Michael Stipe quotes

  • Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious...
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Confused #Thinking #Confusing

  • For every great thing we did, there is a very public moment of falling on our faces. But everything that came through us as a band was a distinct vision of R.E.M.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Fall #Vision #Faces

  • Super casual music listeners. That's most of the people in the world. And you have to understand, that's why Top 40 radio exists. It's not there for people who seek out music and who love music.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #People #World #Radio

  • By the time I was 18, I had absorbed punk rock from America, Britain, and the West Coast. All of it was so dark and weird and different and cool and hot and sexy and rebellious. It was a fist-in-the-air kind of rebellion that I wasn't getting from the '70s mainstream.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Sexy #Dark #Rocks

  • Sometimes before we make a record I go back and listen to a few. It's equally humbling and uplifting.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Music #Uplifting #Records

  • I came to New York for the first time with Peter Buck at age 19. We spent a week living out of a van on the street in front of a club in the West 60s called Hurrah. It's where Pylon played. I saw Klaus Nomi play there. And Michael Gira's band before he did Swans-they all wore cowboy boots and were so cool and had great hair. I was so jealous.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #New York #Jealous #Cowboy

  • Love, love will be my strongest weapon
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Love #Weapons #Strongest

  • I am not an autobiographical writer. I'll take little elements here and there from things that I've actually experienced-counting eyelashes on a sleeping beauty, for example.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Sleep #Eyelashes #Elements

  • My feeling is that labels are for canned food... I am what I am - and I know what I am.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Feelings #Labels #I Am What I Am

  • I stopped taking drugs [in 1983]. There were a lot of things that led up to it. One thing was that a lover died. An ex of mine died in a car wreck and I was really trashed when I found out about it and I couldn't cry. I woke up the next morning and I said, "That's it," so I quit then. It was horrible.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Morning #Car #Drug

  • AIDS had landed and I was terrified. I was very scared, just as everyone was in the '80s. It was really hard to be sexually active and to sleep with men and with women and not feel you had a responsibility in terms of having safe sex.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Sex #Sleep #Responsibility

  • I think my apocalyptic feelings went deeper than [heavily influenced by Reagan and AIDS]. I'm really at peace with how afraid I am.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Thinking #Feelings #Aids

  • I'm afraid of everything. I'm not a naturally courageous person.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Courageous #Persons

  • By the time [of modern] generation was coming of age sexually, there was already this idea of safe sex. But that didn't exist for me. I came out of the free-swinging '60s and '70s. It was free love, baby. That was it. We had very liberal sex-ed classes in 1973, a yearlong environmental science class, and then Women's Lib and Gay Liberation. So it's insane to go from that to Reagan and AIDS. It was like, "What happened? Where's my future?"
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Baby #Sex #Gay

  • Punk-rock records came out and you bought whatever you could find. But Devo didn't happen for another three years. Sex Pistols didn't tour the States until '78. At that time, for me, it was really about CBGB, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, the Ramones, and Television.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Sex #Talking #Years

  • In fact, a lot of critics seemed to consider R.E.M. the first American music since the '60s to break out on its own and develop a stand-alone sound.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Firsts #Facts #Sound

  • I was born in Georgia. That's where my grandparents-and all my people-are from. But my family traveled a great deal because my dad was in the army as a helicopter pilot.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Dad #Army #Grandparent

  • [Columbia House] magazines were how I found out about the punk world going on in New York. Because of what I read, at the age of 15, I hounded the local record store to order a copy of Horses [1975] for me by Patti Smith.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Horse #New York #Order

  • The punk-rock ethos was "Do it yourself. Anyone can do this. We're not sent from the heavens."
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Ethos #Rocks #Heaven

  • The whole point of the punk-rock thing was that "We're not special. We just have a voice."
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Voice #Rocks #Special

  • You don't need to be talented. You don't even have to play the guitar to be a guitar player in a punk-rock band. So I, in a very naïve and teenage way, said, "That's it. I'm going to be in a band."
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Teenage #Player #Guitar

  • There tend to be two different drives that lead young people toward music. One is that music provides an escape; it takes you away from the unhappiness or torture of where you are and makes you feel less alienated-you believe there is a place you fit in somewhere else. The other is a sort of transcendent, spiritual feeling in the purity of music.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Spiritual #Believe #Two

  • At the [teenage] time , I did have an inkling of my sexuality. And I had an inkling that I was different from other people in ways beyond my sexuality. But I didn't get into music because I thought, Oh, these people will understand me.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Teenage #People #Way

  • I had to get a driver's license and drive to St. Louis to find the punk-rock scene that was happening there. And there was a punk-rock scene. It was sweet. It was real. It was like everywhere else in the county. It was a handful of people who were feeling the same pull, and, of course, it was like the Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer [1964]. Just the freaks, the fags, the fat girls, the unbelievable eccentrics .
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Girl #Sweet #Real

  • I knew [Kurt Cobain] and his daughter. And Courtney [Love] came and stayed at my house. R.E.M. worked on two records in Seattle and Peter Buck lived next door to Kurt and Courtney. So we all knew each other. I reached out to him with that project as an attempt to prevent what was going to happen.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Daughter #Doors #Two

  • I simply constructed a project to try to snap Kurt [Cobain] out of a frame of mind. I sent him a plane ticket and a driver, and he tacked the plane ticket to the wall in the bedroom and the driver sat outside the house for 10 hours. Kurt wouldn't come out and wouldn't answer the phone.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Wall #Phones #House

  • Frankly I'm not great with ***** addicts. I tried heroin, but it was by accident. I'm not great with that level of substance abuse.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Abuse #Levels #Substance

  • I'm kind of quoting Thurston [Moore] and Kim [Gordon] in saying that about not being great with addicts, because they are the ones who said it to me.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Kim #Kind #Said

  • When I hear music as a fan, I see fields. I see landscapes. I close my eyes and see an entire universe that that music and the voice, or the narrative, create. A music video-and any other kind of visual reference-is created by someone else.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Eye #Voice #Video

  • For me, as a music fan, visuals kind of steal away the purity of the song. My instinct is not to provide a visual to go with a piece of music. But here's MTV. It's really powerful.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Song #Powerful #Mtv

  • It was '86. We were a big enough name and we had enough cache that MTV wanted to play us, so, along with Michael Jackson and Madonna, they played our upside-down, black-and-white, backward, single unedited footage of a rock quarry with orange letters over the top of it and called it art.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Art #Black And White #Rocks

  • I started lip-synching with "Losing My Religion." There were a few horrendous mistakes we made, but I own those mistakes. I'm embarrassed by them. I always say when I look back at anything I've ever done, it's with equal dollops of humiliation and triumphant glory.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Mistake #Looks #Done

  • I was doing that [ a collaboration with Kurt Cobain] to try to save his life. The collaboration was me calling up as an excuse to reach out to this guy. He was in a really bad place.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Guy #Trying #Calling

  • When we signed with Warner Bros., they knew what they were getting. They knew they weren't going to get some easily manipulated prepackaged pop group. That was not going to happen. What they wanted, I think, was the integrity that we had to offer. What they wanted was the kind of street cred or cache that R.E.M. could bring to them and the chance that we would give them a hit or two. What happened was we gave them a bunch of hits. And we became huge.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Integrity #Thinking #Two

  • I was vulnerable every day. Every night that I stepped on stage I was laying myself open.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Night #Vulnerable #Stage

  • Our generation was supposed to be about trying to deal with nuclear concerns and environmental disasters.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Our Generation #Environmental #Trying

  • I was a teenager, we were pretty much fully indoctrinated, thanks to sexual scare tactics. I remember so many public-health commercials with a B-actor in a fake alley background warning us to use protection or telling us the only real safe choice was abstinence. We were highly frightened of sex from day one. There was no free-swinging '90s.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Sex #Real #Teenager

  • I don't find R.E.M. to be nihilistic. There is a constant undertone of joyous optimism. I'm not going to kill myself to Patti Smith or R.E.M.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Optimism #Joyous #Constant

  • I've never written a song that's hopeless. I'm not a hopeless person. I'm crazily optimistic. I crazily see the good in people. I crazily see the way out of a terrible situation. I crazily try to be the diplomat. If there are two warring factions in my life, I want them to agree to disagree at the very least.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Song #Optimistic #Two

  • When I write, I tend toward melancholy, and the few times that I've tried pure joy in music, it doesn't really work that well. The joy can be through catharsis. I think that's what I do well, and observation.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Writing #Thinking #Joy

  • I distinctly remember a conversation with my band in the van where I was having a complete meltdown. It was 1984, I think, and I was huddled in the back corner of our van and saying, "I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this." I didn't want to play any more shows. I just wanted to stop.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Thinking #Play #Want

  • I went through this difficult time [in the 1984] when we were making our third record where I kind of lost my mind. That's when the bulimia kicked in. And that's when I got really freaky.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Mind #Records #Difficult Times

  • I was vegetarian, trying to eat from fast-food restaurants without meat. I didn't know how to eat properly and I was starving. I was adrenalized to the eyeballs from performing. I was afraid that I was sick with AIDS. We were playing five shows a week. I even went through a period of abstinence where I didn't drink and stopped having sex. Which is crazy. Maybe I'm answering too many questions at once here, but this is where my mind was at the age of 25.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Sex #Crazy #Sick

  • Links have become the suburbs of the real world.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Real #World #Links

  • We're kind of an international phenomenon.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Kind #Phenomenon

  • When I get really hammered I take my clothes off. That's a sure sign. It's been a long time since the last time I did that. Probably a year.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Years #Clothes #Long

  • If you disagree with me, fine! Because that's the great thing about America, we can disagree!
    -- Michael Stipe

    #America #Fine #Great Things

  • To be called an elder statesman is so unbelievably insulting. Brad Pitt is exactly three years younger than me.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Years #Insulting #Three

  • They always want me to play myself and that's a big snooze.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Play #Want #Bigs

  • Never eat broccoli when there are cameras around.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Cameras #Broccoli

  • So, we just kind of created our own thing and that's part of the beauty of Athens: is that it's so off the map and there's no way you could ever be the East Village or an L.A. scene or a San Francisco scene, that it just became its own thing.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Beauty #San Francisco #Maps

  • There was never a golden era of American radio as far as I can tell.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Eras #Radio #Golden

  • By nature I will find hope in everything. Even if it's the most incredibly hopeless situation or circumstance. That's just me... I'll never be able to see things any other way.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Hope #Able #Way

  • But I think the one thing that I can say about us is that we're very consistent about certain things and part of that is our desire to do the very best work that we can and not rest on our laurels, or not allow formula to come into what we do.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Thinking #Desire #Laurels

  • Peter was sick of being a pop star, the guitar god, and so he decided to teach himself other instruments. Among the instruments that he picked up was the mandolin.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Stars #Guitar #Sick

  • When we first started, we were a band from Athens and that was so off the map.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Ukulele #Athens #Firsts

  • We don't get groupies.We get teenagers who want to read us their poetry.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Teenager #Want #Groupie

  • The whole punk ethic was do-it-yourself, and I've always been very literal, especially as a kid. When they said that anybody can do this, I was like, 'OK, that's me.'
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Kids #Ethics #Punk

  • When you meet a stranger, look at his shoes. Keep your money in your shoes.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Shoes #Looks #Stranger

  • I remember traffic jams Motor boys and girls with tans Nearly was and almost rans I remember this, this ... At the edge of the continent
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Girl #Crazy #Boys

  • Everybody hurts sometimes Everybody cries
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Hurt #Sometimes #Cry

  • The only thing to fear is fearlessness.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Fear #Fearlessness

  • The world of WONDERLAND is authentic, vibrant, and genuine. Stacey D’Erasmo explores the delight and terror of second chances. A great read!
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Second Chance #Wonderland #Delight

  • We toured that record for a year, which turned out to be the culmination of ten years of being constantly on the road. We were sick to death of touring.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Years #Sick #Records

  • So, we went from being an Athens band to being a Georgia band to being a Southern band to being an American band from the East Coast to being an American band and now we're kind of an international phenomenon.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Southern #Athens #Georgia

  • They spoke truth and a lot of people listened.... that voice, Kurt we miss you.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Voice #People #Missing

  • So, when you divide the world into music lovers, music fans and then those people who are just very casual about their music, it's wallpaper to them, it's elevator music, it's just the thing that's playing in the background that helps them through their day.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #People #Fans #World

  • I've always felt that sexuality is a really slippery thing. In this day and age, it tends to get categorized and labeled, and I think labels are for food. Canned food.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Thinking #Age #Labels

  • On planes I always cry. Something about altitude, the lack of oxygen and the bad movies. I cried over a St. Bernard movie once on a plane. That was really embarrassing.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Oxygen #Cry #Embarrassing

  • My iPod that was programmed by Peter Buck. It has 7,000 songs hand-picked for me by him.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Song #Hands #Ipods

  • I'm just not that fascinating a person to have had all those lives that I've written about.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Persons

  • I'm not homosexual, I'm not hetrosexual, I'm just sexual.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Music #Homosexual

  • I went through a period where I was really tired of seeing and reading about myself.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Reading #Tired #Periods

  • I really wanted to be on Six Feet Under as a corpse. That would be hysterical.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Feet #Six #Would Be

  • And I don't expect anyone can bring about a revolution in the way that Bob Dylan did - and really didn't - in the 1960s.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Way #Revolution #Bob

  • Because the casual music listeners are the ones who turn on the radio and they don't really care what's playing, they just know that they kinda like it or it's easy to drive to or it's easy to sing along to or whatever.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Care #Radio #Easy

  • If I'm tired of me, I'm sure the public is as well.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Tired #Wells

  • I'm tired of being this solemn poet of the masses, the enigma shrouded in a mystery.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Tired #Mystery #Poet

  • A wise man once said-'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave,'
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Wise #Party #Men

  • There are people that very strongly identify themselves as gay and then lesbian, and then I think there are a lot of people who are kind of some percentage or some version of that.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Gay #Thinking #People

  • There is always something of the writer in the work but I don't think Melville had to be swallowed by a whale to write a great novel. If I had lived the lives of all the characters of the songs I've written, that would truly be an extraordinary story.
    -- Michael Stipe

    #Song #Character #Writing

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