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R.E.M. fan is losing his religion

R.E.M. fan Bruce MacKenzie needs the support of family members Samantha Turnbull and Liberty MacKenzie, 18 months, after hearing the band has finally called it quits.
R.E.M. fan Bruce MacKenzie needs the support of family members Samantha Turnbull and Liberty MacKenzie, 18 months, after hearing the band has finally called it quits. Marc Stapelberg

THE news of R.E.M's split came to one Suffolk Park resident via a text.

As the day continued Bruce MacKenzie received phone calls, more texts and flowers of condolence.

These offerings can only hint at the dedication he feels for the American rock band, who on Thursday, after 31 years together, announced their split.

"It feels like a beloved member of the family has passed," Mr MacKenzie told The Northern Star.

But after 15 albums, 25 years of listening, seeing the four-piece three times - including a few kilometres away at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay - Mr MacKenzie is more than happy with what the band's output.

"They could have quit in the late '80s and still been remembered as a great band," he said.

Mr MacKenzie and his partner Samantha Turnbull are hosting an RIP R.E.M. barbecue today to commemorate the loss of the iconic band.

"We've invited friends to come over, request a song and we'll discuss it," Mr MacKenzie said.

Mr MacKenzie has driven people nuts with talk of the band for years and it's unlikely to stop now the band has parted ways.

"People still talk about The Beatles; in every way, R.E.M. are equal to The Beatles," he said.

A self-confessed obsessive fan, Mr MacKenzie said he first heard R.E.M.'s End Of The World As We Know It in his early 20s as he was coming out of a David Bowie faze.

He soon went back into the depths of the band's earlier "cooler" work and has raved about them since.

"Everyone has one great musical love and they are it for me," he said.

R.E.M. announced the split via their website: "To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."

Michael Stipe, frontman for the band added: "A wise man once said, 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave'."

For Mr MacKenzie it may be the end of the world as he knows it, but the party is far from over.

 

REM TOP 10

1. Losing My Religion

2. Orange Crush

3. Stand

4. E-Bow The Letter

5. The One I Love

6. Shiny Happy People

7. Texarkana

8. Fall On Me

9. Leaving New York

10. Day Sleeper


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