In a move they have considered since their earliest days, R.E.M. today announced from their Headquarters in Athens, GA, that they have finally decided to change their name to, simply, REM.

“This has been a long time in the making,” noted singer Michael Stipe, “and I am glad we finally made this decision together, which is truly the only way forward.” Mike Mills chimed in that, “The British press has been writing about REM forever, and we figured if you can’t beat ’em, drop ’em” [the periods– Ed Note]. “Yeah,” Peter Buck added, “with the whole digital thing in the past few years, we were finding people referring to us as ‘R dot E dot M dot,’ which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, you know.” The announcement comes on the eve of the band’s thirty years together, and some in Athens have opined that perhaps this impending anniversary milestone has perhaps made the band focus on what’s really important, like whether periods/dots/full-stops have any place in their official brand.

No word as to the position on this space-shifting announcement from the band’s erstwhile drummer Bill Berry, who at Press Release time was not answering the special party line installed on his farm outside Athens.

And strangely, there has been no comment from the band’s manager, B.E.D. 4th, but some attribute this to his ongoing negotiations with members of the band’s French and Italian fan clubs, who have insisted on continuing to call the beloved combo “Eh-rem!” which has driven the band nuts for years.