Interviews: R.E.M. Close T in the Park

By Elizabeth Alker

R.E.M. brought T in the Park to a close last night (Sunday 13 July) and their bassist Mike Mills has been speaking exclusively to 6 Music about playing festivals and their mammoth tour which will continue until the end of the year.

R.E.M. are rock royalty since being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 but they still appreciate the chance to headline a U.K. festival:

“There are lots of ways to enjoy playing music. Small intimate clubs are great and then massive outdoor festivals are also great. To be able to get that many people moving always feels great.”

And R.E.M. will be enjoying playing live music for the majority of the year as they continue to tour the rest of Europe. The tour follows the release of their 14th studio album Accelerate, which came out March this year.

R.E.M. have chosen two British bands to accompany them for part of the jaunt. Both Editors and Guillemots will be part of their entourage and Mike explained how they chose their support:

“We always choose our support band. We get a list of who is available and then we go through the list and pick the bands we like. We try and choose people who we’d like to go and see ourselves.”

Mills said they were looking forward to touring with the Editors:

“I’ve never seen them but I like their records. Their music is very good and we covered one of their songs on Jo Whiley’s show once. They just know exactly what they’re doing.”

Mike was less familiar with the Guillemots but he was still a fan:

“I’ve not heard as much of the Guillemots’ music as I have Editors. But I’m still really looking forward to seeing them live. Like I say we only choose to tour with bands we like.”

It seems R.E.M.’s love of British bands doesn’t end there, as Mills revealed which other U.K. bands could be playing on the R.E.M. tour bus:

“We like the Zutons, British Sea Power and I really wanted to see the Ting Tings at T in the Park but we couldn’t get here in time.”

We Are Scientists will also be joining R.E.M. on part of their European tour. And it was rumoured that the American duo had requested that R.E.M. include some interpretive dance in their set. But Mills laughed these rumours off:

“We’ve discussed modern dance improvisation before because we toured with a band who had interpretive dance in their show. But, I don’t think it’s the R.E.M. way.”

R.E.M. have had more than 20 years in the business, so do they still get home sick when out on tour:

“Yes, you miss home and your family and your pets and your children. But this is the choice you’ve made and you take the good with the bad.”

Originally published on 14 July 2008 by BBC 6 Music

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