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Thursday, June 22, 2006


Being that I'm in Georgia this week I figured a REM post was in order. My introduction to this Athens Ga. quartet came in 1984 when I was emerging from my metal-centric youth.

When I was in my first semester at the University of Maryland I met some guys who had a band and I attended one of their rehearsals. They informed me that they didn't use distortion "like REM". This was undoubtedly a reflection on my decidedly metal appearance, and indeed, in 1984 REM was not known for crunchy guitar tones. That would change by '86 and the release of 'Life's Rich Pageant'.

R.E.M. - Life's Rich Pageant CD

It was 'Blind' Mitch Turner who would end up converting Tony Alva and myself into actual REM fans. Over the winter break of '84/85 Mitch would bring home 'Murmur' from the University of Southern Georgia at Gainsville.

R.E.M. - Murmur CD

I wouldn't say it took immediately, but by '86 and 'Pageant' I was certainly primed to dive right in, and in typical Jackson style, I did just that. By '87 and 'Document' I was a full fledged fan, owner of their back catalogue, and would attend their show at Radio City on that tour (thanks Rod and Karen).

R.E.M. - Document CD

My love of REM ran concurrent with their ever increasing success. In my opinion their albums just got better (until '91's 'Out Of Time, which has some awesome tracks, some of their best, but also has the unfortunate 'Radio Song', and 'Shiny Happy People').

I have a hard time choosing a favorite record. 'Green' usually comes to mind, but everytime I pull out 'Document' or 'Pageant' I come to terms with the fact that all these efforts are equally wonderful.

R.E.M. - Green CD

Peter Buck is one of my favorite guitar players. He has done more with less, like Neil Young, and has created terrific riffs that work intricately with Stipe's voice and both the sublime bass and angelic vocal harmonies of Mike Mills.

Stinkrock hates REM, and that's okay. I hate stuff too, it's just that the stuff I hate actually sucks.

R.E.M. - New Adventures In Hi-Fi CD

Chrispy is a big fan of 'New Adventures In Hi Fi', which I had ignored for many years, but recently sat through, and I quite liked it.

I think Mercyland is the best band to come out of Athens, GA.
Godd post Jackson. I like Peter Buck too. REM to me is like an electric folk band. Sometimes I think they go electic when they should have stayed unplugged, but for 'Pageant' they got it right for every song as they did with 'Automatic For The People'. Mills is the x factor with this band.

"Stinkrock hates REM, and that's okay. I hate stuff too, it's just that the stuff I hate actually sucks."

That's funny...

I'm pretty deep into REM, but often when I listen to their records I wonder to nobody why they didn't go acoustic on more tunes.
Because they're not gay...wait...uh...forget that
Thank you, Jackson. You made my day.

I could go on and on and on and pontificate for paragraphs ... but you've seen my blog, so I'll behave. Glad you recently discovered New Adventures in Hi-Fi; it's wonderfully and sadly often overlooked.

And Tony Alva's right about Mike Milles (although my heart does belong to Peter); Warren Zevon said MM is their secret weapon.

Are you a Georgia boy?
Nope, New York is home, but I come to ATL often for work and to visit Tony Alva and family.
I've never heard of Mercyland, but considering the Athens alums, that's a huge statement.
The Hibtone version of "Radio Free Europe" is classic. That said, Murmur gets my vote.
Mercyland is the Best Band You've Never Heard Of. The singer (and I think guitarist) was David Barbe, the bassist from Sugar. In fact, David lives there with his family. I think this is the main reason for Sugar breaking up. He wanted to spend more time with the fam.

I'll bring some Mercyland for you to check out next time I'm at the studio.
It's the Misanthrope who hates REM. I don't actually know if Stink Rock hates them too, but if he does, it must have been the combined fuel that drove Microdot.

I don't think I actually "hate" them so much as I am mystified by the adulation. They just strike me as boring and a little precious. It was only being forced to hear REM endlessly in college that led to real hatred.

If Mercyland's material is anything like "Company Man," God help you.
I'm fairly certain Mr. M Dot dissed Peter Buck heavily one night at S&M.

I do undersatnd how the college experience can make one hate an otherwise acceptable band. For me it's Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam.
I don't hate REM. Yes, I dissed Peter Buck - I think he's an overrated guitar player and a pompous ass. But I like their music, love the first couple albums, and Mike Mills has been a huge influence on me as a bass player.

But c'mon Jackson - we share some likes, but you have terrible taste in music. 'Fess up.
Well I'm sorry to wrongly accuse you of REM hating.

If you define liking Krokus, Saxon, Angelwitch, and Accept as terrible taste - I'll buy that. I'd have a hard time defending those bands, BUT, I hate less than you, and Chris, and Dave - even Tony. I have a much wider range of music that I enjoy. That can't be a bad thing.
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