Mitch Easter Says R.E.M Didn’t Want To Fit In Like Other Bands

Record producer and musician Mitch Easter recently looked back on when he first met the R.E.M. members before they turned into global rock stars during an interview with Guitar Player. The producer recalled the time he first realized the band’s greatness and said that they were authentic right from the start.

One of Mitch Easter’s earliest recording sessions was for the debut single by R.E.M., ‘Radio Free Europe.‘ The single achieved critical acclaim, and its success brought the band a record deal with I.R.S. Records. The band then re-recorded the song for their 1983 debut album ‘Murmur,’ which Easter also produced after the band’s request. The re-recording became the group’s first charting single, peaking at no. 78 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Easter’s work with the band wasn’t finished there since he produced R.E.M.’s second studio album entitled ‘Reckoning,‘ released on April 9, 1984. Upon its release, the album quickly reached no. 1 on the college radio airplay charts, as they were looking forward to the record. As for mainstream radio stations, the album reached no. 27 in the United States and peaked at no. 91 in the United Kingdom. Following the second studio album, R.E.M worked with numerous producers and parted ways with Mitch Easter.

However, Mitch Easter remains the person who worked with the band during their earliest days. In fact, he recently looked back on when he first met the band members during an interview. According to the producer, the R.E.M members had something special as they preferred to be themselves while every other band wanted to fit in. The producer referred to their attitude as ‘cocky’ but added that their primary focus was on pure artistry.

Furthermore, Mitch Easter realized that the band was going to be great as soon as he heard them play. Since he worked with them from 1981 through 1984, he had the opportunity to see their true potential, which proved itself the following years after they became one of the world’s best-selling music acts.

Easter’s statement about R.E.M. follows:

“A lot of bands simply wanted to fit in, but R.E.M. always wanted to be themselves. I guess a correct way of putting it would be ‘cocky.’ They were like, ‘We rule. Here we come, so get out of the way.’ It wasn’t so much a careerist mindset; rather, it was their insistence on pure artistry. They meant it. When I first heard them, I thought, ‘Yes. I know what to do with this. This is going to be great.‘”

You can listen to ‘Radio Free Europe’ below.