Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck says that the band’s huge success in the 1990s “took away some of the pleasure” of being in the band.
During a recent interview with Classic Rock magazine, Buck told Rob Hughes, “When the non-musical stuff became so intense, it took away some of the pleasure for me. It’s just the stuff where you kind of wake up and go: ‘God, I don’t really want to have my picture taken today. And I don’t really want to pretend to be an actor in some video where I can’t act.'”
“I loved playing Glastonbury and playing in front of lots of people and selling multiple millions of records,” Buck continued, “but it was never the reason I did it. And when we got to the point where we decided that it was the end, it felt like a great shared experience. I wouldn’t change it, but I’m not gonna go back to it.”
R.E.M. disbanded amicably in September 2011, with former members having continued with various musical projects. Several live and archival albums have since been released.
Buck argued R.E.M.’s career ended with two “really strong” albums, 2008’s Accelerate and 2011’s Collapse Into Now.
“But I just felt like, no matter how good our last record was, it wasn’t really our time any more,” he said. “And that’s fair, I understand that. . when it was over I didn’t have a lot of interest in pursuing that type of largeness again.”
He concluded, “[A]ll I really want to do is write songs, play them and record them.”
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