By Steve Wiseman

This Friday (October 5th), R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck will release his first solo album, following the group’s disbanding in 2011. However, only 2,000 lucky fans will be able to get their hands on the limited-edition, vinyl-only release, of which Buck has not revealed the name.

Frequent R.E.M. collaborator Scott McCaughey teased a solo Buck album months ago on a radio show. In July, Buck revealed the first taste of the album, a retro garage rock number called “10 Million BC.” On it, Buck sings in a low, gravelly voice – quite the contrast to his former R.E.M. bandmate Michael Stipe. Listen below.

Now Buck has taken to R.E.M.’s website to announce the album’s official release and explain his motivations. Read below to see who Buck recruited as singers on the album:

I know I said for years that I would never make a solo record. It was never a plan or a desire but it just kind of happened. When REM called it a day I’d spent the last 3 months on my back with a semi-crippling injury unable to play guitar. With my band gone and unable to use the fingers on my right hand, I started writing lyrics just to have something creative to do. The lyrics turned into songs and the songs turned into what felt like a possible album, so I called some of my favorite musicians, Scott [McCaughey], Mike [Mills, R.E.M. bassist], Bill [Rieflin, R.E.M.’s auxiliary drummer], Lenny Kaye [Patti Smith guitarist], Corin Tucker [solo artist, previously of Sleater-Kinney], Jenny Conlee [from The Decemberists], and booked studio time

Not being really confident in my singing, I asked Corin to sing one and she was gracious enough to do so, Scott sang a few, mostly the ones he wrote melodies to. So why is it a solo record? I wrote 95% of the lyrics and most of the music, it is the first thing i have ever been involved in where I was actually in charge and the record turned out to be kind of like a trip through my mind, all of the kinds of music I love, played with some of my favorite musicians, in a completely one take spontaneous atmosphere. It was either call it a Peter Buck record or Richard M Nixon, Lenny Kaye convinced me that it should be called a Peter Buck solo record because it does represent me or at least me right then.

It will be released October 5th on Mississippi Records, a label that specializes in mid-20th century blues, gospel and folk. It was recorded, mixed and mastered on analogue tape and is being released on vinyl. At this point it is a limited edition of 2,000 vinyl only. As for the future I may do some performances, but this is not a career, it is something I am doing for fun.

In addition to his work with R.E.M., Buck has produced records for the likes of Uncle Tupelo and the Feelies; in 2011, he played on The Decemberists‘ The King is Dead.

– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local


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