Peter Buck

Peter Lawrence Buck (born December 6, 1956) is an American musician and songwriter who is best known as co-founder and lead guitarist of the alternative rock band R.E.M.

Throughout his career with R.E.M. (1980–2011), as well as during his subsequent solo career, Buck has also been at various times an official member of numerous 'side project' groups. These groups included Arthur Buck (with Joseph Arthur) Hindu Love Gods, The Minus 5, Tuatara, The Baseball Project, Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3, Tired Pony, and Filthy Friends, each of which have released at least one full-length album. Additionally, another side project group called Full Time Men released an EP while Buck was a member, as has a current project called The No-Ones. As well, ad hoc "supergroups" Bingo Hand Job (Billy Bragg and R.E.M.) and Nigel & The Crosses (Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck, Glenn Tilbrook and others) have each commercially released one track.

Other notable groups of Buck's that have not recorded include Slow Music, which plays semi-regular gigs, and "Richard M. Nixon", a band Buck founded in 2012 to support the release of his solo album with live gigs. Richard M. Nixon consists of Buck, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin, the same three musicians who comprise The Venus 3.[2]

Buck also has a notable career as a record producer including releases by Uncle Tupelo, Vigilantes of Love, Dreams So Real, The Fleshtones, The Feelies, and The Jayhawks, as well as a session musician (for the likes of The Replacements, Billy Bragg, and Eels.)

Peter Buck
Buck on stage with R.E.M. in 2008
Background information
Birth namePeter Lawrence Buck
BornDecember 6, 1956 (age 62)
Berkeley, California, United States
GenresAlternative rock, folk rock,[1] college rock, jangle pop
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
Years active1980–present
Associated actsR.E.M., Hindu Love Gods, The Minus 5, Tuatara, The Baseball Project, The Venus 3, Eels, Mark Eitzel, The Replacements, Tired Pony, Saint John and the Revelations, Filthy Friends, Corin Tucker, The Decemberists

Early life

Peter Lawrence Buck was born on December 6, 1956 in Berkeley, California. After spending time in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Buck family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating with honors from Crestwood High School in 1975, Buck attended Emory University and joined Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He eventually dropped out of Emory. Buck moved to Athens, Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia as well. While in Athens, Buck worked at the Wuxtry Records store, where he met future bandmate Michael Stipe as well as R.E.M.'s future manager, Bertis Downs.[3][4][5]


R.E.M. (65)
Buck onstage in Naples, 2008

Buck's style of guitar playing is simple and yet distinctive. He makes wide use of open strings while chording to create chiming and memorable pop melodies. His sound, especially on mid-period R.E.M. albums that saw the band break through to international popularity, has been associated with Rickenbacker guitars, particularly a Jetglo (black) model 360.[6] He has also used a wide variety of other instruments as the group has continued to experiment and develop. On some more recent R.E.M. releases prior to Accelerate (2008), his guitar parts have been less prominent.

"When Peter plays guitar, there's a strong sense of fuck off that comes from his side of the stage. And you feel that he wants to be in a band because he likes what they do... but that's all," explained U2's lead singer Bono in 2003.[7] "And it's almost like performing and having to deal with all of that is a bit of a compromise for him, so just fuck off. And I like that energy a little bit, and that gives them their aggression."

Buck has produced many bands, including Uncle Tupelo, Dreams So Real, Drivin & Cryin, The Fleshtones, Charlie Pickett, and The Feelies. Buck also has made contributions on many other musicians' albums, including The Replacements, Billy Bragg, The Decemberists,[8] Robyn Hitchcock, and several Eels albums.

Peter, Mike Mills, Bill Berry and Warren Zevon recorded an album under the band name Hindu Love Gods, while the R.E.M. bandmates and Zevon were recording tracks for Zevon's 1987 album Sentimental Hygiene. Hindu Love Gods is one of many names the members of R.E.M. have used performing around the Athens area.

The three instrumentalists from R.E.M. all performed on Nikki Sudden's 1991 album The Jewel Thief, including the single "I Belong to You".

Buck also coproduced the 1992 Vigilantes of Love album, Killing Floor, with songwriter Mark Heard. He co-wrote, produced, and performed on Mark Eitzel's 1997 album West. He recorded an EP with Keith Streng of The Fleshtones as Full Time Men in 1985, and along with R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey has been a partner in The Minus 5 and a member of the instrumental band Tuatara. Additionally, In October 2005, he joined R.E.M. studio drummer Bill Rieflin, King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and three others in forming an improvisational performance band called Slow Music. His voice can be heard on one R.E.M. song: "I Walked with a Zombie" from the Roky Erickson tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye. In 2006, Buck toured with Robyn Hitchcock, McCaughey, and Rieflin as lead guitarist for Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 in the wake of the band's first release, Olé! Tarantula. In 2008, after McCaughey and Steve Wynn decided to work together, the duo asked Buck to be the bass player in their new band, The Baseball Project, along with drummer Linda Pitmon.

Buck has contributed liner notes to compilations, reissues, and special editions, both of R.E.M.'s own material (the best-of compilations Eponymous and In Time, the rarities, B-sides and out-takes collection Dead Letter Office, and the special edition of New Adventures in Hi-Fi) and of other artists' work (such as The Beach Boys' Love You).

On September 9, 2008, immediately following the band's concert in Helsinki, Buck's signature Rickenbacker guitar, used live and in the studio since Chronic Town in 1982, was stolen from the stage. It was returned on September 18, 2008, by an anonymous source.[9]

In March 2012, six months after R.E.M.'s September 2011 dissolution, Buck, now signed to Mississippi Records,[10] announced intentions of working on a solo album, backed by singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur.[11] The first track from the self-titled solo album, "10 Million BC," was released via SoundCloud on June 21, 2012.[12] His eponymous first album was released later that same year.

In the final days of 2013, Buck announced he would be releasing his second solo album soon. The new project, titled I Am Back to Blow Your Mind Once Again, was released on February 18, 2014, again on vinyl only.

In 2015, Buck released his third solo album, Warzone Earth, under Little Axe Records.

In April 2017, Buck released the first single "Any Kind of Crowd" from his latest collaborative project with Filthy Friends, a super group with long time associates Scott McCaughey, Bill Rieflin, Kurt Bloch and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney. The same month also saw another new release with Buck and McCaughey teaming up with Frode Strømstad and Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen of Norwegian band I Was A King to form the group The No Ones. The first song from their Sun Station EP was released, with the EP set to follow later in the year.[13]

Peter Buck in Arthur Buck A
Buck with Arthur Buck in 2018

Arthur Buck, a side project with singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur in which Buck and Arthur share songwriting duties, will release their eponymous debut album in June 2018.[14]

Personal life

Starting in the 1990s, Buck relocated to the Pacific Northwest and divided time between Portland, Oregon[15] and Seattle, Washington. Buck currently lives in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico.[16]

The guitarist is twice divorced. He was once married to the owner of Athens' 40 Watt Club, Barrie Buck. He has twin daughters with his ex-wife Stephanie Dorgan, Zelda and Zoe, born in June 1994. Buck married his third wife, Chloe Johnson, on June 1, 2013, in Portland, Oregon.[17]

Buck is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of music, as well as his extensive personal record collection. On March 12, 1999, in an interview on Wiese, a television music show based in Oslo, Buck estimated his collection to be around 25,000. In the late 1990s, he estimated he had 10,000 vinyl singles, 6,000 LPs and 4,000 CDs.[18]

Buck is an atheist.[19]

Airline incident

On April 21, 2001, Buck was aboard a trans-polar flight (British Airways #48) from Seattle to London to play a concert at Trafalgar Square. Witnesses alleged that Buck exhibited various bizarre behaviors on the flight, including shoving a CD into a drinks trolley thinking it was a CD player, tearing up the "yellow card" warning notice handed to him by the flight crew, claiming "I am R.E.M." and being involved in a struggle over a yogurt cup with two flight attendants, which resulted in the cup exploding. Buck's actions led to two charges of common assault on the flight attendants, one charge of being drunk on a plane and one charge of damaging British Airways cutlery and crockery.

At the ensuing trial in London, Buck's defense claimed that the moderate amount of wine he had drunk had reacted adversely with the brand of sleeping pill he was taking and rendered him unable to control his actions. The prosecution argued that he was simply intoxicated from supposedly consuming fifteen glasses of wine. After the trial, which included testimony from Bono, the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, Buck was cleared on the grounds of non-insane automatism.[20][21]


  1. ^ "Stipe, Carrey Duet On R.E.M. - Penned Soundtrack". Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  2. ^ Kornelis, Chris (August 14, 2012). "Peter Buck's First Post-R.E.M. Solo Record as Richard M. Nixon Features Vocals From Mike Mills, Corin Tucker, and ... Peter Buck". Seattle Weekly. Village Voice Media. Archived from the original on August 16, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  3. ^ Waldman, Matt (December 2002). "Bertis Downs . . . in his own words". Georgia Magazine. University of Georgia. 82 (1). Archived from the original on 2003-03-28. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  4. ^ "Entry for Peter Buck". New Georgia Encyclopedia. The Georgia Humanities Council & The University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
  5. ^ "Entry for Peter Buck". Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  6. ^ "RIC makes the list with REM – 8/7/2005". Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  7. ^ The South Bank Show, May 12, 2003.
  8. ^ Douglas Wolk (November 4, 2010). "Colin Meloy Reveals Details of New Decemberists Album | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
  9. ^ "PETER BUCK'S RICKENBACKER RETURNED!". REM HQ. Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  10. ^ "R.E.M.'s Peter Buck on Music and Travel" – Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2014
  11. ^ "Joseph Arthur Back Peter Buck's Singing Debut". Paste magazine. June 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  12. ^ "STUDIO VERSION OF 10 MILLION BC". REM HQ. Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  13. ^ "Stream The Debut Single From Jangle Pop Supergroup The No Ones". Stereogum. April 25, 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  14. ^ "Joseph Arthur, Peter Buck Wander Through Oregon in Vivid New Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  15. ^ Fricke, David (February 7, 2011). "R.E.M. Roar Back with Collapse into Now". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  16. ^ "Peter Buck in Todos Santos" - Travel Secrets TV's YouTube channel, April 24, 2015
  17. ^ "Scoop: Gossip Makin' It Here or Nowhere at All". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  18. ^ "". Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  19. ^ R.E.M. interview disc, "Shiny Chatty People" conducted on June 23, 1985, for England's Piccadilly Radio "If we all found God tomorrow and wanted to do a gospel show, we would do it. I never will -- I'm an atheist"
  20. ^ "R.E.M. star cleared of air rage attack. April 5, 2002". BBC News website. April 5, 2002. Retrieved 2006-08-01.
  21. ^ Vasagar, Jeevan (April 6, 2002). "R.E.M. guitarist cleared of air rage". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2006-08-01.

Further reading

  • Buckley, David (October 2003). R.E.M. Fiction: An Alternative Biography. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7535-0870-1.
  • Grey, Marcus (1997). It Crawled from the South: An R.E.M. Companion. Da Capo. ISBN 978-0-306-80751-0.

External links

All the Right Friends

"All the Right Friends" is one of the earliest songs written by R.E.M., in fact written by Peter Buck and Michael Stipe before they had met their future bandmates, according to the liner notes to the band's In Time compilation album. Like all R.E.M. songs, its composition is credited to all members.

The song was recorded for Murmur in 1983, but was left off the album. In January 1993, the European reissue of Dead Letter Office, a B-side album compilation, included that recording, along with an acoustic version of "Gardening at Night". The song was also recorded during the Reckoning sessions, but not used (though bootlegged), and later recorded during the Lifes Rich Pageant demo sessions, and this version was included on the bonus disc of the 25th Anniversary edition of the album.

In 2001, director Cameron Crowe released the movie Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise. R.E.M. were approached with the idea of them contributing a rock song to the soundtrack. According to Peter Buck, they were approached "about eight days before they needed it", and they had loads of material left from Reveal, but they wanted a rock song, and their manager Bertis Downs had liked "All the Right Friends", so they recorded it. Slightly different from the other version (with most of the original lyrics missing), the song was, in Peter Buck's vision, recorded as if they were recording it for the Chronic Town EP, as Buck noted on the sleeve notes to the band's 2003 In Time compilation album.

The song was recorded on October 23, 2001, in Seattle's Bad Animals Studio's "Studio X" while R.E.M. were in town for a performance at the Groundwork Benefit the previous day and, that evening, at the Crocodile Café. On an R.E.M. special of The South Bank Show, which aired in May 2002 on the UK's ITV, Buck is seen recording a guitar overdub for the song, then, upon completion, the camera follows him into the control room to evaluate the recording.

In addition to the Vanilla Sky soundtrack album, the re-recording is included on R.E.M.'s 2003 Warner Bros. Records compilation, In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003. The original 1983 version of the song recorded for Murmur was internationally released on the expanded edition of the 2006 EMI compilation, And I Feel Fine... The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982–1987.

Electron Blue

"Electron Blue" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released as the third single from their thirteenth studio album Around the Sun on February 28, 2005. Written by group members Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, the song features a synthesizer-heavy arrangement. Its lyrics describe an electric hallucinogenic drug made of light, a concept which was developed from a recurring dream of Stipe's. Upon release as a single, "Electron Blue" peaked at numbers 43 and 26 on the singles charts of Ireland and the United Kingdom respectively. Michael Stipe performed on the Around the Sun tour with a blue band painted across his eyes as a reference to the song, his personal favorite from Around the Sun.

Everybody Hurts

"Everybody Hurts" is a song by American rock band R.E.M., originally released on the band's 1992 album Automatic for the People and was also released as a single in 1993. It peaked at number twenty nine on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked within the top ten of the charts in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Iceland.

Finest Worksong

"Finest Worksong" is the third and final single released from R.E.M.'s fifth studio album Document. It peaked at number 50 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1988, at the time the group's highest-charting single in the UK.The single version of the song (also known as Mutual Drum Horn mix), featuring a new horn section by The Uptown Horns, was placed on R.E.M.'s I.R.S. Records compilation Eponymous. This was the last original single the band released on I.R.S. Records.

Gardening at Night

"Gardening at Night" is a song by American rock band R.E.M. It was recorded for the band's 1982 debut EP Chronic Town.

Hollow Man (song)

"Hollow Man" is the fourth track and second single from R.E.M.'s fourteenth album Accelerate. The music video was created by Crush Inc., a graphic-design and production studio based in Toronto, and posted on the band's website on April 23, 2008. The single was released in the UK on June 2, 2008. The song peaked at number 7 on Billboard magazine's Triple A chart.

List of songs recorded by R.E.M.

This is a comprehensive list of songs recorded by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. that were officially released. The list includes songs performed by the entire band only (Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe 1983-1997; Buck, Mills and Stipe 1998-2011). Side projects, including contributions by solo members of the band, are not included in this list. The list consists mostly of studio recordings. Remix and live recordings are not listed separately unless the song was only released in that form. Album singles are listed as released on their respective album. Only one release is listed per song, except for their first Hib-Tone single.

Losing My Religion

"Losing My Religion" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. The song was released as the first single from the group's 1991 album Out of Time. Built on a mandolin riff, "Losing My Religion" was an unlikely hit for the group, garnering extensive airplay on radio as well as on MTV and VH1 due to its critically acclaimed music video. The song became R.E.M.'s highest-charting hit in the United States, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and expanding the group's popularity beyond its original fanbase. Out of Time garnered R.E.M. seven nominations at the 1992 Grammy Awards, the most nominations of any artist that year. The band won three awards: one for Best Alternative Music Album and two for "Losing My Religion", Best Short Form Music Video and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Man-Sized Wreath

"Man-Sized Wreath" is the second track and third single from R.E.M.'s fourteenth album Accelerate, released on August 11, 2008 in the UK. The single was announced after the band's Madison Square Garden show on June 19, 2008, where footage of the upcoming music video was shown. The single is available as a digital download and a limited edition clear-colored 7" vinyl single. The b-side "Living Well Jesus Dog" is either a demo or early take of "Living Well Is the Best Revenge," and gets its title from a comment Peter Buck makes at the beginning of the track as to whether or not Jesus had a dog, which prompts Michael Stipe to joke they should name the new album Did Jesus Have a Dog?

Before the performance of "Man-Sized Wreath" during R.E.M.'s live show at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in 2007, Michael Stipe commented, "This next, new song will not be on our next record." Peter Buck then responds, "It's a little early to make that call."

Mine Smell Like Honey

"Mine Smell Like Honey" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M.. It was released as the second single from their fifteenth and final studio album Collapse into Now on January 18, 2011.


"Nightswimming" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released in 1993 as the fifth single from the group's eighth album Automatic for the People (1992). "Nightswimming" is a ballad featuring singer Michael Stipe accompanied only by bassist Mike Mills on piano (lyrics and music respectively, but credited to the whole band as usual), a string arrangement by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, and a prominent oboe by Deborah Workman in the latter part of the piece. Stipe sings about a group of friends who go skinny dipping at night, which draws from similar experiences in the band's early days.

Orange Crush (song)

"Orange Crush" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released as the first single from the band's sixth studio album, Green, in 1988. It was not commercially released in the U.S. despite reaching number one as a promotional single on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks (where, at the time, it had the record for longest stay at number one with eight weeks, beating U2). It peaked at number 28 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band's then-highest chart hit in Britain, where they promoted the song by making their debut appearance on Top of the Pops.The video for the song, directed by Matt Mahurin, won the band its first VMA, for Best Post-Modern Video. "Orange Crush" was also the first song to win in the category.

The song was placed on R.E.M.'s Warner Bros. Records compilation In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 in 2003, and a live version appears on the R.E.M. Live album recorded in Dublin in 2005.

The song's title is a reference to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange manufactured by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical for the U.S. Department of Defense and used in the Vietnam War. Stipe opened the song during The Green World Tour by singing the famous U.S. Army recruiting slogan, "Be all you can be... in the Army." Stipe's father served in the Vietnam War.British indie rock band Editors recorded a cover of "Orange Crush" as the B-side for the re-issue of the "Blood" single.

Peter Buck (album)

Peter Buck is the debut solo album from Peter Buck.

Pop Song 89

"Pop Song 89" is the opening track and third single released from R.E.M.'s sixth studio album Green. It peaked at number 86 on the Hot 100, and in the UK "Stand" was re-released instead.

The video was directed by band frontman Michael Stipe and features him and three women, all of them topless, dancing to the song. When MTV asked Stipe to put censor bars on the three women in the video, he superimposed black bars on the chests of all four dancers, himself included, later stating, "a nipple is a nipple."The acoustic version that was used as the single's B-side was also included on disc 4 of the 1993 box set The Automatic Box, along with the other Green B-sides, and the bonus disc of the limited two-disc edition of In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 in 2003.

Radio Song

"Radio Song" is the fourth single released by R.E.M. from their 1991 album Out of Time, where it appeared as the opening track.

Lead singer Michael Stipe once said that he hoped everyone had enough sense of humor to realize that he was "kind of taking the piss of everyone," himself included.Stipe also asked KRS-One, leader of Boogie Down Productions (of which Stipe was a fan), to contribute to the track. He provides some backing vocals for the track, as well as a closing rap, and appears prominently in the video.

Suspicion (R.E.M. song)

"Suspicion" is the fourth and final single released by R.E.M. from their album Up. Unlike previous singles from Up, "Suspicion" was the only single from the album not to chart.

A live version of the song, recorded at Toast Studios in San Francisco, CA 1998, was released as a B-side to the second single from Up, "Lotus", released the following year and peaked at #26 on the UK Singles Chart. This version was included in the German releases of the CD.

The One I Love (R.E.M. song)

"The One I Love" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released on the band's fifth full-length studio album, Document, and also as a 7" vinyl single in 1987. The song was their first hit single, reaching No. 9 in the US Billboard Hot 100, No. 14 in Canada, and later reached No. 16 in the UK singles chart on its UK release (1991). The song was included in Activision's Guitar Hero World Tour and is in Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades, as well as Harmonix's Rock Band 4.The accompanying video's director was artist Robert Longo. The director of photography was Alton Brown, who later became a Food Network personality.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "The One I Love" at number 57 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the song as the 38th best single of the 1980s.The song is included on R.E.M. Live.

Wanderlust (R.E.M. song)

"Wanderlust" is a song by R.E.M. It was released as their fourth and final single from their thirteenth studio album, Around the Sun. The song has a partially compound time signature; 4/4 in the verses and 7/4 in the chorus.

A version of the song, called "Wanderlust (Clayton St. Studio version)", was released as a digital download only and later added in the compilation AthFest 10.


"Überlin" is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M.. It was released as the third single from their fifteenth and final studio album Collapse into Now on January 25, 2011.

The song's music video was directed by Sam Taylor-Wood and stars her fiancé, actor Aaron Johnson, dancing in an area of Shoreditch.

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