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Half A World Away

It’s September of 1984. And Deirdre is head over heels for a fast-rising quartet from Athens, Georgia called R.E.M. In just a few years, the band’s music will be inescapable on commercial and college radio alike — and their massive success will mark a turning point for the American musical underground.

“There were moments when R.E.M., my former band, were hugely popular,” says ex-singer Michael Stipe. “And we were able to really push the boundaries of what's acceptable within mainstream culture. KCRW and Deirdre and ‘SNAP!’ were doing the same thing.”

Stipe was a close friend of Deirdre’s, and of the countless bands who passed through their orbit. He gave Concrete Blonde their name; produced Vic Chesnutt’s first two albums; and introduced Deirdre to Hugo Largo, which led to their signing with Brian Eno’s record label. In this episode, Stipe reflects on his life in LA in the mid-’80s, at a time when he and Deirdre were kindred spirits.

Half A World Away
R.E.M. in 1984. L-R: Mike Mills, Michael Stipe (back), Bill Berry (lying in front), and Peter Buck backstage in their dressing room at the Palladium. Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns.

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