In a fascinating interview published in The Guardian, Michael Hann talks to the members of REM about the twenty-fifth anniversary of Out of Time, the record that made them global superstars. Through a set of revealing conversations, the former members reflect on life in the band, their cultural legacy, and recent American politics.
Hann also reflects on REM as a key band in the development of ‘alt-rock’, a genre which grew out of American college radio in the 1980s:
“It’s easy to forget quite how good REM were. They weren’t always good – Stipe reckons they put out ‘several great records – and a couple of stinkers’ – but whatever way you cut it, they were perhaps the most wonderful American band of the 80s and 90s, the founding fathers of what became known as “alt-rock”. Their first album, Murmur, was perfect, a misty and mysterious reverie. They followed that with one miraculously good record after another, and while people might disagree on where things started slipping, one could make a case for every album up to and including their 10th, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, being a classic, and for much of their later work being unduly neglected.”