R.E.M.: “All Musicians Should Be As Political As They Can”

12 November 2017, 18:42

The band’s Mike Mills tells Radio X that more artists should use every opportunity to protest.

R.E.M.’s Mike Mills says that he’s “frustrated” that not enough musicians are using their status and fame to make political comments.

Speaking to Radio X, the bassist and vocalist with the veteran band said: “I find it frustrating that there aren’t more musicians using their platform.

“I think all musicians should be as political as they can be and I think all citizens should be as political as they can be. And I think that anyone who gets frustrated by that should, I don’t know, go listen to classical or something.”

Mills was speaking to Radio X’s John Kennedy about the new deluxe edition of R.E.M’S classic 1992 album, Automatic For The People, which was written and recorded in the time of George Bush, the Gulf War and the horrifying impact of the AIDs crisis.

Speaking about the raging track Ignoreland, Mills said: “Dark times come and dark times go, and then they come back again. It’s just profoundly frustrating that that song is still relevant now as it was then - if not more so.

“America is a great country and we get really, really frustrated that we keep voting against our own interests and keep voting these buffoons into office.

“You get a lot of this ‘Shut up and sing’ from people and you’re like, Well you’re not paying attention. What we sing about is stuff that you may not want to hear, but it has to be said and that’s our method of saying it.

“I think people are afraid to speak up. Of course, it means all the more that you should speak up and counter whatever idiocy is out there.”

You can watch Mills and bandmate Michael Stipe take John Kennedy through Automatic For The People track by track right here.