"What would it sound like? Watered-down R.E.M.?"

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has ruled out attempting to start a solo career, claiming it would sound like "watered-down R.E.M."

When R.E.M. first emerged, Michael Stipe hid his vocals beneath the mix. Deliberately obscuring his voice, the frontman evolved over time to become an instantly recognisable singer. So when R.E.M. announced their split after a 30 year career, many fans immediately assumed that Michael Stipe would attempt to start a solo career.

However the frontman clearly has other ideas. Giving a series of interviews Michael Stipe has ruled out any potential re-union, and recently denied that he had any plans to launch a solo career. "It's unfathomable to me right now" he told Rolling Stone. "What would it sound like? Watered-down R.E.M.?"

Looking ahead, the frontman is apparently working on a documentary about the impact the internet has had on celebrity. Michael Stipe continued by teasing fans about potential future careers. Who says I have to be a songwriter? I'm in a place right now where I don't know what the future holds for me."

The singer also revealed his feelings when the news finally broke. "I had been under contract since I was 22. I'd been in a band since I was 19. I was experiencing something profound for the first time: freedom. Suddenly, I was a free agent. Mike and I met up two nights later, and he said to me, "This feels liberating." (Sighs) I was like, "He feels the same way."

Earlier this month, Michael Stipe claimed that there were "plenty of big fucking clues" that R.E.M. were about to split. Pointing to the sleeve of the band's final album 'Collapse Into Now' the singer argued that R.E.M. had never appeared on their own cover, and suggested that he was waving farewell to fans.

Here's the cover once again...


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