R.E.M.: Why They Broke Up

It may be the end of the world for R.E.M., but they feel fine.


The band, which called it quits last week after 31 years in the alternative rock scene they helped invent, split amicably, with friendships still intact. In an interview with Rolling Stone, bassist Mike Mills says that they had intended to break for a few years now.

"There is sadness because I will never play on the same stage as Peter and Michael again," he told the magazine. "We're doing this for good reasons, and we end up looking back at all the fun, the joy and the incredible opportunities we had."

After the failure of their 2004 album, "Around The Sun," the band decided they had to prove that they still had the proverbial it before stepping away. Then came 2008's "Accelerate," and this year's "Collapse Into Now."

"We needed to prove, not only to our fans and critics but to ourselves, that we could still make great records," he said, "and we made two... We thought, 'We've done it. Now let's do something no other band has done: Shake hands and walk away as friends.'"

Following the departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1997, the band nearly broke up. It took a separation and, later, arbitrator to bring them back together.

Lead singer Michael Stipe said that the band came, "to the conclusion that we wanted to continue doing what we were doing, because we had immense respect for each other, and we had a great love for each other, and the thing that brought us together as a band in the first place was our love of music. We also recognized that what we created as a group was much bigger, and much stronger, than anything we could do individually."

For much more on the breakup, click over to Rolling Stone.