When former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe watched the documentary R.E.M. by MTV, which is coming to movie theaters next week, one thing stood out to him about himself. “I realized [that] part of who I am now is that I came from a place of being paralyzingly shy,” the singer said in a video interview taken after a New York screening last year. “I’ve already subtitled this piece ‘Watch Michael Learn How to Talk.'”
The doc chronicles the history of the band by using footage from the vast archives of MTV, which came on the air around the same time the group started.
He also went on to praise his bandmates for being “really articulate and really natural” during on-camera interviews, as they discussed their music and art. “I was much less so,” Stipe said. “So as the [doc] unfolds, you get to see me learn how to actually put a sentence together.”
R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills also offered his reaction to the doc. “Really, the biggest shock and surprise was the day I realized I was actually going to be able to make a living at this,” he said. “Everything after that was just a series of events. But the day that Peter [Buck, guitar] and I walked down Broad Street in Athens, Georgia, and said, ‘You know, we could make this work,’ that was the big epiphany and everything from there fell into place.”
When an interviewer asks the bassist if he thinks he could still make a living from playing music, now that R.E.M. is over, he said, “I just think that I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I think about that every day and I offer up thanks to the universe that I was lucky enough to be in my spot.”
R.E.M. by MTV will get a special screening in movie theaters nationwide on Tuesday, May 19th. More information is available on Fathom Events’ website. The screening will also include interviews with R.E.M. by Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, as well as footage of the band’s appearances on TV, at awards shows and in concert.