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R.E.M. Look Back

Page 4 of 4

10 New York 1998
[ Photograph by Anton Corbijn ]

Buck: It's right after Up [1998]. I think Mike and Michael had a hard time figuring out who we were going to be without Bill. But if anyone asks me, to this day I still say Bill Berry is a member of R.E.M. He's just the one who doesn't do anything or get paid [laughs]. Who we are is a result of having been with Bill. He influenced my songwriting. Bill was the guy who always wanted to get to the chorus faster.

Mills: I look at R.E.M. with Bill and after as two different bands. They just have the same name and mostly the same people. There were crises of confidence, times when I was prepared to accept that it was over. But I was also going to do everything I could to make sure that didn't happen.

11 London 2005
[ Photograph by Anton Corbijn ]

Stipe: That is backstage on our last tour. When people go to a show, they don't want someone to look like they just walked off the street. This is a little nod to theatricality and the absurdity of the moment. We've been through hell as a three-piece, and some of it is evident in the music. But we've also written some of our most beautiful songs on those records, and I'm happy and excited about our new material and the direction we're headed in. We want to write and record one of the great albums of all time – and in our minds, it hasn't happened yet.

This story is from the March 22nd, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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