To our Fans and Friends: 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 - R.E.M.
Following the terse statement are individual thoughts from the three original members, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe (original drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997). Michael Stipe said, "A wise man once said--'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it."
Sure, R.E.M.'s music has been extraordinary - Peter Buck's jangly guitars; Mike Mills' harmony vocals and eloquent bass playing; Bill Berry's tasteful drumming; and Michael Stipe's cryptic and hypnotic voice - but what I've always found most extraordinary is the group's genuine and enduring respect and admiration for one another.
After thirty-one years and fifteen albums - the most recent being this year's Collapse Into Now - you never read about there being any internal strife or creative differences or alleged solo albums in the works; they have been brothers until the end.
Mike Mills stated: "We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love and respect each other. 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."
All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe.