R.E.M. Fiction: An Alternative Biography
When asked why the band had never sanctioned an official biography, Peter Buck of R.E.M. commented: "I think we should hire someone who's a good ... Show synopsis When asked why the band had never sanctioned an official biography, Peter Buck of R.E.M. commented: "I think we should hire someone who's a good fiction writer and get them to make it all up. That'd be good." The four musketeers of rock - Michael Stipe, Bill Berry, Mike Mills and Peter Buck - have been praised by the music press as one of the most important and popular rock bands since the 1970s. R.E.M. achieved commercial success in the 90s, reputedly selling over 25 million copies of just two albums, "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People". The band's public image has always been tightly controlled: seen as icons of anti-celebrity rock who became huge celebrity rock stars, they were, according to the story, the first US post-new-wave band who were both big and cool. But is this story fact or fiction? Is the received version of events, as constructed by the music press, a credible version of R.E.M.'s career and of how music is made in the post-punk era? This book takes a fresh look at the R.E.M. story, asking whether they are the last great alternative rock band, or if their music is merely a pastiche of already worn-out styles. And wondering if it is possible for a group as successful, well-known and rich as R.E.M. were in the 90s to remain wholly true to their ideals. The book looks at the band's music, placing it in context and suggesting how and why it made the impact it did, and also draws on interviews with members of R.E.M.'s musical nuclear family, their producers and the people who knew them before they were famous.