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R.E.M. Look Back

Page 3 of 4

7 Sydney 1995
[ Photograph by Tom Sheehan ]

Buck: That was the Monster tour. The playing part was good. But Bill almost died. [Berry suffered a double brain aneurysm in Switzerland and underwent emergency surgery. He recovered, and the tour resumed.] I think it made him rethink a lot about his life. He never toured again. By the end, everyone was burned out. In a way, that picture says, "I'll be glad to get this over with."

Mills: We'd been going for fifteen years. Then life caught up with us. If you brush death like that, it plants a seed in your mind – you can't be twenty-two forever.

Stipe: There was a period when it was hit-and-miss – nine days when Bill could have died. He came through it intact. But something was lost and changed when he left [in 1997]. There was a chemistry we had as a four-piece; we've come to another chemistry, but it took us so long to do it.

8 Miami 1992
[ Photograph by Anton Corbijn ]

Stipe: That was in Miami. It's on the inside sleeve of Automatic for the People [1992]. I was being swept out to sea and drowning [laughs]. Anton is much taller than me, and I was in deeper water than he was. There was a strong undertow. I had just been engulfed by a wave, and was gasping for air when he got the shot. But Anton has taken some of the best and most generous images of me. I will do anything he asks me to. His eye reigns supreme. I was thrilled the first time he came to Georgia in 1988 to photograph our little band. I knew who he had worked with – U2, Joy Division – and that was a big deal to me.

9 Los Angeles 1994
[ Photograph by Anton Corbijn ]

Stipe: I'm dropping my pants in Los Angeles. It was after Madonna's Sex book came out, with the picture of her hitchhiking [nude]. That's Sunset Boulevard in the background. Nobody stopped. But I got some good looks.

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