About Us : A Quick History

You probably know more R.E.M. songs than you realise, that's pretty typical, but how could you not? Even if you ignore TV and radio, there are over 85 million copies of their albums on the planet. In pride of place on turntables, wedged in car stereos and stacked on book shelves. It's inevitable. A 31 year career can leave a lot of time for those songs to sink in.

REMbrandt's history is somewhat shorter than that of R.E.M.

Formed in 2014 the band was drawn together from a seemingly imperfect circle of acquaintances and friends from the local gigging scene. A few old band mates and some R.E.M. fanatics were assembled in a dingy rehearsal space near Southampton which would have made the old church on Oconee Street in Athens, Georgia, where R.E.M. were born, seem fairly palatial. The hope was that some glimmer of a functioning band, with an eye for doing something just a little bit different might appear. On the first take we  played "Strange" by The Wire, (which appeared on R.E.M.'s 5th LP "Document") and decided that if we played it like that for evermore, we'd be perfectly  happy. Precedent set.

In a few short months the band emerged onto the local scene, and began to slowly morph into the band you find now. Some faces have changed along the way, each one making their mark, however small. R.E.M. never stood still, they constantly pushed towards new horizons and changed with the times, and it's always been the same for us.

Our lineup now however is possibly the most professional and coherent than it's ever been, playing on average twice a month at venues and music festivals along the South Coast of England, and doing what it's always done best, remembering and celebrating R.E.M. by playing the music we love, live.

The Band In Detail

Joe (Michael Stipe)

Joe is the newest member of the band, having joined Summer 2016. Rock star credentials aren't everything, but in his typically modest way, he has some stories from his 30+ years of gigging, including airplay with John Peel, support slots for The Jam, and a live performance on Channel 4. Joe's pure vocal ability have proven in a very short time to be a perfect addition to the band, and his musical ability, insights and knowledge are proving invaluable.

Jon (Peter Buck)

Jon is the only member of the band left from the initial rehearsals. The truest and longest standing R.E.M. fanatic, Jon's love of the band started in the late 80's with the "Document" LP, it's no wonder Jon's guitar style developed to mimic Peter Buck's before REMbrandt was even conceived. Getting the right sounds to properly furnish the songs is a constant pursuit, so it's the right gear for the right job, Rickenbacker guitar, VOX AC30 amplifier and a ProCo Rat distortion. Jon has also played several times with another, nationally touring R.E.M. tribute band.

James (Mike Mills)

James was a find. Originally our dep. bassist, he very quickly gained a permanent role through his sheer enthusiasm and ability. James's experience singing and playing on the local circuit with professional function bands, and the commitment he shares with Jon towards the correct equipment and musical accuracy makes him ideal for his role.

Jeff (BIll Berry)

Anybody who's been in a band will know that there's drummers, and there's drummers. Sometimes it's not what you play, it's what you don't. Dynamics, control and subtlety all play their part, particularly with R.E.M, and the ability to do some truly stunning, soaring backing vocals doesn't hurt either.

Chris (Scott McCaughey/ Peter Holsapple)

Traditionally, R.E.M. are known as a four piece, but watch virtually any live R.E.M. DVD from the late 80's onwards, and you'll spot that extra musician. The one that helps turn the studio magic into a live performance, that's Chris's role. Somewhat jokingly referred to as "Dr. Rock" within the band, you will rarely find a quieter, more unassuming man, until it's time to step on stage.


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