Justin Hawkins Thought R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe Wasn’t A Happy Individual

Except for some people like Justin Hawkins, who can be described as a social butterfly, most people struggle to reach that level of friendliness. Many artists adopt a bubbly personality on stage, even if that is not the case in their everyday life. When Hawkins met R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe at an award show, he was surprised to realize that his assumptions about Stipe’s friendliness were wrong as he seemed somewhat unapproachable.

“I met Michael Stipe at the MTV Awards in Edinburgh,” recently recalled Hawkins on his Justin Hawkins Rides Again YouTube show. “It was in 2003, I think, and we had dinner together. He didn’t strike me as a happy individual, but maybe that’s the whole point; perhaps that was his sort of offstage persona.”

“He has a slightly kind of, how can I put this… He has a slightly unapproachable vibe to him,” added Taylor about his perception of Stipe. “Which made me want to go up to him and say, ‘All right, Michael, I love your music; you’re brilliant.’ Appearing to be unapproachable can be a challenge to people like me. You know, annoying people.”

It may be just Taylor Hawkins’s impressions of the singer, but it is also likely that the persona Michael Stipe created in his band and his actual personality have intertwined, which isn’t rare in the industry. Some artists just adopt the persona they have created and stick to that on stage and in their personal lives. Either way, Taylor’s observation about some people appearing unapproachable to people like him sounds like a tricky situation to navigate.