A few months ago, Michael Stipe was on late-night TV to perform. Earlier this year, Stipe went on both Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and Stephen Colbert’s Late Show to sing “No Time For Love Like Now,” his recent Big Red Machine collaboration with the National’s Aaron Dessner. Last night, though, Stipe was on TV just to talk.
Stipe was a guest on last night’s Late Night With Seth Meyers, and he talked a bit about working on solo music, something he’s only done intermittently in the year since his band R.E.M. broke up. Stipe said that he’s now writing and composing music by himself for the first time: “I found it weirdly satisfying. I can’t say that it’s much like R.E.M., but I’m really happy with where it’s gone.”
Stipe and Meyers also remembered their mutual friend Hal Willner, who died of COVID-19 in April. Stipe mentioned that he and Willner worked together on an as-yet-unreleased tribute to Willner’s old friend Lou Reed: “That will be released, probably, very soon.” And they also talked about Donald Trump, which gave Stipe the opportunity to use the phrase “bloviating puff-adder sack of lies.” Watch the interview below.
Today, Stipe also published an op-ed in The Guardian, writing about the quick spread of coronavirus cases in his old hometown of Athens, Georgia. In the piece, Stipe blasts Georgia governor Brian Kemp, “a Donald Trump acolyte” for being slow to respond to the pandemic when it first hit, and he also shames the University Of Georgia, the school he once attended, for bringing students back to campus and hastening the spread of the virus. Here’s Stipe talking about his piece:
You can read Stipe’s editorial here.