- READ MORE: R.E.M.: every single album ranked and rated
Mills recently appeared as a guest on LPM’s podcast Kyle Meredith With... to discuss the 25th-anniversary edition of ‘Up’, the band’s first LP following drummer Bill Berry’s departure.
While on the show, the former bassist revealed that R.E.M have many vault songs waiting to be released and said: “There’s a reason you haven’t heard most of it”. Elsewhere in the chat, he reflected on tracks such as ‘Airportman’, ‘Daysleeper’, and ‘Hope’ and explained why the band went for a more electronic sound.
“It was made under such difficult circumstances – the story is told and known that Bill had left the band. We were already leaning towards making a more electronic, machine-driven record, and Bill’s leaving accelerated that process,” he explained.
While speaking about the band’s 1998 LP, ‘UP’, he said: “We made a really remarkable record under remarkable circumstances,” referencing to the fact that any other musicians would have taken time away in order to process their feelings on losing a member, but R.E.M were “a stubborn bunch” and decided to go on with their work since demos were already in place.
Earlier this year, R.E.M announced a 25th- anniversary box-set of the album that included a Blu-ray disc of the band’s previously unreleased live set from their guest appearance on the hit TV series Party Of Five in 1999.
Speaking about the inclusion of the unreleased live-set, Mills said he enjoyed the “juxtaposition of putting a live show with our least live record. It gives a little humanity and organic feel that might not have been there if we had just put out the demos.”
He continued: “I’ll be honest with you, it wasn’t my idea. I like putting the demos on there, but it seemed like this was such a departure record for us that continuing to put demos and outtakes seemed a little out of character with this record.
“Because we had thrown out literally every rule we had when we made it, we just said there are no rules, so the other rules we were going to break were to fill it up with outtakes and demos – we’re gonna give something completely different to our most different record.”
During an interview with radio station WNYC to discuss the new Velvet Underground tribute compilation, Stipe responded to a 2019 Rolling Stone article that speculated over the likelihood of R.E.M. reforming, describing it as “wishful thinking at best”.
“We will never reunite. We decided when we split up that that would just be really tacky and probably money-grabbing, which might be the impetus for a lot of bands to get back together. We don’t really need that, and I’m really happy that we just have the legacy of the 32 years of work that we have,” he told All Of It host Alison Stewart.
Last month, the band’s former guitarist, Peter Buck opened up about whether he would ever want an R.E.M. reunion.
“When the non-musical stuff became so intense, it took away some of the pleasure for me,” Buck said, reflecting on the band’s success after they got “really big”.
“It’s just the stuff where you kind of wake up and go, ‘God, I don’t really want to have my picture taken today. And I don’t really want to pretend to be an actor in some video where I can’t act’.”
He continued: “I loved playing Glastonbury and playing in front of lots of people and selling multiple copies of records, but it was never the reason I did it. And when we got to the point where we decided that it was the end, it felt like a great shared experience. I wouldn’t change it, but I’m not going to go back to it.”
In other news, Stipe recently revealed that he is still working on his debut album, despite a number of delays in his creative process over the past 12 months.
In a new interview with New York Times, the former R.E.M. frontman reassured fans that his previously announced solo album is still in the works, but that personal circumstances including family emergencies, house moves and a bout of Covid, have slowed the process.
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