REM have split up after 31 years.
The band, considered one of the most influential groups of all time, as well as one of the most successful, announced their decision yesterday (September 21) via their website REMhq.com.
Their joint statement read: "To all our fans and friends: as REM, and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."
The band members went on to add their own personal messages.
Singer Michael Stipe wrote. "A wise man once said: 'The skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave. We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it. I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way. We have to thank all the people who helped us be REM for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this thing. It’s been amazing.”
Guitarist Peter Buck added: "One of the things that was always so great about being in REM was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.
"Mike, Michael, Bill and Bertis [Downs, manager] and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as you know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club; watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world."
Bass player Mike Mills concluded: "During our last tour, and while making 'Collapse Into Now' and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘what next?’ Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realised that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.
"We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this – there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right."
REM formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980 and released 15 studio albums, from 1983's 'Murmur' to this year's 'Collapse Into Now'. Drummer Bill Berry quit in 1997 to become a farmer, having suffered a brain aneurysm two years earlier. He was never officially replaced.
The Strokes, The Futureheads and Zane Lowe are among those who have paid tribute to REM on Twitter, following the band’s announcement that they are to split.
The Futureheads wrote: “REM-RIP. You won't find better indie-rock records than 'pageant' 'reckoning' 'murmur' 'green'. The first 4 Warner ones are great too IMO.” Meanwhile Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes simply posted a link to a live version of ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ – which can be seen below – and the words “RIP REM”.
BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe also paid his respects to the seminal indie band, speaking out against those who mocked the break-up, writing:
"Despite some pretty pithy comments on here re REM breaking up, I am personally really grateful to the band for all the great records & shows… They have been an integral part of the modern story of rock n roll. They made learning fun… REM never dumbed down. Look at the bands they influenced...The Smiths, Radiohead, Nirvana and so on. And they end with dignity. Most won't."
Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai was one of those were less than moved by the news, saying: “REM were the most overrated band on the planet and their singer is the rudest person I've ever met.”
NME.COM users have paid tribute to REM after they announced their split yesterday (September 21).
The Georgia band parted ways yesterday, posting a joint statement on their website REMhq.com
The statement reads:To all our fans and friends: as REM, and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.
Meanwhile, NME.COM users have largely been positive in the comments about the split, with Jack Buckley in particular heartbroken. He wrote: "I'm so sad, I just really loved them." Mark Riley felt the same, writing: "Absolutely heartbroken at this news."
Chris Kinloch also mourned the loss of the band, he wrote: "This really can't be happening, one of the greatest alternative rock bands and probably the most influential too have split up. This is a sad day for music."
Barry Brien and a number of other users celebrated the move though, with Brien writing: "Not a moment too soon. They haven't been relevant or interesting since the 90s." Patrick Smith was also delighted, simply writing "Thank god".
A number of fans also wrote that while they were sad about the band's demise, their last few releases had been nothing to shout about.
Dave Vickers expressed that sentiment, writing "So long and thanks for all the great music! It's a good time to call it a day as the last 10 years were patchy to say the least." Amir Ahmed agreed, he wrote: "They've done the right thing. 'Green' still sounds as good to me today as it did back when."
Adam Harvey also felt that way, writing: "Sad times! Probably not such a bad thing, in the long run. 31 years is a long time and they deserve to be remembered as legends now the band is finally over. Regardless of their impact on the music scene of the last 15 years or so, they changed the landscape of the music industry beyond recognition in the late 1980s/early 1990s."