The music industry is quite fast paced especially in its current form with digital streaming. However bands like U2 and R.E.M. have stood the test of time. The two bands have also become friends along the way, so much so that R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe shared with The Telegraph in 2004 that Bono was the one who pulled him out of his songwriting rut.
So, while Stipe was having a writer’s block, Bono gave him advice that shifted his perspective. The singer shared that Bono was the one that helped him on his creative rebirth journey to make the band’s 13th studio album ‘Around The Sun.’
Michael opened up about Bono’s advice that pushed him to look at writing lyrics in a different way. He recalled:
“I am not a prolific writer and I really tap myself out to pull the lyrics out. It has never been easy. But Bono sat me down and said: ‘Think of it as being like a brick layer. Let’s just do what we do: write songs. They don’t have to be great. Just write them and see what happens.’”
Stipe added that he followed the U2 singer’s words and put pen to paper without thinking about the numeric outcome. He continued:
“So he gave me some very sage advice and I took it and ran with it. I just wrote and wrote and wrote. I stopped thinking about creating a perfect record and decided that if some of the songs are B minuses, then that’s OK, the ones that will rise to the top will be the A pluses. I pulled a lot of songs out and I kind of feel like I can keep doing it.”
Michael also admitted that with this new method of making an album and writing lyrics he was less intimidated by the idea of a next album. The singer added:
“For the first time in 24 years I didn’t collapse at the end of the last verse of the last song being put down on tape with this I’ll-never-be-able-to-do-it-again feeling that has haunted me for every record we have ever made.”
Even though Stipe doubted his ability to write songs for a brief moment, Bono praised the singer in his memoir, ‘Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story’ that came out last year. Here’s what Bono had to say about Michael’s influential songwriting:
“R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe’s lyrics changed the way we see America. He also has one of the great voices of any geography. This was a band that made the whole world want to visit Athens, Georgia.”
You can read Michael Stipe’s 2004 interview with The Telegraph here and listen to ‘Around The Sun’ below.
- U2’s Bono Once Saved Michael Stipe’s Career
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