Michael Stipe Wants To Return to "Work In Music Again" After David Bowie Tribute
Tue, 15 Nov 2016 11:05:46
The singer claims that his musical realization came to him while performing "Ashes to Ashes" at a David Bowie tribute earlier this year.
Stipe, now 56, was speaking ahead of the 25th anniversary reissue of R.E.M's album Out of Time, which will be released on November 18th. The reissue features demos, music videos and a rare live music recording. Stipe believes that sharing the early versions of R.E.M. material allows fans to witness important parts of the classic album's creation.
"You're seeing me really reaching, in some cases really over- or under-reaching, to try and find a melody, to work out a lyric to see if it's working or not with the music; never to be heard… And here, 25 years later, we're offering it to the public."
Out of Time represented a breakthrough moment for the band that broke up in 2011. The tracks, which included one of Stipe and company's biggest hits, "Losing My Religion", took the band from performing for alt-rock crowds and served them to the mainstream audiences. "For someone who had no real grand ambitions, to have a 'song of the summer' was possibly the greatest possible gift that I could receive," Stipe said.
Stipe has rarely performed since the band broke up. He made his official live solo debut in December 2014, as surprise opening act for Patti Smith at New York's Webster Hall, performing a mix of R.E.M. tracks and covers.
It was during his rendition of "Ashes of Ashes" for New York's Bowie tribute shows that brought the realization of his desire to return to making music. Writing on R.E.M.'s website Stipe said, "In one week I got to interpret and perform two of my top 20 favorite songs of all time… For Carnegie in particular, I wanted the room to be the main instrument. Its reverberation and energy is profoundly weighted and airy all at once – it can transform music into something holy – so that informed our arrangement choices for 'Ashes to Ashes.'"
—The ARTISTdirect Staff