Transcripts: Pageantry

Pageantry

Peter Buck: Part One – begin a short history on a derivation of a pop band!
Mike Mills: All it took was a party! We decided to play at a friend’s birthday party and have some fun… wrote ten songs, got ten covers, and played at a friend of ours’ birthday party. And that was it.
Peter: That’s the kind of thing that happened in Georgia, particularly in Athens. The B-52s were notorious characters before they went to be in the band. The guys would stand in the corner, wearing dresses, playing trombones and stuff, you know, blow people’s minds. But then they started playing at parties and it just made such complete sense. They played at two parties, one club and – they’re famous…
Mike: … and they’re in New York!
Peter: Yeah, they move to New York, buy a building, you know, that kind of stuff. But that was that kind of a time, 1980, when anyone could do anything. Why not. Lots of painters working at art schools thought: yeah, why not, rock’n’roll is kinda valid way to do it… I came from another perspective; I’ve always listened to rock’n’roll and just thought it would be fun to do it, so why not play at someone’s kitchen.

More History: “My Throat Hurts”

Mike: It was odd, people decided to have at their parties – rather than to play records – they would have the newest band to go and play. The idea then was – dance; play something that everybody could dance to. And it was great because the first time I heard Love Tractor was at a party…
Peter: They were in a stairwell…
Mike: … in a hallway…
Peter: … of this guy’s falling apart old Victorian house…
Mike: … rickety house…
Peter: … it was like boards hanging outside, and there were these three guys crammed under the stairs playing! It was very neat…
Mike: [laughs] … and very loud!
Peter: Was Bill playing with them at that time?
Mike: No, it was Kit [Schwartz], Mark [Cline] and Mike [Richmond].
Peter: But Bill was in Love Tractor – our drummer…
Mike: … very briefly, at the time he was in R.E.M….
Peter: … for about two months, ‘cause their drummer left or something, I can’t remember what the story was. But I think he played outdoors. Did he play that party with David Gamble, when he made that beer… no John Sear had that beer that he made…
Mike: … oh, homemade beer, uhhhh…
Peter: He had a garbage can full of this brown muck, and you dip in and you have a cup, and after four cups you went crazy!
Mike: [cracks up]
Peter: The last thing I remember is David Gamble hitting Vanessa [Hay] on the head with a shoe! And everybody is howling and yelling and there’s Love Tractor playing with Bill on drums! Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that most of us came up doing, playing at those kinds of parties.
Mike: Athens was so totally unselfconscious at that time. You know, we could do anything and nobody would think twice about it. No idea that there was actually a scene going on.

Being In A Band: “Hurrah We’re All Free Now”

Peter: Boy, I didn’t, we didn’t give any forethought to it whatsoever, to being in a band and what we were gonna do with our career. I mean, career?! That was a dirty word…
Mike: [It was] hobby…
Peter: It was what we did when we weren’t working in a newspaper or at a record store. Mike was an inserter in a local newspaper, which isn’t nearly as interesting as it sounds!
Mike: … working in a mailroom, it was no good…
Peter: … he put ads in the magazine! And we just thought: yeah, let’s do this. And as it slowly but surely took over our lives… you know, none of us liked working at those kinds of jobs…
Mike: And we had to quit school… darn…
Peter: Boy oh boy…
Mike: That was the hardest part.
Peter: I think Bill had his ticket home in his hand when the band started…
Mike: … You can’t fire me, I quit!
Peter: So within a year we were more or less a professional band. Professional in a sense that…
Mike: … we got paid for it!
Peter: But it was certainly not… I mean we didn’t do this for fame and fortune. Although I like ‘em both. I’d rather have more fortune and less fame.

More On The Band: “I Can”

Peter: Gosh… I think the day that we actually thought about it is the day we signed our record contract with IRS. I remember Mike and I were walking downtown and…
Mike: … walking down the street and thinking: “This might actually happen, it might work.”
Peter: We were laughing and we were like: “We got a record deal!” And it was totally impossible because nobody I ever knew ever had a record deal, apart from the B-52s. It just didn’t happen. We were walking and thinking: “This is really great!” Still we had to go to a certain pizza place to drink – that’s where my girlfriend works – because we didn’t have any money. It was like: “Hey, we’re in a band! This could really be something great!”
Mike: “Give us some free beer!”
Peter: We had free drink when we signed the contract! And I guess that was the day when we said: “Yeah, we could do this for a while.” But it probably wasn’t until a year or two after that we realised that we would probably be doing this forever.

Transcribed from R.E.M. – When the Light is Mine… The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 Video Collection (2006)
Return to Transcripts


Leave a Reply