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REM's Mike Mills

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by ElectroVibe, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    What do you think of Mike Mills of REM?

    I used to really love their early stuff. But listening back again (after playing bass myself), his playing kind of surprises me. There is something unusual about it. His tone is kind of unusual too, being kind of high and prominent with his Rickenbacker.

    His approach is something I don't understand. But I think it probably had a lot to do with their greatness in the early days. I can't put my finger on what it is about his style. I know that he was undoubtedly the most skillful musician in the band, and probably a better guitarist all around than Peter Buck. I'd appreciate any thoughts about his playing.
  2. I think he's rad. My punk rock band is maybe going to cover Orange Crush or The One I Love. Both weren't as hard to play as they were hard to learn. His playing just isn't like most people's and I think it's awesome.
  3. j.kernodle

    j.kernodle Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    South Carolina
    he's always been one of my favorites his lines have always had a ton of movement just below the surface without being flashy. he's a great example of a melodic bassist.
  4. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    "Melodic". That's the word I was looking for. Thanks
  5. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    "South Central Rain" was very melodic. But it was the bass in fact that provided so much of the melody. The electric guitar with the exception of a couple of basic riffs, pretty much played straight chords throughout the song. That was kind of unusual.
  6. I'll jump on the descriptive bandwagon and agree that I've always appreciated Mills' melodic approach. REM songs are tons of fun to play and cover, and of course to listen to.
  7. j.kernodle

    j.kernodle Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    South Carolina
    what's the frequency Kenneth is another killer, creative line if you pick from the later stuff.
    Dasgre0g likes this.
  8. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Yep, definitely a very melodic player. Particularly on the ealier albums it's his notes that really define what the chord is, when the guitar lines were more sparse.

    I think Old Man Kensey remains my favourite line of his - such a haunting intro.
  9. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes. "Fables of the Reconstruction" was my favorite of their albums. And that bass line is great.
  10. loendmaestro

    loendmaestro Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    Sidebar, but I got to play one of his old Rickenbackers on an album I did in the early-mid 90's. The bass was heavily modded (Bartolinis, Badass) but played really nice. The studio we were in was half way between Atlanta & Athens, and they had a letter from Mike authenticating the bass. Cool experience.
    j.kernodle likes this.
  11. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    loendmaestro, that is a very cool story.
  12. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Nothing wrong with his playing I recon.
    I think he did a good job with them.
  13. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    No doubt. He was a primary melodic force in the band.
  14. very good player, quite distinctive and really helped define the REM sound. I find a lot of my favorite players from the greater Atlanta area (Mills, Goddard, Oakley) all like/d a very forward, melodic and treble-y sound, Todd Smallie being the exception as he's more like a latter day Carl Radle on steroids :cool:
  15. Kingbreaker


    Feb 12, 2013
    MM is the reason I took up bass. Again, (like the rest of us, it feels) the melodic playing on the early albums is soooo musical without being obnoxious.

    My favorite MM lines:
    Radio Free Europe
    Sitting Still
    Dasgre0g likes this.
  16. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    "Sitting Still" is one of their best:


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