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REM “will never reunite”, insists Michael Stipe

By | Published on Wednesday 22 September 2021


It’ll be a cold day in hell before REM reunite. You could say it would be the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine about that. Michael Stipe says any talk of a reunion is “wishful thinking at best”.

Stipe was appearing on US radio station WNYC to promote a new Velvet Underground tribute compilation to which he has contributed a cover of ‘Sunday Morning’. However, during the interview, talk turned to¬†a 2019 Rolling Stone article that predicted if and when various bands would get back together.

Of REM, that article says: “The band says it’s never going to happen, but they all say that at first. Let’s see how they all feel in ten years. Of course, they’ll be pushing 70 by then. We’re going to say [there’s a] 30% [chance of a reunion]”.

It’s not yet ten years since that article was published, but yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the announcement of the band’s split. So, has enough time passed for them to start considering getting back on stage again yet?

“We will never reunite”, Stipe insisted. “We decided when we split up that [a future reunion] would just be really tacky and probably money-grabbing, which might be the impetus for a lot of bands to get back together. We don’t really need that, and I’m really happy that we just have the legacy of the 32 years of work that we have”.

Alright then, but let’s revisit this in 2029. Though, actually, I think he probably means it. I hope he does. That said, they previously insisted that they’d split up if any one member of the band left, and when Bill Berry quit in 1997 they just carried on. Oh sure, at Berry’s insistence, but that’s beside the point. Probably.

Anyway, while we’re talking about reunions, let’s see how well this Rolling Stone article did with other acts. It reckoned there was a 40% chance that Genesis would get back on stage together and three years later here they are heading out for one last time.

The Fugees, meanwhile, it put at 80%, but reckoned it could take 20 years for the trio to overcome their differences. Well, they’ve just announced a reunion tour, including a show at the O2 in London on 11 Jun 2022.

All the others – even the ones Rolling Stone reckoned had high chances of reuniting, like Oasis, The Kinks and Nsync (minus Justin Timberlake) – are still holding out on us. Long may it continue. Be like REM, guys. The anticipation and speculation is always better than the reality of a reunion.