“Mott the Hoople and the game of life….yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…”
He was a founding member of the groundbreaking Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ensemble that essentially brought “alternative” rock to the masses, and consequently continues to inspire scores of indie bands. A bassist and prolific composer, Michael Edward Mills was REM’s musical workhorse, often doubling on keyboards and providing harmony vocals while laying the harmonic foundation for his higher profile band-mates. Mills’ modus operandi was to work in the pocket and serve the songs sung by Michael Stipe and brilliantly fortified by the defining guitar artistry of Peter Buck.
However on the final two woefully under-appreciated REM studio efforts, Accelerate (2008) and Collapse Into Now (2011), Mills flexed his formidable chops with thrilling results, rendering motifs high in the mix that grabbed the listener ala Jack Bruce, Sir Paul, and The Ox.
Though REM never fully recovered from drummer Bill Berry’s departure in 1997, and Stipe, akin to his contemporary Bono, was a front man you either loved or hated – Mike Mills was always at the top of his game as a bass player on stage and in the studio.