Monster Demos Thread

Thoughts on the demos from the Monster 25th Anniversary?

Uptempo Ricky - I liked this one…I wonder if this was re-written as Hollow Man?
Harlan County With Whistling - Probably my favorite from the entire release. I much prefer the western feel vs. Final Straw.
Mike’s Gtr - Seems like a blend of Find the River and Sad Professor. Could have been some potential here.
Sputnik 1 - Interesting different type of sound from them.
Black Sky 4-14 - This and Until the Day is Done have never quite clicked for me, even though I want to like them.
Revolution 4-21 - I liked the song when I was a teenager, but I don’t much care for it or Ignoreland anymore, as I find the overtly political lyrics lazy. I can see why they held it back.
Experiment 4-28 - Interesting different type of sound from them.
Highland Fling 4-29 - Another interesting different type of sound from them. Could have been interesting.

It would be interesting to have a translation key between the demos listed in the original album art vs. what they are here.

I also wish they had put out demos of the album songs, such as Star 69 extended, and other demos that ended up on future albums (like Bittersweet Me).

1 Like

I think that Sputnik is a relative of Tuatara’s Falling Pianos, but I can’t be sure…
It was very sad to read that some of these tracks has vocals (Experiment 4-28 for example) but Michael was too embarrassed to release those versions.

Interesting! I wonder if that’s why the Mills demos have vocals buried deep in the mix. Lest we forget the Eagle song…

1 Like

yeah didn’t “experiment” have a title? i seem to recall reading it somewhere but not sure where.

In a magazine interview at the launch of Monster, Michael Stipe mentioned a song called Lucky Piece, that didn’t make the album. He was humming it to Mills who responded by saying that he didn’t know he had that much written for it. Stipe then said he had the whole thing written and “you guys” listened to it once and dismissed it. He feigned hurt and they had a joke about it.

Anyway, it seems strange that this didn’t make the Monster demos. Or at least a vocalised version didn’t. Presumably it’s one of the instrumentals.

I really like Mike’s Gtr and I prefer the demo version of Revolution to the one that went on the Batman soundtrack…

3 Likes

Harlan County and Sputik 1 are my two faves.

Sputnik is them trying to sound like some combination of Nirvana, Pixies, and any 2nd-rate alternative band that became popular in the mid-90s. Its a different sound. You can hear something similar on Experiment 4-28.

The Monster demos are an interesting bunch. There is a whole album there that would have been AFTP Pt 2. It would have sold the same number of albums but the number in the dollar bin would have been minimal.

What isn’t there are demos of songs that ended up on Monster. Its like they needed to get all of these “typical R.E.M. songs” out of their system before they got to the meat and potatoes of the weird and wonderful album that is Monster.

4 Likes