By Brian Ives
The guitarist said that during the 2008 tour for Accelerate, the band’s second-to-last album, the band had a meeting. The band apparently decided that it would be their last tour. “We were talking about adding some shows to the tour,” he said. “It was a lot of money, but I didn’t want to go. I won’t say where it was. I looked at them and said, ‘If this is our last tour, I don’t want to end with two half-full shows in a state you couldn’t pay me to set foot in.’ And they went, ‘OK.'”
He said that during the recording of the final album, 2011’s Collapse Into Now, the band decided to close the book on their career. “We got together, and Michael [Stipe] said, ‘I think you guys will understand. I need to be away from this for a long time.’ And I said, ‘How about forever?’ Michael looked at Mike, and Mike said, ‘Sounds right to me.’ That’s how it was decided.”
He notes that all three former members – Buck, Stipe and bassist Mike Mills – are still musically active, but mostly stay out of the public eye, and that they are still all friends. He says he and Mills play in a few bands together, and he just went out to dinner with Stipe recently.
While many R.E.M. fans have predicted that they will one day reunite, there’s nothing in the Rolling Stone interview that indicates that they will. However, the band has signed a deal with Concord Bicycle Music to handle their Warner Bros. catalog, so expect to see deluxe reissues of classic albums like Out of Time, Automatic for the People and Monster in the next few years.
Read the full interview at Rolling Stone.