Sandra-Lee Phipps, REM HQ It was this week some 30 years ago that Athens, GA…
- Posted on Sep 21st 2011 1:33PM by Joshua Ostroff
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."
After the initial post, the band members included their own personal thoughts on calling it quits after more than three decades.
"A wise man once said -- 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it," wrote R.E.M.'s frontman Michael Stipe. "I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way. We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It's been amazing."
Bassist Mike Mills helped put R.E.M.'s break-up into perspective: "During our last tour, and while making 'Collapse Into Now' and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, 'what next'? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.
"We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this -- there's no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We've made this decision together, amicably and with each other's best interests at heart. The time just feels right."
"One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us," added guitarist Peter Buck. "It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.
"Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it's only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world."
The trio, along with drummer Bill Berry formed R.E.M. in 1980, kicking off their career with the indie single 'Radio Free Europe.' By the mid-'80s, they had become college radio's flagship band and went mainstream during the alt-rock revolution with 1991's 'Out of Time'' and the following year's all-time classic 'Automatic for the People.'
Though Berry quit in the late-'90s, R.E.M. continued on touring and releasing records, including 2008's critically acclaimed 'Accelerate' and this past March's 'Collapse Into Now,' both of which debuted in the Billboard Top 5. R.E.M. was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
(In perhaps related R.E.M. news, word came out today that Michael Stipe posted photos of his penis, among other pictures in a collage, on his now-NSFW Tumblr blog Confessions_of_a_Michael_Stipe.)