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R.E.M. talks 2011 breakup in first interview together in almost 30 years

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The four members of R.E.M. – Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Bill Berry – opened up about their decision to call it quits in 2011 during their first interview together in nearly 30 years, which aired Thursday on CBS Mornings.

“I think the main reason was at that point, there wasn’t anything we could agree on really musically. What kind of music, how to record it, are we going to go on tour,” Buck said. “We could barely agree on where to go to dinner. And now we can just agree on where to go to dinner.”

“We’re also here to tell the tale, and we’re sitting at the same table together with deep admiration and lifelong friendship,” Stipe added. “A lot of people that do this can’t claim that.”

Buck explained they’re still friends because, “I think we quit at the right time,” noting, “This is a really good place to finish, you know – great tour, great album, go home.” 

Buck, Stipe and Mills all said they have no regrets about their decision to end R.E.M., although Berry, who quit the band two years after suffering a double brain aneurysm onstage in 1995, does have some about his departure.

When asked about it he got emotional, sharing, “That was a weird time for me and I made it weird for these guys, too.” 

But while they may still be friends, fans shouldn’t hold out hope for a reunion. When asked what it would take to get them performing together again, Mills joked, “a comet,” with Buck giving a good reason why it won’t happen.

“It’d never be as good,” he said.

The interview coincides with R.E.M.’s induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which is happening Thursday in New York City.

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