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‘It’s a Very F*cked Up Time to Be’

from Daily Beast

Michael Stipe Opens Up About R.E.M. and President Trump: ‘It’s a Very F*cked Up Time to Be’

The R.E.M. frontman sat down with Stereo Williams to discuss the 25th anniversary of their celebrated album ‘Automatic for the People’ and the not so shiny happy state of America.

There are certain things Michael Stipe recalls about his most visible years as a rock superstar that give a clear indicator of his paradoxical relationship with icon status. He’s alternately cocky about R.E.M.’s heyday (“we were fucking audacious”) and self-effacingly dismissive about their most celebrated ’90s album (“I feel like I’ve been repeating everything I’ve been saying for the last quarter century”). The band’s Automatic for the People, released 25 years ago in October 1992, was a creative triumph at the height of R.E.M.’s most commercial period. The quartet from Athens, Georgia, had famously risen through the ranks of ’80s college rock to become ’90s pop stars, and frontman Stipe was wrestling with newfound superstardom.

And on a balmy day in the East Village, he’s still wrestling with that fame in hindsight.

“I became extremely famous—suddenly,” Stipe recalls. He smirks when thinking back to when he’d suddenly gone from college rock enigma to Bono-level rock star.

“I used to be able to identify the people that would recognize me walking on the sidewalk in New York,” he muses. “That went from those identifiable music fans or punk rock fans or whatever—to everyone. I went from a singer in a band with a few hits and a core audience—a large core audience—but [after] ‘Losing my Religion’ and the popularity of that video… I was hugely famous and that was weird for me. I’m still and always will be shy. I’ve learned how to deal with it and finish my sentences and talk to people in a regular way, but it was intense.”

[ click to continue reading at Daily Beast ]

Posted on October 15, 2017 by Editor

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