Radiohead’s Thom Yorke: ‘Michael Stipe sent text warning of REM split’

Singer reveals friendship with REM frontman and hails Georgia band's influence

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Thom Yorke has revealed REM frontman Michael Stipe sent him a text message warning him of the band’s impending split.

REM announced their split in September after 31 years together, saying only that they had “decided to call it a day as a band”.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the Radiohead singer explained he wasn’t surprised by the news.


“I think it was kind of going one way for a while. I just wanted to check that Michael was alright.”

REM’s announcement came just days before the Oxford quintet performed on Saturday Night Live, meaning the pair could spend time together in New York where the show is filmed.

Yorke added: “We hung out. He came to Saturday Night Live. And it was really nice to see him – very clear, very present and okay with it.”


Yorke and Stipe became friends when Radiohead supported REM on their 1995 ‘Monster’ tour, when Yorke would watch the Athens, Georgia band play each night.

“What I liked about watching REM – and this is something our band picked up straight away – was how they allowed shit to happen, not trying to add to it but just f*****g stand there, waiting for the fire to start,” he said.

“Sometimes it would be mid-set, and it’s still not kicking off yet. But no one’s freaking out. They’re staying with it – and then bang!”

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