Michael Stipe - Michael Stipe Formed R.e.m. To Be 'Cool'

Michael Stipe didn't realise being a musician was such hard work when he founded R.E.M.

The singer - who has just released the group's 15th studio album, 'Collapse Into Now', with bandmates Peter Buck and Mike Mills - admitted he only started the band to be "cool" and was clueless about what it would entail.

He explained: "I didn't know until after we finished our second album that the bass guitar was the one that made the low notes. I got a band together when I was 15 because I thought it would be cool.

"It didn't occur to me that I would have to look great, sound great, write songs and go on tour. I wanted the romantic aspect of being in a band. The actual task was far more work than I expected."

While the band - minus retired drummer Bill Berry - have been together for over 20 years, Michael confessed they still fall out but have learned to choose their arguments carefully.

He told The Times newspaper: "We were fans of music first. That's always helped to define the choices we have made. And we still work in the same way we've always worked by give and take.

"I'll present my part and they offer opinion, and we have power of veto if we really hate something. Of course it's fraught with dispute and compromise. We all know how to push each other's buttons -or not- and when to lose the battle to win the war.

Michael also doesn't feel making albums has got any easier, with 'Collapse Into Now' taking the band two years to complete.

He said: "Writing can be incredibly fraught. Sometimes I'll be working on something for six months knowing it sucks after re-recording it eight times."


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Tags: Michael Stipe - Clueless - Mike Mills - Minus - Veto


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