Being an R.E.M. fan, I would often get into verbal squabbles with people attempting to separate the lives of the musicians with their music. It has become standard in our society to try to understand what makes them tick as individuals rather than the music that they release. Any ‘character flaws’ by some would be vigorously defended to the death as if a snub by Michael Stipe to a fan on a streetcorner is really a flaw. Or in other words, who cares?
I thought that as I was designing the information and forms for the Articles Archive, that I pull this juicy article from the past. This was written by Elizabeth Phillip for the Summer Northwestern. She interviewed the band the same date of the Aragon Ballroom show that will be included on the second disc of the Reckoning Deluxe Edition.
A great interview for some of the extra curricular happenings backstage regarding Buck's confrontation with Cynthia Plaster Caster.
I have posted another Article from the past that is also included, in the articles archive from 1984.
This is the first of what I hope will be a series of essays written on behalf of the album, Reckoning which will be rereleased to celebrate it's 25th Anniversary on June 23rd.
It started with an innocent enough phrase (or maybe not so much now that you think about it) in a pop song and turned my life into something completely different. Looking back at that moment it was not entirely special or spectacular. I did not see the an apparition of the Virgin Mary nor did I know of it at that time that 20 plus years later I would be writing this here.
But the song had resonated with me deeply as a prepubescent teenager. This was a challenge when dealing with early R.E.M., as anyone who was listening before Al Gore invented the Internet can attest to. Michael Stipe was not competing at the “Enunciating” World Championships because if that was the case, the East German judge would have quit on the spot in disgust.
The only reference I had to the song was the fact that 'The Five Chinese Brothers’ was a familiar fable that I had read/been read in my early youth about boys that each had a supernatural power.
Realize at this time I was just a silly suburban kid with bad acne and was not at this point involved with investigating the deeper meanings of songs. For example, there might be literary criticism existing somewhere of Van Halen’s “Jump”, however, at the time these types of songs were clearly more vested for me in terms of watching music videos or hearing them on the radio. My music world contained songs that didn't derive much more than what was on the surface.