REM didn’t plan chart success

REM bassist Mike Mills says the band never planned on having hit singles.

The band split in 2011 and have been active in releasing retrospective collections this year. They recently launched 7IN – 83-88, a collection of 11 7-inch singles and last month issued the six-DVD package REMTV. It features a documentary about the group along with live performances and interviews from their MTV years. But Mills says despite their worldwide success, having their singles chart was never part of the plan.

He tells Rolling Stone:”We never really planned on hits. The singles were picked out in cooperation with the record company. One of the reasons we formed the way we did was because commercial radio was unreceptive to anything that wasn’t promoted by a big record company in the big record company way.

“We put out singles because we like singles and they’re cool little pieces of music and art. If the big radio stations ever played them, that was great, but certainly early on it was as much for college radio as anyone else. They were merely calling cards for the albums we were putting out.”

And he says now the dust has settled on their career, it’s been fun looking back through the archives.

He continues: “I can’t say that I’ve been awakened to anything I missed, but it is rewarding to see that people still care, and in ways to find out how much they cared at the time. It is one of our rare opportunities to look back, because we were always a band that looked forward.”

Earlier this year, Mills said a reunion wasn’t on the cards as he, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Bill Berry were “happy as clams” with life away from the band.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.