Happy Birthday Michael Stipe!
The staff here at 3 Minute Record would like to wish R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe a very happy 51st birthday today! Born in Decatur, GA on January 4, 1960, Stipe made a name for himself as the singer of one of the most seminal bands of the last 30 years. Naturally shy in nature, Stipe overcame his fears and used his stardom to pursue outside interests like political activism, art, film, photography, and charitable causes. Entering its fourth decade as a band, R.E.M. will be releasing their new album Collapse Into Now on March 8, 2011.
Some of you may know that Stipe spent some of his childhood in St. Louis region, specifically the Metro East and graduated from Collinsville High School in 1978 before moving back to his native Georgia for college. Eventually, he met Peter Buck working in the Wuxtry record store in Athens and the two formed R.E.M. with Macon, GA natives Mike Mills and Bill Berry.
Just for fun here's a clip from a St. Louis news station in the late 1970's featuring Stipe dressed up for a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Varsity Theatre. Scroll to 1:25 or so in the clip to see Stipe in full make-up and Horror garb. He's asked about how those dressed around him could look normal and Stipe makes a sarcastic comment to listeners of local rock station KSHE-95 and their jeans and "pig" t-shirts; referring to the iconic Sweet Meat mascot (ripped from the cover of the 1969 Blodwyn Pig album Ahead Rings Out). The crowd around him laughs at the comment making it clear that the music played on KSHE does not reflect their tastes. St. Louis viewers may also recognize longtime news reporters Dick Ford and John Auble in the clip. Thanks to the Riverfront Times blog A to Z for the direction to the video.