Peter Buck Wouldn’t Go Back to R.E.M. Level of Success

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck said the band broke up at the right moment in 2011, and explained why he wouldn’t want to go through their level of success again, making a reunion unlikely.

R.E.M. split in 2011, and while the guitarist has been involved in a wide range of musical projects since then, he hasn’t attempted to pursue another top-flight experience.

“When it got really big, I don’t know if anyone really enjoys that,” Buck told Classic Rock. “When the non-musical stuff became so intense, it took away some of the pleasure for me. It’s just the stuff where you kind of wake up and go: ‘God, I don’t really want to have my picture taken today. And I don’t really want to pretend to be an actor in some video where I can’t act.'”

He listed selling “multiple millions of records” and playing at Glastonbury in 1999 and 2003 among his most favorite achievements, but added: “it was never the reason I did it. And when we got to the point where we decided that it was the end, it felt like a great shared experience. I wouldn’t change it, but I’m not gonna go back to it.”

Buck argued R.E.M.’s career ended with two “really strong” albums, 2008’s Accelerate and 2011’s Collapse Into Now. “But I just felt like, no matter how good our last record was, it wasn’t really our time any more,” he said. “And that’s fair, I understand that. … when it was over I didn’t have a lot of interest in pursuing that type of largeness again.” He concluded: “[A]ll I really want to do is write songs, play them and record them.”

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