Michael StipeVocals
Peter BuckGuitar
Mike MillsBass
Bill BerryDrums1980-1997

R.E.M. Artistfacts

  • Songwriting credits (and royalties) are shared equally regardless of who wrote the song. This is one reason they have been around so long, as many bands have broken up over who gets writing credits.
  • Stipe produced the 1999 movie Being John Malkovich. He is often mistaken for Malkovich.
  • R.E.M. did two MTV "Unplugged" specials. The first was in 1991, the second in 2001.
  • Stipe used to claim that he could predict earthquakes. He said he got a nasty headache a few days before they hit.
  • When the band was asked if REM stood for Rapid Eye Movement, they said, "REM stands for nothing, but will lie down for anything." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kevin - Avon, OH
  • Stipe had scarlet fever when he was 2.
  • Mills and Berry were in a lounge act with their high school music teacher. They would dress up and play at weddings and country clubs. But at least they could play. Stipe once explained: "When we started out, Buck couldn't really play the guitar and I couldn't sing. We were like a speed metal band when we started."
  • Stipe studied painting and photography at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where the band formed. The band contributes a lot of money and time to keeping Athens beautiful. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Maria - Atlanta, GA
  • They don't print lyrics with their albums. Stipe explained that fans often have better interpretations than the actual words.
  • Berry quit the band in 1997 after he suffered a near fatal brain aneurysm. He decided to take life at a slower pace and became a farmer. Every now and then he would play with R.E.M. at live shows. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    scott - Bismarck, ND
  • Stipe's sister, Linda, was in a band called Oh-OK with Matthew Sweet around the same time R.E.M. was forming. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Marvin - East Brady, PA
  • Michael Stipe has discussed his sexuality from time to time, but prefers not to. In a 2001 Time magazine story, he said he had been in a relationship with a man for the last three years. Ten years later, he told The Observer, "I definitely prefer men to women."
  • Stipe and Natalie Merchant were a romantic couple in the late '80s when Natalie was lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs.
  • They originally called themselves the Twisted Kites before deciding on the name R.E.M. while flipping through a dictionary.
  • They were named "Best Band in America" by Rolling Stone magazine in 1987.
  • Disgusted with an early video, Stipe swore off lip-synching in videos for the duration of the 1980s. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 3
  • In his spare time, Michael Stipe enjoys making replicas of everyday objects that interest him using bronze or birch plywood. His sculptures include a Polaroid camera, a microcassette and a newspaper.
  • On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. issued a statement on their website, declaring that they were "calling it a day as a band." Asked by Rolling Stone how the breakup came about, Peter Buck recalled:

    "We were doing the last record, [2011's] Collapse Into Now. We hadn't made an announcement or anything. We got together, and Michael said, 'I think you guys will understand. I need to be away from this for a long time.' And I said, 'How about forever?' Michael looked at Mike, and Mike said, 'Sounds right to me.' That's how it was decided."
  • Peter Buck played the same black Rickenbacker guitar on every single R.E.M record. He told Mojo in 2017: "That's the only physical thing of ownership that I would miss if it was gone. It got stolen on the last R.E.M tour and we had to ransom it back. I really didn't like the idea of some creep-thief holding it."
  • R.E.M. played their first concert together as band at a friend's birthday party on April 5, 1980. The venue was an abandoned Athens, Georgia, church. Mills recalled on the PBS show Speakeasy, that the band's first show "was crazy," while noting, "Athens was a very tight, insular sort of crowd at that point, and everybody there knew each other."

Comments: 18

  • Jennifer Davies from PennsylvaniaWhat songs are about River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain?
  • Kenneth James Lindsay from Oakland Park Fl.I love the song "Everybody Hurts Sometime"
  • Sam from 99705Why don't people dig R.E.M? There name literally got picked from a medical dictionary, which is so stupid it's cool.
  • David from London, Ont. CanadaSorry, I spent relevant wrong and another notable band influenced by the Pixies was Radiohead. There are plenty more. I read that Stipe hated videos do to lip singing - which is crazy cause the Pixies never did videos for the same reason. As for comments about band members marriages and personal life things like Stipe's sexual preference. It is all irrelevant and facts I don't care about. Does when someone got married, divorced rtor who they choose to sleep w/ have any relevance on their music/art? If any of that personal crap is what you base what music you listen to then you are a tool. If Stipe decided to be a proud gay lead singer then it would take away from the groups music and would make the worst part of the job - interviews, even more unbarable. The focus would start coming away from the music and put on his sexuality. That and Gay people everywhere would pressure him to be a spokesman/leader of Gay Rights causes - like Prop 8 and Same sex Marriage. Great scene in Radiohead's doc, Meeting People Is Easy. They are being interviewed and the interviewer asks them (what they thought was a witty question) "What is the Stupidest Question you have ever been asked." Silence... then they cut away. Totally brilliant. Well stupid you just asked it. Anyway, so leaving useless facts about the groups personal lives are useless and irrelevant. If the media did not make such a big thing out of Kurt Cobain's or Shannon Hoon's drug problem they might still be w/ us.
  • David from London, Ont. Canada1st I just need to say that Chris from the UK. I am glad to hear that you were musically reborn. Nickleback is my countries shame. Good Charlotte is another band that is only use is to torture people. No Joke. When I was 10 or 11 I heard Stand and was instantly a fan. I can't really stand the song now but being so young and I guess their music being so young it was a great fit. I think that UP is a horrible Album - but Daysleeper makes it a positive experience for me. I relate to that song so much. Back to the Album before they got commercial success w/ Losing my Religion. The most overlooked and my favourite R.E.M song is You Are The Everything. It is such a complete, beautiful song. Musically and Lyrically. Another kick ass tune is It's the End of the World (and I feel fine) I wish they played You Are The Everything LIVE. R.E.M and The Pixies were the only American bands making relivent music - starting a new phenomenon; which is the importance of College Radio. Oh, and Sonic Youth too of course. Both R.E.M and the Pixies influenced so many 90's bands. From Nirvana (who loved Stipe and R.E.M and when asked what his favourite album of the 80's was by Everett True, Cobain said it was the Steve Albini produced Album Surfer Rosa by the Pixies. Dave Grohl must have favoured Doolittle because the 1st couple Foo Albums were produced by Gil Norton. When Nirvana took In Utero to the record co. DGC (Geffen). They were speechless w/ horror. So, they turned to R.E.M's long time producer/engineer - Scott Litt, so he could mess around w/ a couple tunes that were likely to be singles. Heart Shaped Box and All Apologies. I have done no fact checking. Doing it from memory but I am positive I have the important pts. accurate. I might have got off topic but whatever it all ties in. R.E.M's A Perfect Square Live Concert is AMAZING! Orange Crush rules! Set design is cool too and set list does not get much better!
  • Sarah from Quincy, IlBill and his (first?) wife, whose marriage was childless, divorced the same week that he left the band. I do not know if he has remarried, but he has a son named Owen who was born around 2002.
  • Sarah from Quincy, IlAn update: Peter and his attorney wife divorced in 2007. There is a picture him with his kids in the "Hello!" book, and I recently found out that Zoe is the one with short hair wearing a blue t-shirt, and Zelda has long hair and is wearing a white tank top.
  • Chris from Newcastle Upon Tyne, United KingdomOMG, R.E.M, my favourite band of all time.
    In around 2002/3, I was just watching the hits and bad day came on, and it was like nothing I'd ever heard before, cryptic lyrics, a great chorus, cool video and although I didn't understand all of it, I knew it was deep and meaningful. I went to my mum and said, mum have you heard of this amazing band called rem, then she went, they're called R.E.M and said she liked them too.
    That christmas I got their greatest hits in time 1988-2003, and it was like nothing I'd ever heard (bare in mind I had been listening to Nickleback and Good Charlotte before this) but recently I've got really into music, before it was just to interest me, and I've read all about them, and got loads more of their cd's.
    They entered the mainsteam 1991, but they never changed themselves to do so, they toured for like ten years before they made it, nowadays any old rubbish makes it, they just are themselves, and don't care what people think. On the release of Accelerate I read in a magazine that they looked like a bunch of geography teachers, are they going to change?
    They have no clear influences, and no clear followers, no band has ever been really like them, and no band ever will, and due to their individuality and overall greatness, they are for me the best band ever.
  • Lindsay from Delland , FlREM is one of my favorite bands , Michael Stipe's vocals are so strong .
    Thanks for the music guy's !!!!!!
  • Naioka from Sptsyltuckey, VaI love R.E.M.! I have since I was a little kid, watching concerts on t.v. with my dad. They have a timeless sound that cannot be reproduced by ANY other artist ever...
  • Polita from Yellowknife, Ytthey are really cool
  • Matthew from Milford, MaAwesome band... truly awesome band...
  • K from Toronto, Canada"So. Central Rain", man...one of their best tunes.
  • Caitlin from A City, NcR.E.M. has printed lyrics with some of their albums: Up, Reveal, In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003, and Around The Sun.
  • Ray from Concord, CaI don't remember where I read it, but my understanding is that R.E.M. = Remember Every Moment. I think one of the Bands Mom or Grandma said it. But, my memory is bad.
  • Sarah from Quincy, IlMy favorite R.E.M. factoid is that those explosions at the end of "We Walk" are actually colliding billiard balls recorded at half speed.

    My second favorite factoid is that Peter's wife was a high school valedictorian and is a licensed but non-practicing attorney.

    Also, there is a doctor in Athens, GA named William Barry (he's a dermatologist) and a lawyer in Seattle, where Peter now lives, named Peter L. Buck.
  • Paul from Perth, AustraliaR.E.M was named after michael picked up a dictionary opened it up and pointed to whatever word his finger landed on. with his eyes closed and vowed to stick with it!
  • Knox from Marysville, MiMichael Stipe's full name is John Michael Stipe.
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