R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck said the band broke up at the right moment in 2011, and explained why he wouldn’t want to go through their level of success again, making a reunion unlikely.
R.E.M. split in 2011, and while the guitarist has been involved in a wide range of musical projects since then, he hasn’t attempted to pursue another top-flight experience.
“When it got really big, I don’t know if anyone really enjoys that,” Buck told Classic Rock. “When the non-musical stuff became so intense, it took away some of the pleasure for me. It’s just the stuff where you kind of wake up and go: ‘God, I don’t really want to have my picture taken today. And I don’t really want to pretend to be an actor in some video where I can’t act.'”
He listed selling “multiple millions of records” and playing at Glastonbury in 1999 and 2003 among his most favorite achievements, but added: “it was never the reason I did it. And when we got to the point where we decided that it was the end, it felt like a great shared experience. I wouldn’t change it, but I’m not gonna go back to it.”
Buck argued R.E.M.’s career ended with two “really strong” albums, 2008’s Accelerate and 2011’s Collapse Into Now. “But I just felt like, no matter how good our last record was, it wasn’t really our time any more,” he said. “And that’s fair, I understand that. … when it was over I didn’t have a lot of interest in pursuing that type of largeness again.” He concluded: “[A]ll I really want to do is write songs, play them and record them.”
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