07 September 2023

7 September 2023 - R.E.M. - What's The Frequency, Kenneth?

In 1986, TV journalist Dan Rather was assaulted by 2 men in New York City - and these assailants kept repeating the phrase, "Kenneth, What's the frequency?"   

This phrase translated into a 1994 single, the first from R.E.M.'s 9th album, Monster. According to lead singer Michael Stipe, the lyrics are from the point of view an old guy who knows everything about Generation X based solely on what he's reading in the media, which, of course, is utter and complete bullshit.  

The song is a cautionary tale, people.  

It's also a complex song, with a lot of fuzzy guitar... but you might notice the pace slows down at the end, almost as if they are running out of breath. Well, that's partly true - as they were recording the song, bassist Mike Mills slowed down his pace... and the rest of the band followed along.  Well, it turns out that Mike Mills had appendicitis and was in a lot of freaking pain.  Rather than rerecord the song at full speed, the band chose to rush him to the hospital.

See if you can find the point where Mike's appendix started to burst.

Normally, I try to sprinkle in a live performance, but in this case, they all sound like the studio.  R.E.M. is funny that way. 

I figured you'd like to see what it looks like when Dan Rather tries to sing with the band.  Seriously.  This is Dan Rather, singing with R.E.M. He would go on to tour with R.E.M. keep his day job.

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