“Mott the Hoople and the game of life….yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…”
He was a founding member of a groundbreaking Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ensemble that essentially brought “alternative” rock to the masses, and continues to inspire scores of indie bands. A bassist and prolific composer, Michael Edward Mills was REM’s musical workhorse, often doubling on keyboards and providing harmony vocals while laying the harmonic foundation for his higher profile band-mates. Mills’ modus operandi was to work in the pocket with a melodic mindset to serve the songs sung by Michael Stipe and brilliantly fortified by the defining guitar artistry of Peter Buck.
On the final two woefully under-appreciated REM studio efforts, Accelerate (2008) and Collapse Into Now (2011), Mills flexed his formidable chops with thrilling results, rendering motifs high in the mix that grabbed the listener ala Jack Bruce, Sir Paul, and The Ox.
Though REM never fully recovered from drummer Bill Berry’s departure in 1997 …and Stipey, akin to his contemporary Bono, was a front man you either loved or hated… Mike Mills was always at the top of his game as a bass player on stage and in the studio. Mills’ primary weapon of choice, especially in REM’s latter years, was the Fender Precision, though he did record and perform with a Rickenbacker 4001 and Hofner among others.
Following REM’s retirement, Mike toils in several low-key projects including the Baseball Project, and collaborates with artists including Drive By Truckers, Hindu Love Gods (with Warren Zevon) and Joseph Arthur.
Dig Mills with Stipe, Berry, and Buck….
“Living Well is the Best Revenge” https://youtu.be/rj55GSeXYuI
“Man Sized Wreath” https://youtu.be/mzNOtYyiu1c
“Supernatural Superstitious” https://youtu.be/IkQPkZuNjvc
REM Live 2003 https://youtu.be/f4_Gulqaj6c
“What’s The Frequency Kenneth” / “Crush with Eyeliner” https://youtu.be/pbi4LXDPkCI
“Man on the Moon” https://youtu.be/CgR7mQlus4k
“So. Central Rain” https://youtu.be/msWi0c4tHV8
“Driver 8” https://youtu.be/wuFId1RYSZE
Dig Mike taking the lead vocal “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” https://youtu.be/uWRawTxpD4E