As I assume most you know by now, R.E.M. decided to call it a day after more than 30 years as a band. There have been many post-mortem articles talking about their place in the history of rock music and whether like quarterback Brett Favre, overstayed their moment in time.
I think R.E.M. created a great model for a band.
- Share songwriting credits with all four (3 after 1996) members.
- Conduct interviews with at least two band members at a time (The lead singer is not necessarily the leader of the band)
- Make your manager a full partner
- Band members can have many side projects but never any solo projects or solo tours.
- Tour as much or as little as you want to support a project. They toured relentlessly from their first album until 1991 and took 6 years off before hitting the road again. 1990-1996 was arguably their most creative period.
- Stick to principles. (Release a song with a featured mandolin as a single? Sure why not, it’s a great song)
- Quit when the time is right. All bands should be so lucky as to make a retirement announcement and have so many people write so passionately about how they impacted their lives.
I think they went out on a high note with their last album “Collapse Into Now” In fact, I think the last song on the album, “Blue” is their “The End” by The Beatles moment with one of their rock heroines, Patti Smith singing the final “Cinderella Boy” lyrics.
This is my time and I am thrilled to be alive.
Living. Blessed. I understand.
Collapse Into Now
You’ve lost your shoe
Your coach awaits