Former R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills guest DJed on Atlanta radio station DAVE-FM Thursday afternoon, talking about the early days of his former band, took phone calls from listeners, hung with a seminal figure from early in his career and played a eclectic group of songs over four hours.
Taking calls from fans throughout the show, Mills spoke about the band’s southern roots (“We were trying to capture the essence of the south without the southern cliches”), their early days touring (“We had to play New York, but we wanted to play Hoboken (New Jersey)” and mentioned that he still owns the copy of Automatic For The People that actually went into space aboard a space shuttle. One caller asked about The Hindu Love Gods (the side project which featured R.E.M.’s Mills, Peter Buck and Bill Berry recording covers with Warren Zevon) and Mills recalled their time fondly (“Warren was one of the funniest people I’d ever met”).
Some of the other callers came from people from R.E.M.’s past, including a girl who helped to paint the mural seen in the “Shiny Happy People” video, and a guy who used to be Michael Stipe‘s roommate and the band’s manager Bertis Downs, who asked about some of Mills’ highlights from the band (he named singing “Born To Run” with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on the Vote For Change tour as one of them).
Throughout the afternoon, he played songs from a wide range of artists, including The Flamin’ Groovies, The Brains (“Money Changes Everything,” which would later be a hit for Cyndi Lauper), The Spinners, Brick, The Jam, The Cure, Elvis Costello, The B-52’s and The Monkees. Mills paid tribute to the recently departed Davy Jones, and said that The Monkees were an amazing group.
The question that begged to be asked came from a listener who wanted to know if R.E.M., who split up last year, would ever reunite. He said that they have no plans to reunite, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility.