Oh, So THAT’S What REM’s Mike Mills Is Doing Now…

A new violin concerto? Okay.

Five years after REM announced that it was no more, bass player Mike Mills is keeping busy by exploring his classical music muse. (He had one? Who knew?)

Mike is now touring the US to promote a production he calls “Concerto for Rock Band, Violin and String Orchestra,” which he composed with Robert McDuffie, his longtime violinist buddy. Salon picks up the story:

Mills and McDuffie have enlisted The Fifth House Ensemble, the venerable Chicago collective, to fill in the gaps where guitars and drums cannot. There’s certainly no lack of talent involved; the in-demand composer David Mallamud was drafted to arrange Mills’ movements. “It’s like the Starship Enterprise,” Mills tells me.

For this act in his career, Mills boldly returned, at least in terms of his inspiration, to his roots in Macon, a town that boasts an impressive list of talent and music industry monoliths such as Little Richard, Otis Redding, Capricorn Records, and McDuffie, who now resides in New York. McDuffie has recruited some of the advanced students at The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in Macon to perform with him and Mills this coming fall.

Keep reading. Meanwhile, just to keep everyone up to speed, Michael Stipe is teaching courses in visual art at New York University. Peter Buck is working releasing a series of punk rock 45s. And Bill Berry is working as a farmer outside Athens.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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