R.E.M. Hit the Web ... Finally

Stipe, Buck & Mills join the electronic age with first official R.E.M. Web site
Posted Jun 17, 1999 at 12:00am
It really must be the end of the world as we know it. R.E.M., the little Athens band that could but never really would on the Internet finally has its own official Web site. According to R.E.M. headquarters art director Chris Bilheymer, www.remhq.com is scheduled for launch on June 17.

In a statement released Wednesday by Warner Bros. Records, band manager Bertis Downs quipped, "We're officially the last band to join the electronic age and have our own Web site." The site was not yet operational by press time ("We're still making sure that it's bug and typo free," admitted Bilheymer), but he did reveal a little of what cyber-savvy fans can expect to find at the trio's Internet address: tour dates, a news section, the inevitable discography and digital photos from the road. A store and videography, with either clips or stills, is planned for the near future. Bilheymer said that there are no plans for band chats, but deferred the inevitable MP3 question to Downs, who was on tour with the band and unavailable for comment.

Bilheymer did stress that the Web site will not be replacing R.E.M.'s official fan club. "We're still going to have our members-only fan club with the actual snail mail mailings and everything," he added.

The designer said the first phase of remhq.com (which was six months in the making) was designed in straight HTML code, though snazzier Flash elements will be added during the second phase, possibly next month. "We wanted to start out keeping it pretty much accessible to all browsers, without any of the really high-end stuff, and then slowly implement that," Bilheymer said.

In other R.E.M. news, the band will be featured in a Bravo profile special, This Way Up: R.E.M.. The hour-long documentary, which premieres August 26 at 8 p.m. (EST) and will be encored the following day and periodically thereafter, captures the band during the recording of Up in the wake of drummer Bill Berry's departure.

Furthermore, R.E.M.'s world tour, which kicks off today in Portugal, arrives Stateside on August 9 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

Written by RICHARD SKANSE for RollingStone.com News

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