R.E.M.'s Peter Buck: In the end I hated everything

R.E.M had to part ways insists guitarist Peter Buck after the band grew weary of life on the endless wheel of touring and recording with the pressure of a major label looming over them.

He says he ‘hated everything’ about that life and following the band’s decision to call it quits he penned a five-page letter detailing all the things he had grown to hate.

Speaking to Rolling Stone he bemoans: “Everything except writing songs, playing songs and recording them. It was the money, the politics, having to meet new people 24 hours a day, not being in charge of my own decisions.

“Once Pro Tools was invented," Buck said, "that was no fun. We made a couple of albums where I thought, 'I don't even know if this is a record. It's just some sounds we put together.'"

He adds firmly: “I hate the business and I didn't want to have anything to do with it.”

R.E.M. brought the curtain down on a phenomenally successful career in September 2001 but despite a career with millions of album sales and critically acclaimed records – the decision to end the band came almost off the cuff.

He continues: “We were in Bergen, Norway (in 2008). I really like Bergen. I wanted to see the town. I had four hours off. Instead, we had a three-hour band meeting. I was really pissed off.

“We were talking about adding some shows to the tour. It was a lot of money, but I didn't want to go. I won't say where it was. I looked at them and said, "If this is our last tour, I don't want to end with two half-full shows in a state you couldn't pay me to set foot in." And they went, "OK.”

He goes on: “The last show — we were in Mexico City. We're like the Beatles there. It was great for us. And I went, "This is kind of sad." And Michael goes, "Yeah, a little. We're probably never going to play these songs again." And I went, "You might be right."

“But we were doing the last record, [2011's] Collapse Into Now. We hadn't made an announcement or anything. We got together, and Michael said, "I think you guys will understand. I need to be away from this for a long time."

“And I said, "How about forever?" Michael looked at Mike, and Mike said, "Sounds right to me." That's how it was decided."