"R.E.M.": Fiction - An Alternative Biography Hardcover – 5 Sep 2002
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Buckley has created a straightforward and enjoyable document -- Record Collector, October 2002
From the Author
From the author, David Buckley, September 2002.
As a journalist once told me, to be successful, rock biographies have to be one thing or another. They have to be either quick cut n paste jobs, published in time to ride the commercial wave of the latest pop phenomenon, or they have to be as weighty, as well-researched and as serious as, say, a biography of Field Marshal Montgomery. Well, my new book on R.E.M. hopefully isnt too weighty (its a good two hundred pages shorter than my previous book, on David Bowie), and its not always serious either (witness Peter Bucks refrigerated pants in Chapter 1!) either. As far as the research was concerned, I was fortunate to have many willing helpers, all bubbling over with enthusiasm.
Although this isnt an authorised biography, I was granted interviews with several key figures. I was able to speak to R.E.M.s urbane and hardworking manager, Bertis Downs, and two of the bands original members - the warm and self-deprecating Mike Mills, and the wonderfully garrulous Peter Buck. In fact, I interviewed Mike twice and Peter on three separate occasions. These interviews form the backbone of the book. I also was helped by dozens of musicians, producers, business executives, friends of the band, journalists and fans, who shared their R.E.M. stories with me. Their generosity of spirit made the book possible.
The first third of the book tells an astonishing tale of hard work and curmudgeonly determination, as four ragamuffin college drop-outs based in Athens, Georgia built up one of the biggest cult followings in rock. Part Two details the bands huge global success in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when those classic singles such as Losing My Religion and Everybody Hurts became the soundtrack to so many lives. And the third part looks honestly at the interpersonal problems that have since befallen the group, whilst putting the case for the claim that the band might just be producing some of the best music of their lives. With a rumoured tour and new album to follow in 2003, expect a busy time ahead.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
David Buckley is plainly a big R.E.M. fan, witness the careful research, but it doesn't stop him being critically analytical. He dives into battle on the impacts of rags to riches, of experimental to mainstream rock, of political involvement and private lives and on R.E.M.'s musical ambitions. Yet the writing is seamless, comfortably herding the action along without a blink. Every album is considered in context, exploring the tracks, the atmosphere and the direction, crafted with pithy insights from all involved. The big issues which have progressed and blighted the band are also chewed around; the integrity of their move from indie to major label, the ethics of their political tinkering, the 'did he jump or was he pushed' questions, even interrogating the quality of their belief in themselves and their music.
Given the importance place of R.E.M. in the history and credibility of superstar rock music I expected a heavy, serious, learned tome.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book. Doesn't cover the final few albums but is a great read none-the-less.Published 20 months ago by Stuart