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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:


Kurt Cobain

Michael Stipe

Mike Mills

Peter Buck

Courtney Love

R.E.M. Fiction

David Buckley



Automatic for the People
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

R.E.M. Fiction

by David Buckley
First published in 2002

"Stipe was devastated..."

ISBN 1-85227-927-3 (Hardback, 384 Pages)

Phoenix Bookshelf already includes several books about rock-group R.E.M. so it was interesting to see what, if anything, this latest biography would have to offer. Author, David Buckley, examines the band's music and explores the varied reasons behind their popularity. In addition, the author exclusively interviews two of the band-members Peter Buck and Mike Mills.

Michael Stipe was learning very quickly how to deal with fame. His approach was to put on something of an act for the media, to reinvent himself as a mystifying anti-hero, down with popular culture but up with the latest Hollywood show gossip. His circle of friends seemed to confirm the belief that famous people can only really be friends with other famous people. He hung out with Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, with actor River Phoenix, and, on one occasion, with miserablist Mancunian singer Morrissey.

Nothing new there perhaps, but the friendship River enjoyed with the band's lead-singer, Michael Stipe is explored in no further detail. Indeed, "nothing new" seems to be the cry of R.E.M. fans in general who have read this book. Be that as it may, it's most refreshing to read the work of an author who chooses not to speculate on the subject-matter at hand.

Later on in the book, the author mentions River again but, in doing so, repeats the so-often-made mistake about River passing away on Halloween night.

In February 1994 the band moved from Kingsway to Crossover Soundstage in Atlanta to continue work on the album. But the recording of the album was blighted. On Halloween night, 1993, Stipe's close friend, the actor River Phoenix, died from a seizure after a drug overdose. Stipe was devastated. 'Find The River', the sixth single from Automatic, was released a month later as a tribute.

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