REM star ‘despises’ George Bush

Frontman Michael Stipe is backing Barack Obama for president

R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe has hit out at outgoing American president George Bush.

Stipe has said the lyrics for their recent single, ‘Man-Sized Wreath’, are inspired by his hatred for the man.

The track begins with the lyrics: “Turn on the TV and what do I see/A pageantry of empty gestures all lined up for me“.

Stipe explained of the words: “That’s a reference to our current president, who I very publicly despise.”

He added: “I just can’t stand the guy or his administration and it was about him going to the graveside of Martin Luther King, one of my heroes, and I think desecrating the memory of that great man and his work by being there during the Iraq war. I found it pathetic so I wrote that song about it.”

Speaking to BBC 6music, Stipe only had praise for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

He said: “You want an exceptional American, yeah, and I think he’s probably an exceptional person. You look at the way he’s put his campaign together and the way he responds to many of the criticisms that are already being lobbed at him, either from the Clinton family (he beat Hillary Clinton to the nomination) or from the McCains.”

Stipe added: “Yes, I think he’s going to make it, and it will be a better day for all of us.”

R.E.M are currently on the UK leg of their European tour – they play Southampton Rose Bowl this evening (August 27) and then play London‘s Twickenham Stadium on Saturday (30).