The R.E.M. Song Roger Waters Called ‘Phenomenal’
Roger Waters has never hesitated to speak his mind when he felt it was the right thing to do. So, it’s pretty natural for him to criticize anyone, from Ukraine’s president to Pink Floyd’s fans. Nick Mason, for instance, once recalled an unusual incident between Roger and their fans, which inspired ‘The Wall.’
His audience, however, wasn’t the only one to be caught up in Hurricane Roger. In another instance, the Pink Floyd icon criticized AC/DC and Van Halen by saying he couldn’t care less about them. These two cult acts’ music didn’t appeal to him in any way, so Roger decided to make his opinion known.
Since we’re so used to Waters criticizing and pissing people off, it was lovely to hear that a fellow rock act could finally please the artist with their music. The recipient of this honor was R.E.M., as Roger called a song of theirs ‘phenomenal.’ However, when he decided to go and see R.E.M. at a concert, his encounter with Michael Stipe was complicated.
Roger’s might be harsh from time to time, but he surely also knows how to appreciate other artists. For instance, while chatting with Word Magazine, Roger Waters disclosed that he enjoyed numerous artists, such as John Lennon and Neil Young, and when he was asked if there were any recent acts he liked, he picked R.E.M.
“‘Everybody Hurts’ by R.E.M,” responded Roger when asked whether there were any songs he liked by the more recent artists. After his pick, he went on to celebrate the track. “That song is phenomenal.”
In another interview with John Edginton in 2001, Roger Waters disclosed that he went to a R.E.M. concert but had a bit of an unpleasant encounter with Michael Stipe. Still, since Waters liked their music and respected the band, he didn’t mind that.
“I went to see R.E.M one day when they were a very new band because I’ve heard something and I liked it,” the Pink Floyd icon recalled. “I went to the Hammersmith Odeon to check them out. I’d rung up somebody, and I said, ‘I want passes.’ I thought, ‘Well, I’m gonna go to say hello.’ I went backstage, and they were very kind of welcoming and rather kind of reverential.”
Even though the band was welcoming, Michael Stipe seemed to be ignoring him. Roger explained, “We sort of said hello, except for Michael Stipe, who sat in the corner, you know. Kind of refusing to speak, ignoring me, which is fine. It was his gig or their gig. I didn’t mind at all, but I sat and watched the show, which was great; I really enjoyed it.”
After the frontman ignored Roger and performed the show, he returned to the stage and paid homage to Syd Barrett as he sang Barrett’s solo track, ‘Dark Globe.’ Roger Waters recalled the moment by saying, “At the end, they went off, and then he came back on and sang ‘Dark Globe’ acapella on his own.”
It sounds like Stipe wanted to pay tribute to Syd Barrett upon seeing the Pink Floyd guitarist in the audience, even though he was personally distant. However, Roger was okay with that as he liked the show and respected the band. There were times that Roger was bitter with his statements, but it’s pretty apparent that when he likes an act, he respects them.