Michael Stipe

24th May 2022

Michael Stipe is forever cemented in the minds of music fans as the lead singer of R.E.M., one of the biggest rock bands in history. You might also know him from his fun appearances on shows like At Home with Amy Sedaris and the Adventures of Pete and Pete. We’re chatting with him this week about discovering his voice, his passion for photography, and the new music he’s been writing.

Episode notes

(Photo: David Belisle)

Michael Stipe on his new music, photography and more

This week we’re talking with Michael Stipe, who fronted the band R.E.M., about discovering his voice and the punk rock that inspired him to become a singer in high school.

Raised a military brat, Stipe was frequently relocated as a kid, from Germany to Texas and Alabama. His family settled in Southern Illinois as he entered high school, where he developed a love for punk rock. After a brief stint at the University of Georgia, he met Peter Buck and started the beginnings of what would become R.E.M., one of the most acclaimed bands in rock history. Over 30+ years, they sold over 85 million albums and Stipe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Outside of R.E.M, which broke up in 2011, he’s collaborated with Warren Zevon, Patti Smith, Billy Bragg, KRS-One, Tori Amos and so many others. Stipe has also been working on photography, collaborating with artists like Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon.

Recently, he’s begun recording his own material again. Slowly and deliberately, when inspiration strikes. His latest single is called “Drive to The Ocean.”

In this episode...

Senior Producer
Maximum Fun Producer
Maximum Fun Production Fellow


  • Michael Stipe

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

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Senior Producer


Maximum Fun Producer

Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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