Today, the following message was posted on the band’s 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. 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.
Michael Stipe later elaborated:
“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.
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.
We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It’s been amazing.”
Some insiders have remarked that REM’s difficult relationship with Warner (to which the band signed for a record-setting $80 million back in 1996) was what precipitated the end of it all. For its part, all band members have emphasized that there are no hard feelings or bitterness of any kind. As Mike Mills put it:
“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.”
REM is now reportedly working on a compilation that will include some new studio tracks, recorded after “Collapse Into Now” (their final studio album, issued in March of this year).
Below you’ll find a live rendition of “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”.