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September 13, 1999 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-13

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 13, 1999 - 11A

The Baltimore Sun
Other rock bands may go on tour
Sdrum up interest in their current
kum, but not R.E.M. These alt rock
legends didn't even hit the road in
support of their most popular album,
1991's "Out of Time." For them,
roadwork is not business as usual.
So why is the group touring now,
almost a year after the release of its
latest album, "Up"? Basically,
because they feel like it.
As bassist and keyboardist Mike
lls explains, the group did a few
motional appearances in Europe
last year and had a blast. They "were
so much fun, and we enjoyed playing
so much that we decided we would
do a tour," he says over the phone
from the band's home base in
Athens, Ga. "That's why we're out
It's been a while. R.E.M. hasn't
been on the road since the
"Monster" tour in 1995, during
*ich drummer Bill Berry suffered a
brain aneurysm in Lausanne,
Switzerland. Although Berry com-
p1deed the tour, he left R.E.M. after
re-cording "New Adventures in Hi-
Fi" in 1996. Although the rest of the
band - Mills, guitarist Peter Buck
and singer Michael Stipe -
announced that it would continue
without Berry, the band gave only a
handful of performances before the
ebase of "Up" last October.
. Now, however, R.E.M. seems
eager to make up for lost time.
Without a specific album to pro-
mote, Mills and company are free to
play pretty much anything they want.
Consequently, the set list changes
every night, and no two shows are
""It's a very liberating thing, this
tour," he says. "It's a great freedom
o out there and make a set list of
sically anything you want. We're
playing some of the hits, and some of
the non-hits, and whatever strikes
our fancy."
It helps that R.E.M., in its current
incarnation, has a lot of leeway

instrumentally, thanks to the three
guest musicians who flank Mills,
Buck and Stipe onstage. "We have a
lot of range," says Mills.
"Counting Ken Stringfellow, Scott
McCoy and myself, we have three
guys who can play guitar, bass or
keyboards. ... Peter even plays key-
boards on one song. So we can cover
a lot of bases."
Even drummer Joey Waronker
adds to the band's versatility. "He's
not just pounding the skins all the
time," says Mills. "He's got a lot of
other things that he does as well."
With the extra voices onstage,
R.E.M. is able to expand upon its
songs, in some cases rethinking the
original arrangements entirely.
"There are parts that are being
played that aren't on the records,"
says Mills. "There are a couple of
things we do that are just purely
acoustic, and then some of them
actually rock more than on the
"But mostly, we're just doing
songs that we really like to play and
don't need that much jazzing up."
Though the band feels free to play
pretty much anything from its cata-
log, Mills admits that the group does
play a lot of material from "Up" -
in part because radio doesn't.
"These are weird times we're liv-
ing in right now," he says. "It's like
there's a lot of novelty stuff on the
radio, and (everything else is) really
genre-specific. And since we've
never been ones to fit in any particu-
lar genre ..
"It's funny, because we started
completely out of the mainstream,
and now I feel like we're there
again," he adds.
Mills doesn't expect R.E.M.'s next
release to get a lot of airplay, either.
However, that won't keep people
from hearing it, because the project
is the soundtrack to Milos Forman's
Andy Kaufman bio-pic, "Man On the
Naturally, the filmmakers wanted
to use R.E.M.'s Kaufman tribute -
the 1993 single "Man on the Moon"
- as its movie's title song. "The log-
ical extension was to see if we could
get them to let us do the music," says
Mills. "They agreed to let us take it,
and Peter and I and Michael spent a
month in L.A. doing it."
Apart from the title tune and one
new song, Mills says that the score is
"strictly instrumental" and that
recording it proved a creative chal-
lenge for the band. "You're writing
for other purposes than just self-
gratification," he says. "You have to
please several other people."
Typically, the band would come up
with a couple different ideas for each
scene. "Then they listen to it and
pick one they like," he says. "Or
what Milos Forman is known for

Ethnic groups check
network standards

Los Angeles Times
A broad coalition of groups repre-
senting blacks, Latinos, Asian
Americans and American Indians said
Friday they would join forces in
demanding more ethnic diversity from
the four major broadcast television
networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking at a
Manhattan news conference to
announce the new joint effort, also
unveiled a plan, which he said was
developed with NAACP President
Kweisi Mfume, to pressure presiden-
tial candidates to take a stand on the
under-representation of minority
groups on the air and behind the cam-
Before the formation of the 19-
member coalition, the ethnic groups
had largely been acting on their own
since the issue came to the forefront
when the networks announced their
fall schedules in May, with almost no
minority actors in their new shows.
The National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People, for
example, has said it plans to launch a
boycott of one or two networks during
the November "sweeps" period that is
used to set advertising rates. And a
coalition of Latino groups has called
for a viewer boycott, which they've
labeled a "brownout," for two weeks
beginning Sunday.
Coalition members, noting that they
represent 30 percent of the American
population, said they plan to endorse

one another's boycotts and any other
future actions taken
Karen Narasaki, executive director
of the National Asian Pacific
American Legal Consortium, said that
by working together, the groups will
have "the power to match the power
that the networks can throw at us."
Since May, the networks have
added a number of ethnically diverse
characters to their shows, although
they have insisted that many of the
changes were already in the works
before the complaints began. , T
In response to the new coalition, a
CBS spokesperson reiterated the net,
work's position that it "remains com-
mitted to diversity in both its pro-
gramming and its organization," say-
ing CBS is proud of its shows "but
recognizes that improvement may be
needed within our industry. We recog-
nize and respect the issues they have
raised and are open to discussing
NBC said "creating diversity on and
off our air has been and continues to
be a top priority. Although we are very
proud of the minority representation;
in many of our series, we realize there
is still work to be done."
Fox said: "We agree that increasing
racial and ethnic diversity in televi
sion is an important goal, and toward
that end, we continue to pursue oppor-
tunities both on camera and behixid
the scenes."
ABC didn't return calls.

With a music credit for the upcoming film
up for Michael Stipe and R.E.M.
doing is taking a piece of music and
trying it in several different places
and seeing where he likes'it best."
Making the process even more
challenging was the fact that R.E.M.,
in order to accommodate its touring
schedule, wrote the music before the
film's final cut was completed.
"Normally, the composer won't get

'Man On the Moon,' things are looking
the picture until it's a lot closer to
being locked," explains Mills.
At this point, Mills still has not
seen the film's final cut. "But I have
seen several versions of it, and I
think it's great," he says. "Jim Carrey
is a really, really good actor. It's
amazing how much he inhabits Andy

T HE R Q 0 T S
L 0 V L I E *.

We're looking for thinkers. Not just their diplomas.

Andersen Consulting presentations:
LSA students-Thursday, September 16, 7:00 p.m., Pendleton Room.
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