Michael Stipe was friends with both Kurt Cobain and the actor River Phoenix. Speaking during Radio 1's Evening Session Show in 1994 he reflected how their deaths contributed to the making of Monster
"We feel like we reached a zenith with that record," he said. "River's death prevented me from being able to write for almost five months. When I did start writing I came up with 'Crush With Eyeliner
,' 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
,' 'Circus Envy' and then when Kurt died halfway through making the record and I just threw my arms up and I had to express the frustration that I had, trying to pull him out of the state of mind he was in and not succeeding you know, I wrote that song ('Let Me In') and we put it on the record."