Michael Stipe will make his most high-profile solo appearance since the dissolution of R.E.M. when the singer performs on the March 29th episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The show’s official website confirms that Stipe will appear on Tuesday’s episode, his first visit to a late-night program since he dropped by The Colbert Report‘s series finale for an all-star sing-along.
Stipe has staged a few live appearances since the R.E.M. breakup, most notably serving as Patti Smith’s surprise opening act at a series of Smith concerts, first in December 2014 – where Stipe performed R.E.M.’s “New Test Leper” and “Saturn Return” amongst a handful of covers – and then covers-only performances opening for Smith in November and December 2015. Stipe also appeared at the 12-12-12 benefit concert to perform “Losing My Religion” alongside Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
In a December 2014 interview with CBS This Morning, Stipe revealed that fans would likely see him behind a microphone again, at some point. “I think I’ll sing again. That’s maybe an exclusive? But I think I will sing again, yeah,” Stipe said. “I love my voice and I think it’s still… I think it actually got better as I got older,” Stipe said while admitting the time frame for his return was “Not soon. Maybe. I don’t know.” Stipe added, “I sing in the shower. And I’m not bad. You would be surprised at my play list.”
Stipe recently spoke to Rolling Stone about why he’s supporting Bernie Sanders for president. “In art and in music, I seek out and listen for honesty and realness,” Stipe said in a video he sent to Rolling Stone. “That’s why I’m backing Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. In politics, he is the person who is offering me the most honesty and the most realness.”