R.E.M.’s Peter Buck to release solo debut this week in limited-edition, 2,000-copy vinyl run

In typical low-key fashion, Peter Buck finally announced his debut solo album today, posting a note on R.E.M.’s website that reveals the album — we’re still not sure what it’s called; he doesn’t mention its title — will be released this Friday in a super-limited, 2,000-copy vinyl-only run by Portland, Ore.-based Mississippi Records.

Buck — who debuted the material live last month with backing band Richard M. Nixon —explains how he never intended to record a solo album, but ended up writing lyrics while laid up with a back injury. With the help of ex-R.E.M. sidemen Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin, a onetime Ministry drummer, as well as Lenny Kaye and Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, he made the record.

He adds that he may perform, but notes, “this is not a career, it is something I am doing for fun.”

Ultimately, he decided to release the album under his name, not as Richard M. Nixon. Buck shares lead vocals with Tucker and McCaughey on the record.

Read Buck’s full note:

 

PETER BUCK SOLO RECORD

Baja Mexico, 3am:

I’ve got a glass with a little bit of Tequila left in it. It was full a few minutes ago. I’ve got Jimmy Reed haunting the turn table in the corner; I’ve been thinking about Jimmy Reed a lot lately, every note of music he ever made was so perfect and full of grace, and yet so loose and spontaneous, I wonder how he did it? What was his secret? If he was still alive I would give him a call. “Hey Mr. Reed how do you do it? Where does it come from?” But I doubt he would know any more than I do. And there I go wandering off track before I even started. I’m supposed to be telling y’all about my solo record….

I know I said for years that I would never make a solo record. It was never a plan or a desire but it just kind of happened. When REM called it a day I’d spent the last 3 months on my back with a semi-crippling injury unable to play guitar. With my band gone and unable to use the fingers on my right hand, I started writing lyrics just to have something creative to do. The lyrics turned into songs and the songs turned into what felt like a possible album, so I called some of my favorite musicians, Scott, Mike, Bill, Lenny Kaye, Corin Tucker, Jenny Conlee, and booked studio time

Not being really confident in my singing, I asked Corin to sing one and she was gracious enough to do so, Scott sang a few, mostly the ones he wrote melodies to. So why is it a solo record? I wrote 95% of the lyrics and most of the music, it is the first thing i have ever been involved in where I was actually in charge and the record turned out to be kind of like a trip through my mind, all of the kinds of music I love, played with some of my favorite musicians, in a completely one take spontaneous atmosphere. It was either call it a Peter Buck record or Richard M Nixon, Lenny Kaye convinced me that it should be called a Peter Buck solo record because it does represent me or at least me right then.

It will be released October 5th on Mississippi Records, a label that specializes in mid-20th century blues, gospel and folk. It was recorded, mixed and mastered on analogue tape and is being released on vinyl. At this point it is a limited edition of 2,000 vinyl only. As for the future I may do some performances, but this is not a career, it is something I am doing for fun.

One last thing. Has anyone ever figured out what was up with James Brown and the Popcorn? I must own 10 James Brown records from the late 60s with popcorn in the title: Mother Popcorn, Low Down Popcorn, It’s a New Day, Let a New man come on and Make the Popcorn, etc. I’ve been thinking about that quite a lot lately. It’s got me kind of worried.

-Peter Buck

 

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