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Mike Mills

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by stephanie, Feb 23, 2001.

  1. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Anyone here like Mike Mills from REM? I've always liked REM but mainly only paid attention to the music as a whole and Michael Stipe's singing, etc. But since I've taken up the bass Mike really intrigues me. His bass lines sound so simple...nothing showy..yet in their own way somewhat unique. I think he is a great player and I don't hear much about him.
  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I have never liked Mills' bass playing at all. To me, he's just a guitarist with a bass, or "frustrated guitarist" as some might say. I saw an REM concert on TV where Mills during a song made a whole bunch of mistakes, even with his simple lines.

    That said, I haven't listened to REM for a year or more, so maybe I have just preserved the bad memories I have of him. I think I have to go back and check.
  3. Acacia


    Apr 26, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I like his style personally. a "steady freddie" type of player. no flash, but you know he's there and you know he's on the mark.

    that's the type of bassist I strive to be.

    when i was a drummer, that was my goal...steady, on the mark, rock solid. a little flash, but no attitude and no wanking.
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Mike Mills has always been one of my favorite bass players. Sure, he doesn't play 32nd note fusion wanks on an 11 string bass; as a matter of fact, he hasn't done much of anything...except co-write, sing, and play creative bass on some of the best songs of the last 20 years!
    Oysterman--I'm not quite sure what you mean with that "frustrated guitarist" comment. From the very first time I heard R.E.M. in the early 80's I was impressed with Mike's ability hold down down the bottom while embroidering his lines with tasteful melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic twists that take a song to a different place. His tone and note choices are certainly unique; I can understand how they may not appeal to everyone. On the three occasions I saw R.E.M. live ('87, '89, and '98) Mike was definitely in control of the instrument.
    These are some some of my favorite Mike Mills songs: "Stumble" (Chronic Town); "Catapult" "Radio Free Europe" "Laughing" and "Sitting Still" (Murmur); "Maps and Legends"--I love that little pulloff figure--"Can't Get There From Here" and "Good Advices" (Fables of the Reconstruction); "Cuyahoga" and "Fall on Me"--Mike sings a gorgeous background on this--(Lifes Rich Pageant) and many others.
    In recent years Mike has branched out into playing other instruments like piano, organ, guitar , and synthesizer to add new colors to R.E.M. albums. While some people lament that the group doesn't sound like they used to to, I like the fact that they've grown and changed over the years instead of 'sitting still.'
  5. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Winston - I regret all I said above. The last few days I've changed my mind completely. My memory of Mills were from a time when music to me was black or white (back then it was like Dream Theater or nothing... :rolleyes: times change). And I used the FG term in a wrong way. I apologize.
  6. I like MM, I think he typifies the "real" bassist genre, along with the likes of Lee Sklar, Emory Gordy Jnr, Roy Husky Jnr, Joe Osborne, Carol Kaye, Tommy Cogbill, David Hungate etc.
  7. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    Does anybody know what kind of bass he plays? I have a VHS copy of Tourfilm that they made when they were on the Green Tour and I can't tell. It looks like a P bass. I admire him a lot and one of my favorite REM songs, Texarkana, off of Out of Time, has a great little opening bass riff. This song also features him on lead vocal.
  8. I was just about to mention "Texarkana!" :D What a great track, and great bassline. How about the cool P-bass line from "You are the Everything" from Green? I love it! Not tough, but cool as hell. Not everyone must play like Victor or Geddy :)

    Mike has my utmost respect. He is a very well rounded musician as well as a great bassist. A great example to all of us if we think we should toss more notes in sometimes.

  9. He plays a P.
  10. jimmysquid


    Jul 5, 2000

    Those are some great tunes you picked for MM lines. Murmur had so many great songs, all with really neat, interesting bass parts.

    "Maps and Legends", what a great song! In that tune and a lot of others MM does a cool counterpoint vocal line-another awesome element of REM's sound! If I could come up with stuff like that I'd never stop patting myself on the back.

    I think when they started out they had a lot more harmonic space to fill up with just gtr, bass, and drums so MM was a little busier. Nowadays it seems they're more geared towards the studio and have a wider palette to choose from so the bass doesn't have to be as busy.

    I do like the earlier music the best but I think they're still doing great stuff now.

    My 2 cents!

    Peace to the low enders!
  11. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I was just listening to Murmur today. Man, is it a beautiful album. Same with Life's Rich Pageant (gotta love "Fall On Me"!)

    I think REM's last album (Up) was more focused on melody than rhythmn...just my opinion. It was a pretty soft album. (Except for maybe "I Ate the Lotus"). What I enjoyed was the cello part in "At My Most Beautiful".

    Mike seems to be playing a lot more piano these days. I admire bassists (and other musicians) who can play other insturments as well as the bass. :)

    New album out in May. Will have to see what comes out of it.

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