“CBS MORNINGS” EXCLUSIVE: Senior culture correspondent Anthony Mason sat down with the original members of R.E.M. for their first interview in nearly 30 years. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry spoke with Mason ahead of their induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this evening. They talked about their songwriting, the band’s breakup, their friendship and the enduring impact of their music.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE. Please credit “CBS Mornings” in your coverage.


On being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

BUCK: You know, we lived or died on the strength of our songs. So this is a huge honor.

MILLS: It is the hardest thing that we do. And it’s the thing that we’ve worked on the most from the very beginning.

BERRY: Because we had to. I mean early on, just to put food on the table, we had to write songs as fast as we could.

On the success of “Losing My Religion”

STIPE: I loved the song, but we never thought it was gonna be a hit.

MILLS: It should not – it’s like a bumblebee. They, they shouldn’t be able to fly. That song shouldn’t have been a hit.

MASON: But, boy, did it fly.

On the band’s breakup

BUCK: I think the main reason was that, at that point, there wasn’t anything we could agree on really, musically. What kind of music, how to record it. Are we gonna go on tour? You know, it was like – we could barely agree on where to go to dinner. And now we can just agree on where to go to dinner.

STIPE: We’re also here to tell the tale and we’re sitting at the same table together with deep admiration and lifelong friendship. A lot of people that do this can’t claim that.

Bill Berry on the aftermath of suffering a brain aneurysm and leaving R.E.M.

MASON: I mean, you had some major health issues that you had to deal with.

BERRY: Yeah. I’m not gonna use that as an excuse.

MASON: What would you attribute it to?

BARRY: Maybe that thing in Switzerland – brain aneurysm and successful surgery. It may have lowered my energy level. And I just didn’t have the drive I once did.

MASON: So you knew you had to, you had to give it up?

BERRY: Yes. And I didn’t regret it at the time. Um, I sort of regretted it a little later. So yeah, but enough about me.

Watch part two of the interview tomorrow Friday, June 14 on CBS MORNINGS 7:00-9:00 AM on the CBS Television Network and streaming live on Paramount+.

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