“Early on I discovered that the bass player decides the chord – not the guitar player”: R.E.M.’s Mike Mills on finding the perfect bass part and becoming a “one-bass guy”

R.E.M., with bass player Mike Mills (L) and singer Michael Stipe, perform on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios on October 28, 2003 in Burbank, California.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mike Mills, the bassist and co-founder of R.E.M., now plays with his supergroup the Baseball Project – which also consists of guitarist Peter Buck. “We’ve all got our own things that we’re doing,” Mills told rollingstone.com “I think we’re all really happy with the way things are.”

Mills was speaking to promote the 25th anniversary edition of his former band’s 1998 album Up, which was released via Craft Recordings on November 10th. Up was the first that R.E.M. recorded as a three-piece following drummer Bill Berry's decision to step down without warning. 

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Karl Coryat was Deputy Editor of Bass Player magazine in the 1990s. In the 2000s, he wrote two music books: Guerrilla Home Recording and The Frustrated Songwriter’s Handbook, the latter with Nicholas Dobson. In 1996, he was a two-day champion on the television game show Jeopardy!. He works as a comedian and musician under the pseudonyms Edward (or Eddie) Current.