And with this post to their webpage....
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." R.E.M.
R.E.M. is no more.
I wouldn't fault anyone for thinking they broke up long, long ago, especially considering their albums have been spaced out a bit and not terribly exciting (although maybe better than you'd assume), but for me, Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe were the first band I really loved, that felt like they belonged to me somehow. I didn't catch them right as they broke nationally, but a friend's brother made me a tape with 1984's Reckoning on it and with my nine year old allowance collection, I bought 1985's Fables of the Reconstruction at the Zip's in Park Mall and listened to it over and over again trying to figure out what the hell Michael Stipe was talking about, but assuming every line was really important. Their show promoting Green at the TCC Arena was one of the first real rock shows I ever attended. I loved that they would mention bands they loved, like Mission of Burma or Pylon, groups that I would end up loving too. In college, I spent a stupid amount of money collecting the European reissues of each of their IRS albums complete with bonus tracks to try to hear everything the band ever released. I bought every single from Monster in their colorful cardboard cases for the live versions of classic songs. I was thrilled last year when Peter Buck walked past me at the Festival Barrio Viejo.
Nothing lasts forever, and it's been a long time since I was really excited about a new R.E.M. album, so it makes sense that they'd hang it up at some point, but I will miss R.E.M., maybe because the end of the band means that I've officially become one of those old men looking back on my youth, believing the bands really were better back then because their music really meant something, the guy getting excited because the band of his youth is playing the county fair some night. I'll try to combat that feeling, and I'll take a few days before I go back and obsessively listen to everything they ever recorded, but nostalgia catches up to us all sometime, I guess.
Not that they'll see this, but thanks for everything, R.E.M.