Peter Buck has opened up about whether he would ever want an R.E.M. reunion.
The band broke up on September 21, 2011, posting a statement on Instagram that said “as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” adding that they were walking away with “a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished”.
Now, in a new interview with Classic Rock Magazine (via Louder Sound), former guitarist Buck has reaffirmed that the band’s split is permanent.
“When the non-musical stuff became so intense, it took away some of the pleasure for me,” Buck said, reflecting on the band’s success after they got “really big”.
“It’s just the stuff where you kind of wake up and go, ‘God, I don’t really want to have my picture taken today. And I don’t really want to pretend to be an actor in some video where I can’t act’.”
He continued: “I loved playing Glastonbury and playing in front of lots of people and selling multiple copies of records, but it was never the reason I did it.
“And when we got to the point where we decided that it was the end, it felt like a great shared experience.
“I wouldn’t change it, but I’m not going to go back to it.”
The musician continued that he felt the band ended things at the right time while they were on a high.
“The last two records were really strong,” he said. “But I just felt like no matter how good our last record was, it wasn’t really our time anymore. And that’s fair, and I understand that.
“And we were lucky. The last tour we did, we were still playing to huge amounts of people. We went to South America, which was like being The Beatles. So everyone felt like, ‘Yeah, this is a really good stopping point.”
Last year, lead singer Michael Stipe also put an end to any suggestions R.E.M. could reunite.
Elsewhere, R.E.M.’s Stipe and bassist Mike Mills told NME in 2019 that there is still some “unheard” material that was never released by the band.
“There aren’t that many that are complete like [‘Fascinating‘], which was complete and mixed but we just couldn’t put it on a record,” Mills said.
“There are other things floating around but not that much. With most of it, if it was worth putting out then we’d have put it out by now.”