REM, one of the most successful indie bands of all time, are no more. The split, by all accounts amicable, come after 31 years that saw Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry (who left in 1997) go from the punk circuit of Athens, Georgia in 1980 to one of the most monumentally famous bands in the world with the release of Automatic For The People in 1992.
The band issued this joint statement yesterday:
To all our fans and friends: as REM, 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.
Singer Michael Stipe wrote. “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. 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 REM for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this thing. It’s been amazing.”
They’ve been total Q-fodder for the last two decades, but are also one of the most interesting bands ever, and will be missed.