I am angry at r.e.m

For the record, I posted this on the FB page and immediately WAS SAVAGED by the fanbase. Everyone hated me! I deleted my thread! They’re acting like I’m some sort of spoiled brat. Sigh. That’s the last time I express an opinion. lol. I’m hoping this thread will reveal some more robust comiseration…so here goes…

I AM MAD AT R.E.M.: Okay, let’s have a frank discussion here for those that want to participate. If all you do is post endless pics worshiping the band, this talk might not be for you, but for the rest of you with a more objective or critical eye, I’m curious about your opinion. For the record I’ve loved this band since the age of 12 and think they are the greatest band of all time. K?

But lately I feel unloved. I feel like R.E.M. don’t care about their fans at all. I feel neglected and shit upon. In short, quite frankly it sucks being an REM fan. Why? Because we get no involvement from them whatsoever. I look at other bands I adore (see RUSH and NIN) and regularly see cool and limited new merch in their shops. I see cool deluxe packages. I see stuff made with care, attention to detail, and love for both the music and the fans.

But when it comes to REM, I get the feeling that they could care less. They botched the Chronic Town 40 release–I mean, hiding behind projected sales is a very weak excuse for low effort. Just release a limited edition set, and it’ll sell out. Make it of good quality and scarcity and it will sell. Where are the legacy concert blu-ray releases from the 80s? The landmark concerts? The cool shit? The promo items? Reproductions from the vaults? None of this shit needs to be mass-produced. Put a team of REAL fans on it, hire a competent curator, sell for a fair sum, make it limited run, and you’ll get your money back and garner a shitload of goodwill in the process. Consider Neil Young’s bootleg series.

I know you might not be RUSH fans, but check out their website. See the varied amounts of goodies they have for sale. Sure they have more of a fanbase, but still. NIN does some cool shit too. But time and time again I’m stunned at how little REM’s legacy mean to them, and the truth is…I can’t help but feel insulted. If I had a fanbase, I’d be stoked to whet their appetites with cool releases. But REM fans get nothing. Just a Chronic Town skateboard. Ug. It’s…it’s…so depressing. So, yeah, I love this band…but feel I get nothing in return anymore aside from the music…which is fine, but spare me the “they owe us nothing” nonsense. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a band that cared about their legacy and loved their fans? Anyone?


I wouldn’t say I’m angry at them. I was very disappointed in the Hi-Fi and Chronic Town reissues, but I thought all the reissues up to then were great. And we had great sets like REMTV, Live at the BBC, and Unplugged.

I think they generally manage the legacy pretty well. If they don’t put as much stuff out there as the other bands you mention, I think it’s less that they don’t care, and more that they’re focused on current projects. They were never a band that liked looking back. They remain energised and excited by new projects, especially Buck. I love that about them.

I also think (and this has been debated elsewhere on here) that there isn’t that much interest in their legacy. This amazes me. In the mid-90s I used to say to people that in 25 years R.E.M. would be regarded in the same way as the Beatles. That hasn’t happened. It’s odd. I can’t really think of very many bands that have a catalogue as consistently brilliant as R.E.M.'s, as well as the level of influence they had.

But there we are. People are more interested in Oasis reissues than R.E.M. So there’s a supply and demand factor as well.


This. This was a quality reply. I thank you. You make many valid points, and I too am astonished that REM seems to be more of a footnote nowadays instead of the whole bleeping article, if you know what I mean. Thanks binky1978


I have felt let down by one aspect or another of each archival/anniversary release. The live shows have all been heavily edited would be my chief complaint. While the band members have never addressed this, I’m guessing it has to do with licensing issues in regards to cover material. When Craft Recordings entered the picture with the Warner Brothers anniversary releases, they kicked things up a notch, especially with Out of Time, Automatic for the People, and Monster. Rather than just demos or live shows, they gave us both. They also gave us videos from the time of each release. We also got a remix of Monster as well as Road Movie. It was also during this time that Chris Hartstonge of The R.E.M. Timeline helped to serve as a guide as to what was in the vaults and was allowed input. That doesn’t mean he had any sort of final say or veto power but at least a fan well versed in their archives was allowed some sort of input. That was not the case with prior releases.
Over the years, they have also reprinted classic t-shirts from the archives that have long been out of print. The anniversary edition of New Adventures in Hi-Fi was the first to not include any previously unreleased material. It also became the first anniversary release I didn’t purchase. I have other reasons for doing so, namely my current living situation where I simply don’t have the space. Pretty much everything I own is in storage. When Chronic Town was finally given the recognition it deserves with a 40th anniversary edition, it was the second such release not to include any bonus material. I believe it’s also important to point out here that Concord has nothing to do with the pre-Warners material so they had no hand in it. There was a good deal of backlash on R.E.M.'s official FB page at the time. Mitch Easter himself replied to more than a few of the comments, saying there was no bonus material to be added. Folks (such as those from The R.E.M. Timeline) that know their archives inside and out, begged to differ. There were evidently other sessions that could have been released. Also, the entire show from the Pier in Raleigh, NC from October of 1982. The entire show exists and most of it is out there but not all of it. At the very least, it seems like that could have finally seen the light of day on DVD or Blu-ray in an official capacity. The Chronic Town release became the second anniversary edition I passed on. Other than Mitch Easter’s liner notes, there was no real need to own it.
All that said, I’m not angry, especially with R.E.M. What I am is grateful. Grateful to have existed during the same time period they did. While it would be nice if more of these anniversary/archival releases came closer to meeting our hopes and expectations, it’s not something I’m either losing sleep over or wasting my energy on. I’m sure no one from the R.E.M. organization intentionally set out to shit on fans. Far from it. For many years, they offered us fan club packages with rare material that was recorded specifically for us. Over the course of those many years they never once raised the fan club membership fee of $10. They also offered us first dibs on concert tickets. In their latter years, thanks to this, I had the pleasure of seeing them from the front row three times. On one of those occasions in 2003, I had the good fortune of seeing Bill Berry join them onstage for the first time since he left the band in 1997.
Then, there’s impact they had on me as an individual that I can’t put any sort of price on. At the end of the day, what is or isn’t on a box set or isn’t available from their online store is of no consequence. What’s most important to me is how they effected my outlook of the world and my sense of self as a young man in the 1980s. That’s not just from a musical standpoint but also from how they taught me to educate myself about the world around me from politics to social causes. Again, no value can be placed on that. So no, I’m not angry. I’m grateful. The rest is just negative energy, which is not the R.E.M. way. I’m thankful for them putting that inside of me, despite the ups and downs of their career. In the end, material things don’t really matter. It’s the emotional impact they had on me. That’s my takeaway.


Thanks DriverNate, This must have taken some time to write so I appreciate it. Allow me to reply to a few comments and expand on others. To begin, anyone who thinks I’m spending my days mad about this stuff is insane. There’s a reason I stay aware from social media and especially bickering: it’s a HUGE waste of time and I have video games to play, lol. So on FB I got this weird backlash like people think I’m furious about this stuff. Not so. That said “I’m Mildly Annoyed At REM” was a much worse headline, lol. Okay, Point #2–literally everyone who disagrees with me feels the need to put in a caveat about being grateful or just loving the band in general…like they need to justify it. I mean, heck, I too added this in my OP EXACTLY for this reason: it’s a no brainer. We’re all fans. We all love them. they’ve changed all our lives. I’m grateful too. It really irked me how unobjective and high and mighty the FB posts were. It kind of made me hate REM fans, lol! Like the band is above critique or something!

AND, in many ways you proved my point: things have dwindled. There’s a REASON I’m writing this now, in 2023 and not many years ago when the Murmur, Reckoning, and Fables 25th packages came out. Those were fairly glorious! I was impressed and, yes, grateful to use an overused word. But just lately…lately…things have sucked. I too didn’t buy the hi-fi package nor the Chronic Town ones, and that says something. And, yeah, while we did get some decent merch a while back, to me most of these seemed half-baked. So, my initial (and current) argument is still how I just don’t see REM caring as much and that bugs me. I look at other bands that release these extravagant deluxe packages with recreations of printed setlists and old ticket stubs and gig posters and I just salivate at that stuff, lol. I guess you have to be a collector/fetishist to appreciate this stuff, but still.

Everyone acts like I want some bullshit etsy garbage in the store, lol. Not so. I just want to get the feeling that the band is invested in their fans, but I do not. To them the music I guess is enough, and that’s fair, but–and this was my point—I look with envy at the fans of other bands who have members actively engaged in preserving some kind of legacy. REM were one of the most unique and visually dynamic bands to ever exist. I wish they’d take advantage of that. Thanks for reading!

The way I look at it, R.E.M., nor none of the record labels involved needed to put forth any effort at all. No matter what they release, someone always screams, “cash grab.” I don’t think they need the cash. That doesn’t mean we can’t be critical, as long as those opinions are respectfully expressed.
Despite your caveat, they don’t owe us anything. I love Up, it’s my favorite of the post-Bill albums. So, I’m interested to see what makes the cut. That said, my interest in their studio output beyond that starts to wane. I remained a fan during those years but more on the strength of the live shows than the majority of the studio material. To my ears, post-Bill there were far more valleys than peaks and the peaks were noteworthy. Even R.E.M. themselves have acknowledged what they considered to be low points throughout their career. It’s not always going to be at a consistent level, especially when the artist in question was around for 31 years. As far as the archival releases are concerned, at least someone took note of how so many us suggested they get someone from The R.E.M. Timeline involved. Even if their involvement is minimal, at least they’ve listened. They didn’t have to do that. Yet, they did.


I saw your original thread on FB and saw the comments section with the ridiculous angry mob and the even more ridiculous censorship of new comments – even though there’s NEVER a good discussion at that group anymore and this one is perfectly valid.

I think you make a good point, because I understand what you mean, but maybe you didn’t express it the best way. Not that I would know myself how to express it better, but maybe I’d use more words of a less infuriated nature.

I’ve been disappointed in R.E.M. for a while, tbh, because they have been showing a consistent pattern of “We don’t care at all about our music and our fans”.

They handed their last few albums to the butcher Jacknife Lee. They started releasing their material in overcompressed, if not lossy formats with low bitrates. Sure, it’s still “new” material (most of it wasn’t, just live tracks), but my complaints aren’t quite about that. It’s like they didn’t care about their own music, the quality of it, the care it surely deserved and deserves. Peter Buck will listen to old scratched vinyl loud and not give a damn anyway, and Stipe doesn’t know the first thing about sound quality, but Mike Mills, who is incredibly uptight and a perfectionist, didn’t say anything.

Remember those two “Complete rarities” they released only in electronic formats? Yeah, those were collected like absolute shit. Defectful tracks, low quality formats, repeated songs, many missing songs.

The 25th anniversary editions have been remastered like shit as well (if you’ll call that “remastering”), because they just made it all louder, not remastered at all. I know a real and good remastering job when I listen to one (see what Pet Shop Boys did for example). I’ll completely give them props for some of the bonus material included – and then they go and do THAT with Chronic Town and NAiHF. No bonuses, even though THEY EXIST, no decent remastering job again.

They keep saying the likes of “we did a great job in our career and we are proud”, but it doesn’t look like it at all in recent years.

I dunno. I get it, but also I look at it as R.E.M. was a job they had for a long time, but they explicitly quit that job 12 years ago, and moved on to other stuff. If my job from 12 years ago called me up to do more work for them, I’d send them to voicemail.


Thanks Gargumma. Subtlety has never been my strong suit, lol, so I could have used more diplomatic language, and yet I see no need to. I mean, I’ve invested so much of my life in REM and I just find it so odd that I seem to care more than they do. It irks me as well as puzzles me.

Two more points: as for sound quality, you’re not the first audiophile who has mentioned this. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will be honest that I don’t notice these things much BUT I will give you the credit to know what you’re talking about so I do hear (pun intended) what you mean and agree.

Regarding my FB post, why were the comments frozen? Ethan (if you’re reading) did you have anything to do with that? Does facebook automatically do that? It was very odd but in all honesty it was for the best. I was about to reply to all those people which would have been a (huge colossal understated) waste of time. Deleting the thread was the right call. No one wants to engage with a topic in good faith anymore. All I see on FB are the same low effort posts by slobbering superfans. Meanwhile, the way I look at it, the real superfans are here.

Um, but back to sound quality. Let’s analyze the Bingo Hand Job release. To be fair this was VERY COOL and completely unexpected for record store day. I passed on it (I own the CDs from the bootleg pressing) but it was still cool. But am I correct? The sound was crap? Was it even soundboard or just the crappy bootleg audience recording—I’m guessing the latter which certainly reflects on what you just said…

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acheron, this DOES make sense…if REM were selling insurance or something less timeless than music or art. I just feel the analogy of “this was their job and they moved on” not particularly applicable in instances where music and art are concerned. Artists repackage and re-release and reinterpret all the time.

But all of these arguments miss a very fundamental point of my argument: they would be doing it for the fans. That was my point. I think we’re all old enough here to admit that relationships take effort and sacrifice, no? I’ve been married for 22 years so I’m an expert lol.

So to me, the original point of my post often gets lost. As a fan, I don’t feel REM cares about me (and their legacy by proxy). They released records, they created art, they toured—they did it their way and for themselves. Some bands are “good to their fans” and some neglect them or don’t seem to listen to them. It sucks REM seems to be in the latter category.

I don’t consider myself an audiophile, tbh. I don’t even have proper equipment for that. But, like you, I make music, and I try to come up with the best-sounding files I can produce within my limited possibilities just because those are my babies. It’s just common sense when you care about you do, isn’t it? If you’re mass-producing “funny crap” as your fifth-tier pasttime, you’ll release music the way you just recorded it 10 minutes ago, fine. But if you take any pride in it, well…

I don’t even mind that much having those files in low quality as a fan, because, tbh again, they mostly sound the same to me, except for the horrible remastering jobs that sound tiresome to the ears after 20-30 minutes, and that don’t pay any good service to the music itself. I like having the files in some form anyway. I only find it extremely odd that a professional band that was once the biggest in the world would release material in such low quality purposefully, when they could do a much better job about it. My point is just this: the band members do not care about how their music is treated. And they don’t care about how their albums and releases are treated in general, which is your point.

acheron has a point in that it was a job. Indeed it was, but they were no accountants. They made art. They expressed feelings with it, and it involved very personal craftsmanship. When you make art (that you say you’re “proud of”), there’s a bit of you in there – hell, there’s A LOT of you in there! – so it’s not like being a shoe salesman and forgetting about it.

As for the BHJ release, which I don’t have at hand, the best I can remember, and I’m being as honest as possible, is that the released album has exactly the same sound as the bootleg that had been making the rounds decades before. It was a soundboard recording, from what I can remember. They didn’t improve on it at all (and I don’t think they should, because it was a quite good recording anyway and just a little gift for the hardcore fans… who had it already!) and they didn’t use a lower quality recording either, which is… idk, fair enough, at least.

Re: Bingo Hand Job… the sound quality on that is terrible. I was surprised and disappointed at the time, as some of the songs (Tom’s Diner being one) were released in high quality as b-sides in the early 90s. However, I read that the original high quality source was lost, and the bootleg-sounding source was all that was left. Given that, I’m happy with it. It was a cool release, outside of the sound quality.

Re: Facebook… Fuck Facebook. I never joined that group, though I do confess to looking at it from time to time. Much less since Murmurs came back. I don’t really need to see the video to Losing My Religion posted for the thousandth time, or a bunch of photos of Michael Stipe. I’m not that kind of fan. Anyone who is, fair enough, but not me.

It’s impossible to filter that stuff out on Facebook. You can scroll through that group for ages before you come to anything worth reading. That’s why I love Murmurs. If I see a thread that sounds boring, I can ignore it. It doesn’t happen much on new Murmurs, but it used to happen a lot on old Murmurs.

I haven’t even mentioned the worst thing about Facebook. The people… Not all of them, obviously, but social media really brings out the worst in humans.

Re: R.E.M… I genuinely believe that they care about their fans. I just don’t think they have any interest in ploughing the past right now. They’re way more interested in the present. They love, and believe in, what they’re doing now. And they’ve earned that. I don’t feel in any way short-changed. But, as I said before, I was disappointed in the Hi-Fi and Chronic Town reissues. Right now, I’m mostly disappointed that Buck/Haines, and Minus 5/No Ones aren’t coming to Scotland… :frowning:

Good discussion, by the way. I don’t really agree with much of it, but I like having it! The fact that it didn’t work on Facebook tells you all you need to know!

Also, I’ve enjoyed your R.E.M. covers, particularly the ones where you finished unfinished/unreleased songs. If you ever fancy taking a swing at Weatherman, I’d definitely listen!


I take it, then, that the bootleg recording isn’t as good as I remember it to be. My mental HD is full and my memory doesn’t serve me as much anymore. If they had a much better source that was lost, then it’s too bad for everyone. Maybe they would have preferred to release that one, but, from all I’ve said here, I don’t think they would mind whether this one was better than that one. They don’t care.

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I have BHJ on a couple of bootleg cassettes. The sound on the vinyl release is about the same.

Can’t agree with you that they don’t care, but I respect your opinion.


I don’t feel neglected by R.E.M. in any way, shape, or form.

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I’ll agree with “way” and “shape,” but violently disagree with “form!” But seriously, I have to ask, why do you feel this way? I mean, you’re satisfied with what they release/promote (obviously)? You don’t think they could put more effort into it? I guess you already explained yourself in your previous post…but I find you contradictory in some ways lol.

I have the “official” CD of BHJ and was delighted with it as a bootleg way back in the day. I AM surprised that more effort was not made to secure a soundboard recording at the time to keep it from being “lost”–this seems to happen A LOT with REM shows, demos, etc and it also speaks to me about their cataloguing/archival abilities lol. You’d think I’m kidding, but I’m not! :smiley:

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Thanks for the compliments about the covers. Doing weird covers was part of the fun. I don’t think many appreciated it (someone once told me to ‘sell out’ and do Man on the Moon and LMR, lol) but it was interesting. I stopped doing the covers as it was all consuming and a crutch preventing me from working on my own songs (which is going well but really slow!) I have a few covers I never even released. We did one of Star Me Kitten where Clive did my backing vocals of “ahhhs” just like on the record. And we also have one of–wait for it–The Devil Rides Backwards. I wrote lyrics and came up with a melody and everything. The vocal is mostly done but I’d like to resing a verse or two (although I’m sure it’s fine)…so it’s ironic that a long lost REM outtake is now a full-fledged studio finished owenshire cover…outtake! I’ll put it on Youtube someday. lol. It does sound good!

And yeah, FB is a cesspool. I skim it now and again, but I can’t stand reading about all the “common” stuff like someone saying “I love song X! Do you agree!” or posting some really commonplace thing they bought off ebay. I know that makes me sound like a snob, lol, but that type of fandom is just so high school. My time is limited. I want only quality/intriguing posts/conversation or nothing, lol.


If you read my first response you will see where I said I have not necessarily been satisfied with all of the archival/anniversary releases, especially the more recent ones. I can feel that way and still not have an axe to grind with R.E.M. on a personal level as you evidently do.

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I’m not angry at all.

I just want to know whose idea bold block lettering for Chronic Town was a good idea? Haha!

Seriously, I have the original ep. And it’s much more presentable, in my opinion. Mind you, it costs a pretty penny. It was worth it, in my opinion.

That’s just a difference in artistic taste, though. They seem to be a band that appreciates their fans, and thats what matters. I think the closer you get to a bands end , the less “extras” you get.