STIPE’S A SAINT

The R.E.M frontman sings four of the songs on the dance group's new album...

Michael Stipe of R.E.M has spoken about the four songs he has contributed to for Utah Saints‘ forthcoming album, ‘TWO’.

Stipe, who declared last year that the dance duo’s eponymous debut album was one of his favourite records, made his vocal contributions via phone line from the States. He said: “I was really honoured when they asked me to do something. I loved their first album. They have a great sensibility and an obvious love of pop. Also, I was aware of how they cut up stuff, so I knew they wouldn’t embarrass or humiliate me. So I just rambled on. I’m pretty good at rambling on.”

Speaking in The Sunday Times yesterday (July 2), he described one of the tracks, ‘Wiggedy Wack’ as being about ’80s teen-pop rappers Kriss Kross: “I saw them once in a deserted airport lounge in Atlanta. There they were, sitting entirely on their own in the biggest airport in the world, with their clothes on the wrong way round, looking like something the cat threw up.”

At the end of the song, he appears to make the Utah Saints “battlecry,” but he insisted it was a spontaneous comment: “We were talking about Utah because I happen to think that Utah is the most beautiful part of the United States.”

The other songs on the album – scheduled for release in September through Echo – that feature Stipe are ‘Sun’, which has snatches of him talking about the weather, saying “There’s grey sky in one direction and it’s like, clear blue sky in the other direction” and “The sun just came out and I can’t believe it,” ‘Rhinoceros’, on which he discusses the 1983 Federico Fellini film ‘And The Show Sails On’, and ‘Punk Club’, which features him speaking about various American cities.

Another track on the album, ‘Power To The Beats’ unites Public Enemy‘s Chuck D and Metallica, who have been at loggerheads over the issue of MP3 downloading from the Internet, with both bands having given clearance to use samples of their music.

Utah Saints made their live comeback at Glastonbury Festival last month, where they were joined on stage by Edwin Starr, who sang guest vocals on their recent Top 30 single ‘Funky Music’. They have completed a handful of UK dates and plan a further tour in the autumn.