R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe sat down with Stephen Colbert to talk about being an artist, the current state of politics, and deciding to make music again
Stipe said that on doctors orders he recently stopped watching the news and stopped drinking caffeine. He also shut down all his social media accounts.
Stipe also recently published a new book of photography, Interference Times, which is about “the space we’ve been in since digital technology has brought us to where we are right now, analog versus digital.”
Stipe also talked about feeling like an outsider and relating to “the island of misfit toys,” a characterization that led him to speak eloquently about 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg: “[She’s] an amazing example of someone who said this aspect of me – her being autistic or on the spectrum – is what I consider to be a superpower. In one sentence she flipped the entire story to present herself as something that can take what makes her very different and maybe what some people would look at as a liability and place it as something actually heroic and vulnerable but very, very strong.”
Colbert asked Stipe about Trump’s use of R.E.M. songs at his rallies and campaign events: “Is there really nothing you can do?”
Said Stipe: “It’s a licensing problem and there’s nothing we can do except respectfully request that they not use them.”
Stipe did get the opportunity to tell Donald Trump “shut up” to his face at one point in his life.
Stipe has started making music again.
“I was encouraged by the group Extinction Rebellion,” Stipe explained. The group’s mission is using nonviolent civil disobedience to bring about government action on climate change.
And here’s “Drive to the Ocean” by Michael Stipe.
And his previous release, “Your Capricious Soul”.