20 Years Of Britpop

Peter Buck Reveals How R.E.M. Once Sabotaged The Verve

It’s Britpop Week here at Stereogum, and to help us celebrate, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck has shared a story about his old band sabotaging the poor blokes of the Verve. Buck sat down with Portland’s Willamette Week for a rare interview, and among other things, reminisced about the time he and his R.E.M. cohorts did a bit of showboating at the expense of the Verve:

We opened for the Verve, and we left those guys with their tail between their legs. We didn’t open for them, we got paid more, but we went on before them [at a festival]. Michael [Stipe]’s like, “This sucks.” I said, “Well, if you want to make them look bad, let’s just do all of our hit singles. We’ve never done that before.” So we played 90 minutes, and every song was a top 10 single somewhere. We walked off and went, “See ya, boys! Enjoy playing that unreleased new record of yours.” Nice guys, too.

Poor Verve. First, Verve the record label sues them for the rights to their name, then the Rolling Stones sue them for sampling too much of the orchestral version of “The Last Time,” now we find out R.E.M. bullied them too? AND they had to deal with Richard Ashcroft’s ego on top of all that? Those guys had it rough!