Peter’s interview with The Big Takeover is out now in the Brooklyn-based magazine’s issue #68 (order here or visit a good news stand in your area). The Big Takeover crew has been reviewing records and doing great interviews for 31 years now. What a coincidence!
In this interview–“Do The Collapse Into Now”– Peter addresses a number of topics including the recording sessions for the band’s 15th record, his projects outside R.E.M., the untimely deaths of Mark Linkous and Vic Chesnutt, and the staying power of Fables of the Reconstruction.
Read a few excerpts from the interview below:
… On the recording process of Collapse Into Now:
The Big Takeover: I think the record really brings out the dynamics in your sound. I remember talking to Michael after Accelerate and he spoke of how well the recording sessions went. Was it similar this time?
PETER: Yeah, for us it’s really smooth, or not smooth at all. [Laughs] And this is one for us that went really well. You know, I think there was a little tension the last ten days. But there always is. That’s when you finalize things and all the arguments come to a head. It was just the usual. But the body of the record–it felt really easy. We felt like we knew what we were doing, and there wasn’t really any tension about it. We went in and recorded, and we never had to rethink things, really. There’s no real reason why.
…on Peter’s outside projects:
The Big Takeover: You don’t have to do the projects outside of R.E.M., but you keep doing it. Is it still rewarding?
PETER: Yeah, but it can be hard, playing a club in the middle of nowhere and no one comes to see you. I played with Robyn (Hitchcock) in Nashville and 40 people came to see us. And everyone says, “It’s a rainy Sunday in Nashville, that’s good.” But between Bill Rieflin and Robyn and I, we’ve been playing music for 180 years and we have like 150 albums out, and we can’t get more than 40 people in one of America’s larger cities. But you just have to do it. There are nights where the club’s filled, and you play great, and that’s it’s own reward. But we were talking in The Baseball Project, and everyone loves New Orleans, but no one will come see us there. So I think we’ll go have lunch there, because we can’t afford to play there.
…on R.E.M.’s expansive catalog:
The Big Takeover: But back to R.E.M. One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s no definitive entry point into your back catalog. Everyone has a different record.
PETER: Yeah, there’s such a long history. You can’t expect everyone to listen to everything in chronological order. I love Murmur, but if you were 20, I’m not sure it would mean much to you. If a friend of a friend asked, I’d say Automatic For the People, although now I think I’d say the new one.
The interview is only available in the print magazine, so hurry out to your local news stand and pick it up or visit thebigtakeover.com to order your copy of the latest issue!