Singer-songwriter, musician, producer, visual artist, director, erstwhile focal point of the pioneering indie rock band R.E.M, Michael Stipe turns 62 today. Happy Birthday Michael!
Michael, from back in 1998, Steve Bloom’s High Times interview
SB: How did you feel about Allen?
MS: He was a funny guy (laughs). All these guys have great senses of humor. There was a lightness about Allen. I was explaining last week to someone because those two images (of him in the book, Two Times Intro – On the Road with Patti Smith) made it into the photo show at the Robert Hiller Gallery) – the one of him taking the picture of me and the one with the camera down looking at me
There was a wonderment about him. He carried that to his death, a curiosity I guess. We should all have that kind of a curiosity in our mellow years. Allen just had it all. That was maybe the key to his being so good, so appreciative.
SB: Did you feel a particular kinship with him?
MS: He found me irresistible. He was very open with his affections, which kind of made him very special to me.
When The Guardian‘s Roseanna Greenstreet asked him, in January of 2020, “What was the best kiss of your life?”, Michael unequivocally replied, “Allen Ginsberg” (bringing to mind, Matthew Dickman‘s recollection, quoted in The New Yorker some years back – “..we kissed for probably fifteen minutes. And it was so sweet and wonderful – like kissing a mushy orange”)
Michael openly evoked Allen and the Beats in his 2014 induction speech, inducting Nirvana into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame
From 2018 his selection of his own favorite R.E.M.songs
& from that same month – (the) “songs and albums that have meant the most to him”
Allen and Michael as photographers – Michael has, so far, published three books under the Damiani imprint, following 1998’s Two Times Intro..., Volume 1 (with Jonathan Berger) (2018), Our Interference Times – A Visual Record (with Douglas Coupland) (2019), and, most recently, April 2021, Michael Stipe – Portraits Still Life, ” a lockdown interpretation of a 21st century portrait”, “with a resolute desire to show our resilience, our humor, our collective fortitude”. More to come.
“The male idea of power is so dumb” – Miranda Sawyer of The Guardian interviews him on the occasion of this new book.
He is interviewed that same month on “R.E.M.’s Legacy and Writing Music Again” for Rolling Stone
& from September his WYNC radio interview with Alison Stewart, where he announces to the world that, after a ten-year break-up, R.E.M.will never reunite again
From October 2021 – the Jacobin interview. (Michael on politics)
Happy Birthday, Michael Stipe.