Results for Michael Stipe

interviews

Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck, and Scott McCaughey

Robyn Hitchcock, the man who Jim and Greg call a cross between Bob Dylan and Syd Barrett, visits the show this week. He is joined by his Venus 3 band mates, Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey, whose day jobs as members of R.E.M. aren‘t too shabby. All of the band members share a deep love of music, and a history of finding inspiration in record stores. Peter and Scott explain that this is how they initially became familiar with Robyn’s music. Greg remarks that they're all just a buncha rock geeks — our kind of guys!

Robyn and the Venus 3 have a new album out entitled Olé! Tarantula. According to Jim, it's a return to an earlier Hitchcock sound full of jangly melodies and multiple harmonies. And of course, you can count on the singer/songwriter for inventive lyrics. Sound Opinions H.Q. won't attempt to summarize his explanation of the concept behind Olé! Tarantula and the album's artwork, but offers this and this as reference points. You can hear the band perform this song, as well as "Adventure Rocket Ship," Syd Barrett's "Dominoes", and the bonus track, "N.Y. Doll" written about deceased New York Dolls member Arthur Kane.

Jim and Greg don‘t neglect to ask Peter Buck about his other gig. The R.E.M. guitarist and songwriter explains that he has written a lot of material and hopes to get together with some of the other band members soon to work on songs for their next album. Ideally he’d like to avoid spending“a lifetime.”An example of the band's more immediate work is the song "Final Straw." Buck wrote that piece of music while they were working on Automatic for the People, but he continued it to use it as a guitar warm-up. Lead singer Michael Stipe was struck by the tune and inspired by in the Middle East, and within a day it was recorded and put on the web.

Go to episode 59
reviews
AccelerateAccelerate available on iTunes

R.E.M. Accelerate

One of the most buzzed about events at the festival was the debut of songs from R.E.M.'s new album Accelerate. The band played its first show at SXSW, as well as Austin City Limits. (You can hear their live performance of "Fall On Me" during the show.) Jim and Greg both saw the rock veterans perform and have listened to the new album. So what's the verdict? Jim's feelings are mixed. R.E.M. is a band that has meant a lot to him in the early part of their career, but has disappointed him in the past decade. They've never reached the peaks they did with albums like Life's Rich Pageant, Murmur and Automatic for the People. He thought the ACL live show was better than recent tours, but not amazing. And the same can be said of Accelerate. They've returned to their roots, but not to form, and Jim can only give it a Try It. Greg was actually pleasantly surprised to hear the band re-invested again-for the first time since losing drummer Bill Berry. That was an incredible loss for the other three members, and Accelerate is the first album in years that can stand up to their earlier work, according to Greg. He hears a renewed urgency in Michael Stipe's voice and the emphasis placed once again on Peter Buck's guitar. Greg gives Accelerate a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 121
dijs

Jim

“Replenished”Vic Chesnutt

At the end of the show Jim drops a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox. He uses his turn at the DIJ to talk about Vic Chesnutt, a musician who died this past Christmas. Chesnutt, who was a paraplegic since the age of 18, was discovered and championed by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. As Jim explains, music was like a lifeline for Chesnutt, and one of his favorite albums by the singer/songwriter was 1998's The Salesman and Bernadette. To honor the Athens, GA musician, Jim chooses to add "Replenished," a track from that record, to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 216

Jim

“It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”R.E.M.

In true rock and roll style, Jim makes a cheeky Desert Island Jukebox pick this week. As discussed above, this week marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Many people would have gone with a solemn, or even political track — but, as listeners know, Jim is not many people, and he can't resist choosing R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." Jim likens the Dadaist song to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," a similar surreal expression of social discontent. The song comes from R.E.M.'s pre-major label era, which Jim believes is their best time period. He also offers bit of insight into one of the song's most famous lines: "Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!" Jim wrote the biography of rock critic Lester Bangs, and learned that this line was written after Michael Stipe and Peter Buck attended Bangs' birthday party. Hungry and poor, the young band members were hoping to get a meal out of the event, but were only offered birthday cake and jelly beans. Then an over-served Bangs insulted his fan Stipe and started a food fight. Make sense now?

Go to episode 40