R.E.M. discusses life since retirement in rare interview

reminterviewR.E.M. seem like Shiny Happy People since deciding to call it quits in 2011.

In a rare interview, frontman Michael Stipe and bassist Mike Mills sat down with Sunday Today to discuss their career since the band’s amicable split in 2011. Stipe in particular seemed at peace with the band’s retirement, expressing joy that he is now able to walk around in public without being recognized. Stipe also said how thankful he is for the life he’s been able to lead.

“I cannot believe, number one, that I’ve accomplished that much in this little bit of time, and I really don’t feel like I’ve done anything,” Stipe said. “But number two, I really can’t believe how lucky I am. I can’t believe my life. It’s a great life.”

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Both Stipe and Mills are still working on musical projects of their own, while Mills is busy with fantasy football as he has seven teams total. The band is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the album Out of Time this year with a special re-release.

On that note, Stipe gave an interesting fact about one of the album’s most famous songs, the aforementioned “Shiny Happy People.”

“It was a song written for children,” Stipe said. “It’s still enjoyed in elementary schools around the world.

“I was a little younger than (guitarist) Peter (Buck), Mike and (drummer) Bill (Berry), so I didn’t have an older brother or sister who listened to the Beatles and turned me on to music like that. So for me, the music of the day growing up in the 60s was the Monkees, the Banana Splits, and the Archies. ‘Shiny Happy People’, the song ‘Stand’, the song ‘Get Up’, these were my attempts at writing bubble gum pop music for kids, and we succeeded.”

Click here to view the full interview clips at Consequence of Sound.

Stipe and Mills also spoke with Andrew Marr recently, where Stipe said he wasn’t that big of a fan of “Shiny Happy People.”

“If there was one song that was sent into outer space to represent R.E.M. for the rest of time, I would not want it to be ‘Shiny Happy People,'” Stipe said.

Watch below:

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