Peter Buck's playing really weaned the whole idea of a guitar-based band off solos and more towards textures. Don't get me wrong, Pete has some great riffs (check 'Driver 8,' 'Begin the Begin'), but the whole thing about R.E.M. to me is atmosphere, and Peter provided and provides that. No showy fretboard acrobatics, just good solid chords, a pithy riff every now and again, and life breathes into a song.
Great interview with Pete from February, 2007
video of Letterman Appearance 10/6/83.
Here's R.E.M.'s official YouTube channel.
New album out, "Collapse Into Now"
Wow, where to start? Well, how about the beginning? Well, to do that these days, unless you want to go fishing at ebay or your local record store (and I DO mean 'record') you'll have to settle for their first EP "Chronic Town" on the tail end of Dead Letter Office. Ringing guitars, a great rhythm section, and onomatopoeic vocals, it rang true and strange through the subculture of independent music. Of course, "DLO" has a lot of other oddball B-sides and unreleased tracks, but it's worth getting just for "Chronic Town." I still have my specially priced $5.98 cassette, thank you very much.
"Chronic Town" primed the pump, and M u r m u r let the R.E.M.-y goodness flow. There's not a lot I can say about this landmark album that hasn't already been said a jillion times. One of the best (and shortest) reviews I ever read was "Exotic, Unearthly and Masterful." If you've got it, you know. If you don't have it, you should.
I'll not repeat a thousands kudos to this influential (and obviously a favorite) band, but I will recommend Automatic for the People, one of the all-time classic albums by any band, any place, any time.
And, for some video, I give a hat tip to R.E.M. - When the Light is Mine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 Video Collection, a very nice collection of early videos, TV appearances, and other heretofore unreleased goodies for fans of the earlier years of the band. There are a lot of videos from R.E.M., just go search Amazon. Tell 'em SilvertoneWorld sent ya.