R.E.M have officially announced an end to the band after 15 albums and 31 years together. R.E.M first came together in Athens, Georgia, in 1980 and they released their first single Radio Free Europe in 1981 on Independent label Hib-Tone. Their most successful records were recorded in the early 90’s when alternative rock hit the mainstream and R.E.M were viewed as a pioneer of the genre.
The band have made a brief statement:
As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.
Bassist Mike Mills also stated:
We feel kind of like pioneers in this — there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.
There are rumours that the decision has been made following label politics, in an interview with rollingstone Ethan Kaplan, the owner of the R.E.M fan communtity said:
I suspected this was coming last fall. If you remember, they weathered a lot of storms in this business, and have always operated on their own terms. [Warner Bros.] changed starting last September, and I think the demands on a band now to get a record out were more than they might have wanted to commit to. I can understand that after how hard they worked for how long, the thought of going back to ‘paying dues’ with new label staff, in a very weird industry, was too much.
R.E.M – Everybody Hurts