After completing his final performance with REM, a teary-eyed Michael Stipe quietly mouthed, "Hooray, we're done." Working on their last album, the band had chosen Berlin's legendary Hansa TonStudio for the final recording session. Since there was to be no tour for the album, a camera crew was brought in for the last week to get some footage; family and friends were invited to Hansa to watch REM perform most of the new album. At the time, just a few people knew it would be the group's last gig.
The anecdote comes from REM: Perfect Circle by Tony Fletcher, out next month and excerpted yesterday in Salon. Fletcher takes readers through the making of Collapse Into Now, the band's fifteenth and final album. REM first started discussing splitting up in 2008, during the band's last tour, but the members always knew they would make one last record. Much of the recording took place in New Orleans. "That whole record was a whole big goodbye," says Stipe. "All the Best," in particular, "is about the end of the band." Click for the full excerpt. (Read more Michael Stipe stories.)