Michael Stipe ‘proud’ he didn’t hide sexuality to further music career

Michael Stipe is proud he never pretended to be straight to further his music career.

Michael Stipe

The R.E.M. star publicly came out as gay at the time of the band’s ninth album ‘Monster’ – which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – and he is sure “longstanding” fans had already figured it out by that point.

He told Billboard: “I was never closeted. That’s the thing that’s beautiful about it and I’m so proud of. You can never find a single picture of me pretending to have a girlfriend or being somebody that I’m not.

“I was never that guy. Any longstanding R.E.M. fan who had not figured out I was queer before that point wasn’t looking very hard.”

The band came to an end in 2011, but they have unearthed some demos and rare outtakes for the ‘Monster’ re-release.

Frontman and lyricist Michael acknowledged many of R.E.M.’s followers will be glad to hear how the songs progressed throughout the writing process, although he himself finds the recordings tough to listen back to.

He explained: “To pull the curtain back that far is a bit humiliating, frankly.

“I want people to think of me as this perfect genius who emerged completely into the world. Of course, that’s not the case.”

The LP itself saw the group embrace a glam rock style as they took big strides away from the styles heard by fans on predecessors ‘Out of Time’ and ‘Automatic for the People’.

Michael added: “I can’t believe looking back … that we had the audacity and the courage to jump off a cliff together, not literally but figuratively, to create something sounding so different from the records before.”