Indie rock pioneers R.E.M. have decided to call it quits after 31 years and 15 albums, they announced on their website today.
“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.”
The band released Collapse Into Now earlier this year, which found the trio of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills sounding, per our reviewer, “refreshed and refueled.” The band had also been working on a greatest hits retrospective for release in the near future.
R.E.M.’s individual members offered their own personal statements. “A wise man once said, ‘The skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave,'” said frontman Michael Stipe. “We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it.”
“During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘What next?'” explained bassist Mike Mills. “Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.”
“Mike, Michael, [original drummer] Bill [Berry], [manager] Bertis [Downs], and I walk away as great friends,” added guitarist Peter Buck. “I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world.”
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Read Michael Azerrad’s classic SPIN cover story on R.E.M. from April 2008