R.E.M. discuss Radiohead, and the deaths of Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix in ‘At The BBC’ Podcast series

This episode focuses on all the material from the box set from the 1990’s

R.E.M. have released part two of their ‘R.E.M. At The BBC Podcast’ series and NME has the first exclusive listen.

The podcast is based on the box set collection the band released earlier this year, which featured “rare and unreleased live and studio recordings” from across archives at the BBC.

Spanning over 30 years, the box set consists of 8 CDs, a DVD, a John Peel Session (1998), Drivetime and Mark and Lard appearances (2003) together with a live performance in Radio 1’s Live Lounge (2008).


The new podcast series features rare interview material with the band from the BBC archives. This exclusive new episode focuses on all the material from the box set from the 1990’s, including the band’s 1995 Milton Keynes ‘Monster’ Tour, their John Peel Session from 1998 and their headlining set from Glastonbury 1999. Listen below.

Part two sees Michael Stipe reflecting on the recent deaths of River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain and how they contributed to the making of ‘Monster’.

“I tried, I felt like Automatic for the People in terms of the subject matter was dealing with death, mortality and passage. We really covered that pretty well and we needed to do a record was really different than that,” he said during Radio 1’s Evening Session Show in 1994.

“We feel like we reached a zenith with that record,” he continued. “River’s death prevented me from being able to write for almost five months. When I did start writing I came up with ‘Crush with Eyeliner,’ ‘What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?’, ‘Circus Envy’ and then when Kurt died halfway through making the record and I just threw my arms up and I had to express the frustration that I had, trying to pull him out of the state of mind he was in and not succeeding you know, I wrote that song and we put it on the record.”


The episode also feature an old interview with drummer Bill Berry who had recently collapsed in Lausanne, Switzerland during a show. There’s also clips of Peter Buck discussing Radiohead, The Cranberries and more.