21 September 2011

It's The End Of R.E.M. As We Know It (And I Feel Old)

REM were my absolute favorite band from 1983 to 1995. After drummer Bill Berry retired to rest his brain and do some farming, REM were never quite the same to me. I still followed the band, of course - bought all the albums, and even saw them one last time in 1999 on the Up Tour, but without Bill Berry, well, I guess in some ways, REM broke up, in my mind, back in the summer of 1995.

Fun Fact: My Halloween costume in 1987 was "Bill Berry". Essentially I just glued two swatches of "fun fur" over my eyebrows to approximate the magnificence of Berry's eyebrows. Somewhere out there a VHS tape might still exist that shows me saying nothing but "Hi, I'm Bill Berry" about three dozen times at various moments throughout the night.

REM was my favorite band because their music sounded like a true and real democracy. What I mean is that their songs never sounded like "a Stipe song" or a "Buck song". All four of those guys brought something unique to every song, and in doing so, no band before or since has sounded quite like REM. "All Songs Berry Buck Mills Stipe" indeed.

Fun Theory: People with big eyebrows tend to be the most interesting people you're going to meet in this life.

See, the thing is - REM were a great band to get high to. Far and away my favorite band to get high to.

They were also a great band to drive to, and guess what! Back then, in the 1980's, my buddies and I used to do alot of "buzz runs", which was nothing more than driving around out in dairyland, passing around a pipe and cranking tunes. Most of the time it was my car, a muscled 1973 Chevy Nova. Most of the time, we ended up parked out at Rabbit Ridge, our secret party spot at the end of a very long fire road. We partied out there dozens, maybe hundreds of times, and we never once encountered a cop.

One summer we grew our own weed out there. "Gardening At Night", indeed. (It wasn't very good weed.)

Anyways, I could probably dedicate a blog to REM alone, but I think we all know exactly how little writing I actually do, so...

RIP, REM. No band will ever matter more to me, for so many reasons I will probably never share. Thank you.

Hotcha! Hank

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