December 17 – REM-arkably Versatile Mike

Happy birthday to one of the more talented and more down-to-earth stars of the Alternative Rock world. Mike Mills was born on this day in 1958 in California. Luckily for the music world, as was the case with bandmate Peter Buck, his parents moved the family to Georgia when Mike was young and he met drummer Bill Berry in Macon, formed a group and then met Michael Stipe and Peter Buck when they went to Athens for university. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mills was likely the most-talented musician in R.E.M., playing bass for them but also capable of handling drums, keyboards of all variety and even guitars to assist their main six-stringer, Peter Buck at times to. While he added the distinctive counter-melodies to Michael Stipe on a number of their hits, he also sang lead on a few of their memorable tunes, including covers of “Love Is All Around” and “Yellow River” and two great ones from Out of Time: “Texarkana” and “Near Wild Heaven.” As to their success, he told the Guardian a few years back that “it’s a balancing act. You want to be grateful and graceful (but) not let it go to your heads. That was one of the reasons we never moved to New York City. Staying in Athens helped us keep our feet on the ground.”

Never one to let dust settle under his feet, when not with R.E.M. (and since then) he’s worked with artists like Warren Zevon, Robbie Robertson and the Indigo Girls and recently has been touring with a violinist, Robert McDuffie and a classical ensemble, plus members of the Drive-by Truckers in a mix of classical and rock .Noteworthy enough is it that the Wall Street Journal reviewed it, calling it “strong on melody but weak on classical fluency.” When not making music, Mike’s likely watching sports – he is a fantasy football star and has written articles about his beloved Atlanta Braves for publications including Rolling Stone.

7 thoughts on “December 17 – REM-arkably Versatile Mike

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    I don’t like his baseball team but I love that he loves the sport! lol… I was going to say he was an important part of REM but all of them were…they were a real band that worked together…kinda like The Band. You need all of them to make it the same.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. yep, the mark of a great band. Another I suppose is when they break up, the individuals don’t go on to do bigger and better by themselves. Sorry Wham, that takes you off the list…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah, it was remarkable that they all contributed and mostly always got along and didn’t let the egos get out of control. You might not like Braves, but you’d like his stance on DH- he hates it in the NL, even though Atlanta had the best one this season.

      Like

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Oh yea…I personally like the leagues being different…just like all parks are different…not like the NFL where every field is the same.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like the different fields definitely…gives the game character and a bit of strategy required to tailor some rosters for a specific park. I liked when Houston had that little hill in the outfield, and the Green Monster in Boston and so on…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. badfinger20 (Max)

        That is what I like also…and it doesn’t bother me about slightly different rules between leagues …they used to have different umpires…one set for the AL and one for the NL…

        Liked by 1 person

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