An anniversary can be celebrated with champagne or a vacation but Michael Stipe and Mike Mills from R.E.M. decided to honor the 30th anniversary of Out of Time by looking back. The duo joined Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music Hits to reminisce about the writing, legacy and everything in between.
Mills and Stipe spoke about the mega-hit “Losing My Religion,” with Stipe raving about “The energy coming off of an audience, a large audience in an outdoor arena, with the first notes, those first da, da, da, da, da and the place would just explode with energy. We got all that being on stage, being elevated, being the center of attention,” the singer recalls. “It all came right towards us. It was the biggest shot in the arm. The biggest jolt of adrenaline. The most powerful feeling that I think I’ve ever felt.”
Mills concurred, saying, “Honestly, I’m getting chill bumps just thinking about it now because there was so much joy. I mean, by starting that song and playing that song, you’ve made so many people so very happy that it was just a pleasure to do it. To be able to raise everyone’s energy level and enjoyment level that much, it’s still thrilling to think about.”
People of a certain age will recall the video featuring Kate Pierson of the B-52’s star turn in R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People.” “We all showed up on time for the video shoot. And then Kate came in and Kate was in full hair, full makeup, full costume… She was in a whole other universe of pizazz star power,” recalls Stipe.
Intimidated, he said, “You guys, I’m going to run home. I’ll be right back.” When Stipe returned, “I had a suit that I had bought in London at one of those cheap and cheerful suit stores. But it was this lime green color. And I had a lime green cap that I wore with it, and I wore it backwards. It was supposed to cover the fact that I was losing my hair, which it didn’t do a good job of. But anyway, I came back to the video shoot, 25 minutes later, dressed basically as a human lime. And I was able to then contrast Kate’s fabulousness. It brought the video and the song to a whole other level.”
The band members also discuss outside collaborators, knowing when a song is going to be a hit (or not), and more.
Listen to the full episode here.