R.E.M.’s Mike Mills Opens Up About The New Album, Life In The Band

[pullquote quote="Music is how you're feeling at the moment you write it." credit="Mike Mills"] On the eve of the release of [lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm]‘s new album Collapse Into Now, founding member [lastfm]Mike Mills[/lastfm] dropped in on Street Date to talk about life, music, his bandmates, and their outstanding new record. Click through to hear from Mills and find out which guest stars appear on the album.

Mike Mills Interview – Part I
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[lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm] recorded this album in three cities: New Orleans, Nashville, and Berlin. According to Mills, the vibe and experience of each city worked its way into the album, in many unique ways. While in New Orleans, Mills and the band got to soak up the local zydeco and jazz music, alongside the spooky old-world history of the place, and that vibe is reflected in some of the album’s lyrical content. While in Berlin, they ran into [lastfm]Eddie Vedder[/lastfm] who was in town touring with [lastfm]Pearl Jam[/lastfm]. [lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm] attended the Pearl Jam show, and Vedder ultimately ended up joining them in the studio for a guest vocal spot on the album.

Mike Mills Interview – Part II
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[pullquote quote="We were experienced enough in listening to music that we knew we'd done something special." credit="Mike Mills, on R.E.M.'s album MURMUR"]The cities of New Orleans, Nashville and Berlin weren’t selected at random for this project. Mills says the band chose cities they felt a real connection to, and located studios that would provide inspiring places to write and record the new music. “Great musical history” was an important factor, as were the food, culture, and overall vibe of the host cities.

Mills’ comments on touring are particularly interesting, given the strength of [lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm]‘s live show and the tours of various sizes they’ve mounted over the years. He’s relieved that the band never put on stadium-sized shows, but remembers fond moments doing arena tours, despite the large crowd size. Intimate shows, like their 1999 performance at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, are also remembered fondly as Mills discusses the band’s touring history (and future). Fan Alert: there will be no [lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm] tour in support of this album.

Mike Mills Interview – Part III
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[pullquote quote="He likes to make thrilling records." credit="Mills, on producer Jacknife Lee"]Collapse Into Now was produced by [lastfm]Jacknife Lee[/lastfm], who also produced [lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm]‘s 2008 album Accelerate. The Irish-born producer has also worked with the likes of [lastfm]U2[/lastfm], [lastfm]Weezer[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Snow Patrol[/lastfm]. Mills credits Lee with helping ease creative tensions within the band, when they arose, and for having a vision for what “R.E.M. 2010″ should sound like.

Mike Mills Interview – Part IV
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Read Street Date‘s full review of Collapse Into Now here.
If you’re ready to check out the album for yourself, it’s available now at iTunes and Amazon.

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8 Responses to R.E.M.’s Mike Mills Opens Up About The New Album, Life In The Band

  1. stephen says:


  2. Doug says:

    Interesting that Michael Stipe is waving (goodbye?) on the cover of “Collapse”. Not to mention the lyrics to “All the Best” which suggest they might be moving on to other things. The new songs are filled with riffs and hooks which recall previous recordings. Could this be “one for the fans”, before they bow out? Hope not, but they have given us 30 years of great music !

  3. JLF says:

    I certainly hope they keep making music together!!!!

  4. 0564065406540 says:

    I wish he was my stepdad. (Ha.)

    • JJ says:

      Your stepdad, heck, I wish he was my husband! (me and about a million other woman in this world). He seems such a nice, overall well adjusted person being thru all this rock and roll crap for thirty years.

    • jeano says:

      i played bar softball with him when i worked at UGA in athens,ga, for the georga bar in 94 he is a great guy!!!!! good pitcher..

  5. Sophie Adams says:

    What a wonderful person.Mike Mills is. Such a great and refreshing interview.

  6. donna mccullough says:

    R.E.M. just gets better with age! Iam so fortunate to have been a fan for 30 years to experience the growth and maturity of a truly amazing band AND wonderful people!!!

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