Recently, while digging around in the R.E.M. archives looking for lost treasures, a real gem presented itself in the form of a 1988 recording of Peter and Mike’s appearance on “Sound of the City,” a local music themed program on WUOG, the radio station on the campus of the University of Georgia. Low and behold, after some sleuth work by one of HQ’s resident sleuthers, the erstwhile DJ was located and was then kind enough to write a very thoughtful reflection on that memorable day. Thanks to Jennifer Fox Armour for sharing these thoughts. Enjoy the music just below…
Some of my favorite memories from my time as a student at the University of Georgia involve experiences that I had while working as a DJ at WUOG 90.5 FM. I not only had the opportunity to meet some great people while working at UOG, but I was also exposed to some fantastic music. And because I was the host of the Athens-only music show, Sound of the City, a lot of that music was being made by bands that I had the opportunity to see play live numerous times and by people who I got to know on a personal level. (Disclosure: I married one of those people.)
R.E.M. was (and of course still is) kind of a big deal. During my time in Athens, I was very used to seeing Peter, Mike and Michael (I never saw Bill) around town. When they weren’t on the road themselves, members of R.E.M. would often show up at the Uptown Lounge or the 40-Watt Club to listen to and show support of other local musicians.
One night in 1988, I spotted Peter Buck, whom I knew casually, at the 40-Watt Club and I asked him if he would be a guest on Sound of the City. Peter told me that he would, but that he did not want to be interviewed. He explained that when he was in town he liked to be able to relax. I was fine with that and said that he could be a guest DJ and that he could decide which local bands and songs were to be played.
When Peter showed up at the station, he wasn’t alone. I have decided, after listening to a recording of this show, that my 20-year-old self owes Mike Mills a beer.
Back then, I am sure that I thought it was a lot of fun to spend an hour with Mike and Peter. Today, as great as it has been to hear what was said on that show (I had almost no memory of what went on), it is hearing the music from that time that makes me really happy. A lot of the songs that were played that night only existed on carts — and I have a feeling that they disappeared when the radio station’s cart machines were packed away.
One final note: I was apparently very blasÃÂ© back in my youth. I not only left the radio station that night without a copy of the show, I left the university a year later without having secured one. A few years passed, I wised up, and tried to find the recording, but it was too late. And I had a big old case of the sads. A really nice person, who I am sure has very good karma, went out of his way to not only find out who was on the tape, but also how he could reach them (me). And thanks to him, my decades-long case of the sads is gone and I have a Porn Orchard song stuck in my head. That’s pretty cool.
Listen to Sound of the City here.