In John Hunter’s massive new tome, “Maps and Legends: The Story of R.E.M.,” we are taken on a journey through the formation of one of alternative rock’s most quintessential bands. Hunter’s biography chronicles the group from their early days playing in teenage groups like Bad Habits and Shadowfax, to their subsequent rise to global superstardom as R.E.M., and even delves into the solo work of Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe.
Publisher Nottingham Press claims that this is the most thorough and comprehensive biography of R.E.M. yet published. Released as an e-book late last year by Apple Books, the 706-page trade paperback version is set to be released on April 3rd and will be available via Amazon.com and Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi.
Born in 1968 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Hunter saw acts ranging from Black Flag, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements to The dB’s, Let’s Active and The Connells as a teenager. He attended the University of Georgia in R.E.M.’s hometown of Athens from 1986 to 1991, and performed music at haunts, including the legendary 40 Watt Club. Nottingham Press notes that “More so than any other biographer, he witnessed firsthand major events in R.E.M.’s career and in the larger Athens music scene during the second half of the 1980s.”
Although Hunter was unable to interview the band members themselves, due to their reticence these days to speak with journalists and biographers, he has scoured hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles about the band, listened to hundreds of audio and video interviews, and spoken to a variety of old friends, members of the R.E.M. inner circle, producers, label chiefs, and other musicians. The result is a rich and comprehensive look at one of indie and alternative rock’s most influential bands.
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