the band, as they are now, have embraced and become the grown up version of who they were as young men( paraphrased, of course).

    That would make sense since Mike has always played instruments and he came from a very musical family. He has become more of a musician, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, advisor and producer to other bands, while Peter does his thing….rocking out with every band he can, just doing the “guitar god” thing, and partying with the boys. Michael has embraced his inner artist and has developed that aspect of his life. While the other guys are rockin’ he’s sculpting, photographing and following his own muse, just as they arenerdd LORDY!!THey are a terrific bunch of guys, and may they all continue to create great music( and art happy for all of us to enjoy. ( Sorry to be so long-winded. I didn’t realize I had quite so much to say)worried

  8. Ivana Says:

    Amen Linda! And don’t worry, we don’t have a word limit here. happy

    I do appreciate Stipe’s diverse artistic endeavours and interests, I just don’t want him to forget that he’s a singer and frontman too! Music has been his bread and butter for the past 30 years – not fine arts and films. So yeah, he’s a musician first and foremost, whether he likes it or not. dancing

    And Arek is right too – the megabucks record deal did play a part in R.E.M.’s declining reputation. Heck, from time to time even I get the impression that they’re still in it mostly for the money… worried Hell I’m not complaining, but we’ll see what happens after the notorious contract expires – if they continue to make music, they’ll prove me wrong.

  9. Linda Says:

    Of Course, you are right Ivana about Michael being a singer front man first. Maybe the fact he is in a long-term relationship with a fellow photographer( 12 years and counting?) and the fact that Thomas, the boyfriend, has introduced him to people like Van Sant, De Joseph(?) and Moon, has created the desire to create more visually than musically. Then again, maybe being happy and content in his relationship has taken away the need to write powerful words of disillusionment like those in “Country Feedback and the anger-drive “One I Love.” Love is indeed a two-edged swordsad

    I am sure a lot of people think the boys sold-out when they signed with WB, but I really feel the biggest problem with their music came as a result of losing Bill Berry. Even Bertis cried when he tried to discuss it. Yet another Charlie Rose interview ( with the 3 guys) discusses this. It is absolutely clear that they were DEVASTATED and didn’t know what to do next. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/1740 I think they maybe need to boot Michael in the arse from time to time, but also, I feel their hearts are in the right place musically. I hope we are both ( all) going to be happy with new albums in the near future. I am a raging OPTIMIST! big grin

  10. Linda Says:

    BTW….Thank you Dol for the translation and scan.laughing

  11. Ivana Says:

    Bill Berry sad

    As for Michael handling the band’s visual presentation etc. this is all I’m gonna say:

  12. Kirsten Says:

    Thanks Dol for the scans! Awesome. And also thanks Ivana for the Mojo scan!

    Oh BTW: Dol, Linda isn’t laughing at you as the smiley would suggest, but the character string ” : ) ) ” makes it turn into a laughing smiley… Unwanted smilies seem to happen a lot here (see my first translation part of the German interview with the sleepy smiley instead of (holi- )day) big grin


    At least Collapse Into Now got a decent rating in the German Rolling Stone (4 out of 5 stars, = formidable) (see here in one of my latest scans for quick reference: http://mikemillsfan.com/wp-content/gallery/scans-press-archive-german-rolling-stone/r-e-m-_rs_german__mar_2011_13.jpg). That’s pretty nice, to say the least happy If I can find the time, maybe I’ll translate that piece, too (no promises winking ).

    As for popularity changes: Well, speaking for myself, to me it doesn’t matter what kind of record deal they have as long as they make good music. It only lets me admire them more for what big record deal they were able to seal and what they were overall capable of accomplishing.
    I think a major factor in their diminishing popularity has been that MTV started to drop them like a hot potato in the late 1990s. MTV once had a huge impact on contemporary pop culture and settings trends, and R.E.M. were like the darlings of MTV since Out of Time. Henceforth, from 1991 on, they were hyped by MTV to become not only their own darlings, but also the darlings of the masses. But then the tide turned. Sadly, that’s the way it goes with most popular artists – once the media throw someone to the scrap heap (because of not being hip enough anymore, not “in” or whatever shallow reason), it usually keeps heading south… Furthermore, “fame” just keeps on becoming a more and more fast-moving phenomenon.

    And so it may have become increasingly “uncool” to praise their albums highly because they’re not as popular (“famous” in terms of media presence and support) as they used to be. And once somebody starts to criticize or even bash someone, many people tend to follow that path in a sheeple kind of way and jump on the bandwagon of more or less slamming every output (of course these proceedings are not only limited to musicians).

    Also, it may be the case that to our present society, a society that is ever so hungering for innovation and reinvention, in the public opinion R.E.M. nowadays don’t deliver stuff that feels really new and fresh. Surely also partly due to their age, they have found their way and style. They produce a (relatively) constant output of very high-quality records that may lack a certain amount of innovation and reinvention for today’s tastes.
    But many people tend to forget that humans are creatures of habit, and like to hear music that sounds familiar. So I believe that not only die-hard fans, but also others that will listen to Collapse Into Now, will disagree with bad reviews. And we must not forget that these critics are single persons with a single opinion that most often does not reflect the opinion of the masses (sadly though, the critics are individuals with a huge influence on people’s opinions). As far as I’m concerned, having a signature sound can never be a bad thing as long as the songs are still beautiful, and never something that will affect my judgement of a piece of music.

    Long story short, I think that maybe the above mentioned argument of a fast-moving and reinvention-innovation-hungry society, as well as the ever so tiring and never ending comparison to a previous record (or more) that has a set public image of being a band’s “masterpiece” (why is the best work always providing like the reference standard? – that is neither fair nor reasonable), could be a reason for the mixed reception of Collapse Into Now.
    I would wish for the album to just be judged on its own.

  13. Linda Says:

    Thanks Kirsten…Those smileys creep up everywhere! Kirsten is correct Dol. I really appreciate the scans.I am NOT Laughing at themsad LOL Ivana. I still think Mike and Peter would rather be in a video, only if it is a “live version.” Didn’t Peter once say that they ( he and Mike) are not actors, and feel uncomfortable in front of the camera?( although I do think Mike is less camera shy than Buck). We will ahve to see what is offered in the videos coming uphappy

  14. Linda Says:

    Thanks Kirsten…Those smileys creep up everywhere! Kirsten is correct Dol. I really appreciate the scans.I am NOT Laughing at themsad LOL Ivana. I still think Mike and Peter would rather be in a video, only if it is a “live version.” Didn’t Peter once say that they ( he and Mike) are not actors, and feel uncomfortable in front of the camera?( although I do think Mike is less camera shy than Buck). We will ahve to see what is offered in the videos coming uphappy

    Kirsten, I agree with you….the album should be judged on it’s own merit. Hopefully the fans will win the day and the guys will forge ahead with new workwaiting

  15. Arek Says:

    Peter once said that he hated the videos and didn’t want to act in them. But I also want to see the whole band instead of Stipe alone!
    And Linda, I don’t think Thomas introduced DeJoseph to Michael. DeJoseph worked with band in the “Hi-Fi era”. He did the videos for New Test Lepper and Bittersweet Me.

  16. Arek Says:

    New Test Leper, of course, not “Lepper”!

  17. Linda Says:

    Ah…thanks Arekhappy I wasn’t sure of the connection to De Joseph. That is why I put the question mark!I do recall now reading in an earlier post here, that De Joseph directed the video for “Bittersweet Me.” That video was so superior to the latest one. We DID get to see all of the boys. Let’s hope the rest of the videos do just that. I want to see all of them together as well. More close-ups of Mike would be right up there on my listwinking

  18. Linda Says:

    Reading your post Kirsten and I agree that people( especially in the U.S. and Canada) are constantly looking for “new.” Unfortunately, they are getting boring pap with every “new” female singer sounding exactly like either Britney or Beyonce. A lot of vocal pyrotechnics with the latter but no substance, and the little sex kitten pop princess with the former. BORING. Add to that the “boy bands” and the likes of Justin Bieber, and there you have radio today. Sickening really. The only diversion from that format is the rap crapsad

    Do we blame the record companies, the “sheeple” who blindly follow the trends, or the radio who plays this garbage??? Thank goodness R.E.M, The Posies, The Decemberists, The National and even Radiohead have been and continue to provide us with some great music instead of the stuff the kids are listening to. Parents need to educate their children! My kids listen to all kinds of music( not that I am a perfect parent, by any means) but at least they have been exposed to great music over the years, and all of them have diverse and eclectic musical taste. I may not like some of their music, but at least they are exploring and experimenting. OH…..and NONE of them listen to the Rihannas, Justins, etc.

  19. Arek Says:

    Good point with this radio crap. We should blame the radio and media as a whole, to put this kind of music in every area. Radio, TV, media, should educate and earn money too, of course, but nowadays they only do that second thing (earn money). the Record companies were made to promote good music and by this music, to educate kids. They were promoting great artists in the ’60 and ’70 like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Clapton and many more! What they have for Us now? Completely nothing. Justin Bieber, Britney, Rihanna, no kidding! Poor kids!
    The technic today offer these kids incredible possibilities to clean, polish the records in the studio.
    I don’t even know if they can still sing live, without playback!
    Here in Poland we’ve got the same problem with tv and radio. No good music clips, no good films, no good music on the radio.
    We have a lot of stations which present their program on the whole area of my country, and only one is a little underground,who play REM and promote their new record COLLAPSE.
    But what should we do? Everybody has to find new artists and good music on his own hand.
    Have a great day to all of You…

  20. Auctioneer Says:

    As a teenager myself, I can happily tell everyone here that people in my age group have such a MASSIVE taste variation when it comes to music! Believe it or not, most of those in my year at school actually prefer bands such as Bullet for My Valentine as opposed to the manufactured pop that we see so much of today. If anything, it would seem that the media is pulling the wool over our eyes here: we get told everyone likes a certain artist, and that results in the listener accepting the artist as a huge hit, regardless of album sales. (And of course, sales will eventually skyrocket anyway.) Let’s say Warner Bros. gave R.E.M. the same amount of publicity as… oh, I dunno, Justin Bieber – I guarantee that, even if most people didn’t like R.E.M., the band would still become a household name within a few weeks. We loathe Justin’s music… but we’re discussing it, aren’t we? Like the PR guys say: “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” happy

    At least among 14-17 year olds these days, music preferences vary a lot. I have a feeling it’s the young girls who listen to ‘Pop Party’ albums that are making record companies churn out the same old rubbish. sad

    Yours truly,

    P.S. In response to Linda’s comment about the music videos – wouldn’t it be great to have another “Near Wild Heaven”? Lots of lovely close-ups of Mike on that one! big grin
    Just a thought tongue

  21. Arek Says:

    Near wild heaven is great. Your thought is brilliant. Since Up every rem’s video concentrate only on Stipe. I miss the old days!!! (clips like Sidewinder, Find the River, Bang and Blame, cant get there from here, every from Hi-Fi)

  22. Dol Says:

    #Linda and Kirsten: Don’t worry, girls! I’m not offended by the emoticon. I laughed for the post’s title! big grin

    P.S.: A big thanks to Ivana, who corrected my lame translation.

  23. Linda Says:

    MMMMM…Near Wild Heaven and Mikey Millsbig grin How lovelylove struck

    Auctioneer, I am SO pleased to hear you say that about your friends and their musical taste! Great music will always find it’s way to those who really appreciate it. I just wish it wasn’t so darned hard to find it on the radio sad

    You make an excellent point as well ,Auctioneer, regarding the lack of publicity and marketing by WB. They have really dropped the ball, and I think you are correct. Put the music out there, give it the same hype as the Bieb gets, and you would have a more popular R.E.M. , even at their ages today. It will be interesting to see what the boys do next…nail biting I was thinking the other day, “where are the college students on all of this?” Are college radio stations playing the music? I hate to say this, but I think you and your friends may be an anomaly, Auctioneer. So many of the students I taught( a VERY large percentage),had parents who coddled them, gave them everything, did their assignments for them ( and went to the administration reaging at me, when I would not mark the assignment because it was not the student’s work), and unfortunately these kids have gone on to universities and colleges with out any sense of self and responsibility. They cannot think for themselves. Mom and Dad are still trying to bail them out and think for themsad I hope there are a lot of students like you and your pals,Auctioneer, who will carry on, rebel against injustice, rock out with your individuality and “show the kids how to do it…” to quote a very intelligent lyricist and band.winking

  24. Arek Says:

    We are at the same level here in Poland, Linda. Parents do everything for their kids, do too much, I think. The distance between home and school is half a mile, but kid don’t go that on foot. Parents always give them a lift, there and back. parents always watch over children, think for them, do everything they want. It’s more than the Guardian Angels do!
    After that children grow up and are completely helpless, perplexed!

  25. Linda Says:

    It’s a sad state of affairs Arek sad I thought it was just a North American phenomenon. These overly pampered kids are in for a rude awakening when the real world hits them!

  26. Auctioneer Says:

    Hehe, I think I may fall under that category of “perplexed children” – I can’t cook for the life of me, and I have a feeling that when I leave home I’m going to be accidentally sleeping in a lot more. tongue

    Oh well, as long I can sort out the food situation… Pot Noodles all round! big grin

  27. Linda Says:

    I have a feeling you are going to be just FINE Auctioneerlaughing

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