In a focused media blast, former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe lambasted President Trump as a “bloviating puff-adder sack of lies” during an appearance on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” on Wednesday and the Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s Covid-19 response in an op-ed in the Guardian Thursday morning.
During the Meyers appearance, which you can watch below, Stipe says, rather immortally, “He started as a failed midtown real estate developer, then became a successful reality TV star. Now we get this bloviating, puff-adder sack of lies. What next?”
He talked about music as well, nothing that while he’s only recorded intermittently since R.E.M. split in 2011, he’s now writing and composing music by himself for the first time: “I found it weirdly satisfying. I can’t say that it’s much like R.E.M., but I’m really happy with where it’s gone.”
He and Meyers also talked emotionally of their mutual friend, veteran music producer Hal Willner, who died of caused believed to be associated with coronavirus in April. Stipe revealed that he worked with Willner a Lou Reed tribute “that will be released, probably, very soon.”
“You can’t fathom that type of loss until it’s happened dramatically and unexpectedly,” Stipe said, choking up. “The last thing we did together is a tribute to his best friend, Lou Reed. That will be released probably very soon, most certainly as a tribute to his genius.”
A Willner-helmed tribute to T. Rex founder Marc Bolan was released earlier this month.
Stipe didn’t reserve his ire for Trump: In an op-ed published in The Guardian Thursday morning, he sounded off about the rapid spread of coronavirus in his former hometown of Athens, Georgia and criticized the controversial leadership of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who he called a “a Donald Trump acolyte.”
“The Georgia I was born in and know and love is full of beautiful, soulful people, from the city streets of Athens to the neighboring counties, and beyond to the piedmont and coastal towns,” he wrote. “Historically we have given much — from James Brown to the B-52’s, Jessye Norman to Childish Gambino, Martin Luther King Jr to Stacey Abrams, their home and legacy and my base deserve a stronger level of support than this state and its key institutions have provided thus far.”
Read the full op-ed here.