5:02 PM GMT 17/05/2013
Colin Meloy (The Decemberists): "I was surprised to hear R.E.M. had split. I'd thought they were the sort of band that would keep going regardless of creative output or popularity or market fluctuations or sentiment. They had such a positive image of what it was to be in a band. It seems like a mature and healthy decision but I'm sad too. It would be nice if the world still had R.E.M. in it. But we must move on.
"Discovering R.E.M. was huge for me. I grew up in Helena, which is the capital city of Montana but it's still remote, even more so in the '80s. Music on the margins was even more so then. My uncle would send me mix tapes, and the very first one had R.E.M.'s Superman from Lifes Rich Pageant. It felt like a bolt out of the blue, so they defined my musical identity within a single stroke.
"Most artful American bands of the time were looking toward England, but R.E.M. drew from American music, The Byrds and country and folk music, while exploring that southern gothic aesthetic, which I found mindblowing. They were under my skin so much that anything I'd be doing would be R.E.M-influenced even if I was starting a speed metal band.
"They were the model for a band that stayed true to their aesthetic and managed to win a global success that seemed reserved for bands that would sell their souls. It requires a once-in-a-generation ability.
"In 2010, we asked Peter Buck to play on our album, The King Is Dead. It was awesome, in a selfish way, to be in a band with Peter for a moment and to watch and learn from a master and to express my gratitude and love for his playing.
"I haven't spoken to him since the announcement but I assume that, with a legacy like theirs, if anyone had reason to be satisfied with their accomplishments and creative influence, it's R.E.M."
As told to Martin Aston
Posted by Ross_Bennett at 12:14 PM GMT 25/10/2011