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Exclusive: In upcoming ‘Speakeasy’ episode, R.E.M. members recall the changes the band underwent for ‘Monster’ tour

Credit: Jim BelmontIf you’re looking for a great holiday gift for that R.E.M. fan in your life, you might consider the recently released deluxe 25th anniversary reissue of the chart-topping 1994 album, Monster. The record found the influential group moving in an edgier and louder direction following its two mellower, hugely successful predecessors — 1991’s Out of Time and 1992’s Automatic for the People.

R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe and bassist Mike Mills recently were interviewed for an upcoming episode of the PBS series Speakeasy, and in this exclusive clip, they share recollections about Monster and the tour in support of it, which was the band’s first trek in five years.

Stipe noted that in organizing the Monster trek, “We worked really closely with filmmakers and video makers and set designers and lighting people…to ensure that what we were presenting was something that was bigger, flashier and different from what we had last presented.”

Stipe and Mills also discussed the changes they had gone through since R.E.M.’s previous tour.

“I shaved my head, ’cause my hair was thinning and I was a pop star, and you can’t have thinning hair if you’re a pop star,” Michael explained. He added that he was one of the first rock frontman to do so, and was honest with interviewers about why he did it.

As for Mills, he grew his long and wore flamboyant Nudie-style suits, like the ones many country artists had worn for decades.

“I wanted to give the people on my side of stage something to look at,” Mike explained. “And I grew up loving those [suits]…I know they’re ridiculous, but on the other hand, they’re beautiful and they’re really fun to wear.”

The Speakeasy episode with Stipe and Mills premieres in spring 2020.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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