Former REM guitarist Peter Buck has announced his first solo album. On sale this Friday, the album will only be available as a run of 2,000 vinyl records.
“I know I said for years that I would never make a solo record,” Buck admitted on REM’s website. “It was never a plan or a desire, but it just kind of happened.” This is the first solo album to emerge since REM called it quits last September, but Buck has not done it alone. REM bassist Mike Mills contributed to the album, as have Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, the Decemberists’ Jenny Conlee, Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye as well as long-time collaborators Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey. “Not being really confident in my singing,” Buck wrote, he invited several of these friends to sing lead.
“When REM called it a day, I’d spent the last three months on my back with a semi-crippling injury unable to play guitar,” Buck recalled. “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.”
While Buck doesn’t sing on all the tracks, “I wrote 95% of the lyrics and most of the music,” he wrote. “It is the first thing I have ever been involved in where I was actually in charge, and the record turned out to be like a trip through my mind; all of the kinds of music I love, played with some of my favourite musicians, in a one-take spontaneous atmosphere.”
Recorded, mixed and mastered on analogue tape, the as-yet untitled work will be released by Portland’s beloved Mississippi Records, which specialises in obscure blues, gospel and folk music. While Buck has not written off the possibility of a CD release, or of a subsequent tour, it’s clear the 55-year-old doesn’t feel he is under much pressure. “This is not a career,” he wrote. “It is something I am doing for fun.”