After 31 years, R.E.M. call it a day

, Staff

After 31-years together, R.E.M. are calling it quits. The legendary rockers, who formed in Athens, Georgia, made the announcement yesterday on their website.

“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,” the band declared in a joint statement. “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.”

After forming in 1980, R.E.M. went on to record 15 studio albums together and garner global success while remaining close friends. The band itself only ever comprised the four original members: singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, who retired two years after suffering a brain aneurysm on-stage during 1995’s “Monster” tour. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  R.E.M.’s last studio release, Collapse Into Now, was released in March.

“During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘what next’?,” explained Mills. “Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together. 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. The time just feels right.”

“A wise man once said, ‘the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave’,” said Stipe. “We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it. I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.

Buck added, “Mike, Michael, Bill, [manger] Bertis [Downs], and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world.”

R.E.M. will release a career-spanning Greatest Hits album through Warner Brothers in November.

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