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REM’s Peter Buck hates the music industry, Pro Tools, warehouses, and much much more

By | Published on Tuesday 15 March 2016


REM guitarist Peter Buck has done a delightfully grumpy interview with Rolling Stone, in which he covers everything from the band’s split to life on the fringes of the music industry.

The actual split in 2011 came easily, he said: “We were doing the last record, ‘Collapse Into Now’. We hadn’t made an announcement or anything. We got together, and Michael [Stipe] said, ‘I think you guys will understand. I need to be away from this for a long time’. And I said, ‘How about forever?’ Michael looked at Mike [Mills], and Mike said, ‘Sounds right to me’. That’s how it was decided”.

After that conversation, Buck started making a list of everything he hated about being a musician, just to check he was doing the right thing. It came to five pages. “Everything except writing songs, playing songs and recording them”, he says. “It was the money, the politics, having to meet new people 24 hours a day, not being in charge of my own decisions. Once Pro Tools was invented, that was no fun. We made a couple of albums where I thought, ‘I don’t even know if this is a record. It’s just some sounds we put together'”.

Though, he adds, it’s not really possible for a band that reached the scale of REM to actually split up: “Technically, the band broke up. But we didn’t really. We’re just not making records or touring. We own a publishing company. We own the masters to our Warner Bros records. We own buildings. We own a warehouse with tapes and stuff that I haven’t even seen. Why go to a warehouse?”

I went to a warehouse once. It was OK. Read the full interview here.