Michael Stipe : Bullseye with Jesse Thorn Michael Stipe is forever cemented in the minds of music fans as the lead singer of R.E.M., one of the biggest rock bands in history. You might also know him from his fun appearances on shows like At Home with Amy Sedaris and The Adventures of Pete and Pete. We're chatting with him this week about discovering his voice, his passion for photography, and the new music he's been writing.

Michael Stipe

Michael Stipe on his new music, photography and more

Listen to this Episode

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1100876369/1100883079" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe. David Belisle/David Belisle hide caption

toggle caption
David Belisle/David Belisle

This week we're talking with Michael Stipe, who fronted the band R.E.M., about discovering his voice and the punk rock that inspired him to become a singer in high school.

Raised a military brat, Stipe was frequently relocated as a kid, from Germany to Texas and Alabama. His family settled in Southern Illinois as he entered high school, where he developed a love for punk rock. After a brief stint at the University of Georgia, he met Peter Buck and started the beginnings of what would become R.E.M., one of the most acclaimed bands in rock history. Over 30+ years, they sold over 85 million albums and Stipe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Outside of R.E.M, which broke up in 2011, he's collaborated with Warren Zevon, Patti Smith, Billy Bragg, KRS-One, Tori Amos and so many others. Stipe has also been working on photography, collaborating with artists like Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon.

Recently, he's begun recording his own material again. Slowly and deliberately, when inspiration strikes. His latest single is called "Drive to The Ocean."