“We had nothing going on this summer, so…”

They announce three month world tour because they had "lots and lots of fun" doing promo shows...

R.E.M, who announced their world tour on Monday, have denied that poor sales of their latest album ‘Up’ spurred their decision to hit the road.

R.E.M‘s last scheduled indoor dates were part of the 1995 ‘Monster’ tour, but were scrapped after former drummer Bill Berry suffered an aneurysm in Switzerland. The band did return to the UK in July that year to play two concerts at Milton Keynes Bowl.

Since the release of ‘Up’ in October, however, R.E.M have only played small concerts for fans, including one for BBC2’s Later… With Jools Holland and another for Radio 1.

At the time, they said they just “didn’t want to tour”.

But last week Michael Stipe told NME: “We had nothing going on this summer so decided to do some gigs. We had a great time in the fall doing promo shows. We love the record and are really excited to play.”

R.E.M‘s spokeswoman said last week the band had changed their minds as they had enjoyed playing live again so much recently. She denied that the band had been encouraged to hit the road to boost disappointing sales of their LP.

“That’s completely not true,” she said. “The album has sold 300,000 in the UK, it’s only in the US where sales have been poor. No, it’s because they’ve had lots and lots of fun. R.E.M never do anything that they don’t want to do.”

As well as their single, ‘At My Most Beautiful’, which is released on March 8, she added that the band were expected to release another track from their album around the time of the tour.

Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills will be accompanied by Scott McCaughy, Ken Stringfellow and Joey Waronker, who have all played with the band on recent live dates.

The full tour schedule is

Portugal Lisbon Pavilhao Atlantico (June 17) Spain Madrid venue to be confirmed (19) Vigo Recinto Playa de Samil (20) London Earl’s Court (22, 23) Glastonbury Festival (25) Germany Essen Georg Melches Stadium (26) Frankfurt Neulsenberg Stadium (27) Hanover Maschee (29) Berlin Wuhlheide (30) Denmark Roskilde Festival (July 2) Belgium Werchter Festival (4) France Paris Bercy Stadium (5) Switzerland Montreux Stravinski Auditorium (6) Austria Vienna Staatsoper (8) Hungary Budapest MTK Stadium (9) Italy Bologna Dallara Stadium (11) Germany Munich Horse Riding Stadium (13) Switzerland Zurich Hallenstadion (14) Manchester Evening News Arena (17) Stirling Castle (19, 20) USA Los Angeles Greek Theatre (9,10) Irvine Meadows (11) San Francisco Shoreline Amphitheatre (13) Denver Red Rocks Amphitheatre (15) San Antonio Retama Park (17) St Louis Riverport Amphitheatre (19) Chicago The World (20) Minneapolis Midway Stadium (21) Clarkston Pineknob (23) Canada Toronto Molson Amphitheatre (24) USA Cuyahoga Blossum Music Center (25) Raleigh Walnut Creek Amphitheatre (27) Atlanta Chastain Park Amphitheatre (29,30, 31) Seattle Bumbershoot (September 2) Long Island Jones Beach Theatre (4) Washington DC(5) Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center (6) Camden Blockbuster-Sony Music Entertainment Center (10) Mansfield Great Woods Amphitheatre (11)

Tickets for the UK gigs only are available from February 12 at #25 in Stirling, #27.50 for all other dates, via the NME 24-hour ticketline on 0870 1212 500 or click here to check out our online gig guide.