Michael Stipe told Trump to “shut up” for talking during Patti Smith concert

"Excuse me, that’s my friend. And you have to stop talking."

Michael Stipe has spoken about the time he berated Donald Trump for talking too loudly during a Patti Smith concert.

The R.E.M. singer was sat next to Trump at one of Smith’s charity concerts in the late 1990s, according to a new interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and became increasingly annoyed by the business mogul’s behaviour.

“We got there late, and it was standing room only,” Stipe recalls. “They took us to the VIP overflow booth. This businessman, this big loud guy came in. He sat next to us. He was talking to [his date], and he kept talking to her through the performance. It was very disruptive and loud, frankly.”


Stipe eventually complained to Trump: “I told him, ‘Excuse me, that’s my friend. And you have to stop talking. What are you doing? Shut up!’” The current President of the United States – then known primarily for his high-profile business ventures – eventually “got up and left.” Watch the clip of Stipe recounting the story below.

In the interview, Colbert also asked the singer why Trump continues to play R.E.M.’s music at his campaign rallies – despite the band’s frequent objections. “There’s nothing we can do but respectfully request he not do so,” Stipe explained.

When Colbert asked why they didn’t take a more forceful approach, Stipe paraphrased Michelle Obama: “Because we take the high road. When they go low, we go high.”

Earlier this month (January 4), Stipe shared his second solo single ‘Drive To The Ocean’.


The track was shared on Stipe’s official website on his 60th birthday. Proceeds from sales over the first year will go to Pathway to Paris, a charity dedicated to bringing together artists, musicians and activists to fight climate change.

The organisation is working towards turning the Paris Agreement into reality and was founded by Rebecca Foon and Patti Smith’s daughter Jesse Paris Smith.