REM’s Mike Mills: ‘Nirvana and The Strokes might not have happened without us’

Bassist says his band helped 'change American rock' and pave the way for alternative music

R.E.M‘s Mike Mills has suggested that his band helped change American rock music and that the likes of Nirvana and The Strokes may not have been successful without them.

Mills and the rest of R.E.M made their ]decision to split public in September, and in an interview with Scotland On Sunday, the bassist claimed that they had helped pave the way for success for other alternative bands.

When asked if his band’s influence was comparable to The Beatles, he replied: “They were a worldwide phenomenon who literally changed the world. We did not.”

However, he went on to add:

We maybe changed US rock, over a time – we forced mainstream radio stations to open their playlists to music they might otherwise not have been interested in playing. Would Nirvana and The Strokes have happened without us? You can never know.

He also suggested that other artists might find it hard to replicate R.E.M‘s longevity and sustained success, adding: “It’s going to be very difficult for a band to have a 30-year career. We were lucky lucky lucky, and we all believed in the band over our egos.

“None of us had drug problems, and none of us died from other causes. We avoided all of that.”

Last week, R.E.M‘s guitarist Peter Buck admitted that he was sad the band could never play together again, but also revealed he couldn’t imagine them changing their minds over their decision to split.

R.E.M released their final studio album ‘Collapse Into Now’ in March this year, and will release the compilation record ‘Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011’ on November 15.

Earlier this month, singer Michael Stipe and bassist Mike Mills ruled out the possibility that the band would ever reunite. Mills also said he thought it was unlikely that Stipe would release a solo album and was unlikely to continue making music.

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