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3/4 of R.E.M. reunited in Athens; restaurant behind ‘Automatic for the People’ closing; Mike Mills joining Joseph Arthur on tour

R.E.M. at MSG in 2008 (more by Eric M. Townsend)

Singer/songwriter/poet/painter Joseph Arthur, who wrote a Michael Stipe-approved song featuring Peter Buck of R.E.M. last year, is now teaming up with another R.E.M. member, bassist Mike Mills, for an upcoming tour. Joseph and Mike will be joined by drummer Bill Dobrow and will head out across the US and Canada at the end of this month through late December. Joseph comes to NYC for a show on New Year’s Day (1/1) at City Winery with Bobby Bare Jr., but Mike Mills hasn’t been announced to be with Jo at that one. Tickets for the NYC show are on sale now. All dates are listed below.

The tour is in support of The Ballad of Boogie Christ Act 2, the second installment of Jo’s planned trilogy, which is due out on November 29, aka Record Store Day Black Friday. The first part came out this past June. You can check out a KEXP session of Joseph performing “The Ballad of Boogie Christ” below.

In related news, at Peter Buck‘s Athens, GA show at 40 Watt Club last Thursday (11/14), he brought out fellow founding R.E.M. members Mike Mills and Bill Berry (who left the band in 1997) to perform the band’s 1984 single “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” off their sophomore LP, Reckoning, an almost-reunion after calling it a day in 2011. Michael Stipe was in fact in the audience, but sticking to the band’s insistence to not reunite, chose not to join his former bandmates on stage.

In other R.E.M. news, Athens, GA restaurant Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods, the inspiration for the Automatic for the People title is closing this month after over 27 years of business. Reports

Weaver’s catchphrase “Automatic for the People” became the title of rock band R.E.M.’s blockbuster 1992 album. R.E.M. hails from Athens and were frequent customers. Weaver told the LA Times in 2003 that R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe stopped by the restaurant with an attorney to seek permission to use the phrase as the album title. Weaver agreed in exchange for “a pretty good amount” of money in a deal, not knowing R.E.M.’s fame. After the release of the album, Weaver said his “life changed.” A beloved institution, Weaver D’s will certainly be missed.

Check out a video of the Buck’s performance with Mills and Berry, along with the list of Joseph Arthur dates and KEXP video, below…

Peter Buck, Mike Mills & Bill Berry – “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” at 40 Watt Club

Joseph Arthur – “The Ballad of Boogie Christ” Live on KEXP

Joseph Arthur — 2013/2014 Tour Dates
Nov 27 – Akron, OH Tangier +
Nov 29 – Toronto, ONT The Drake Hotel +
Nov 30 – Chicago, IL City Winery +
Dec 1 – Chicago, IL Uptown Poetry Slam @ Green Mill
Dec 3 – Boston, MA Great Scott +
Dec 4 – Northampton, MA Iron Horse +
Dec 5 – Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theater +
Dec 6 – Montclair, NJ UUCM at Montclair +
Dec 7 – Vienna, VA Jammin’ Java +
Dec 8 – Charlottesville, VA The Southern +
Dec 10 – Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle +
Dec 11 – Atlanta, GA Eddie’s Attic +
Dec 12 – Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge (Communion show) +
Dec 13 – Louisville, KY Zanzabar +
Dec 14 – Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar +
Jan 1 – New York, NY City Winery

+ = with Mike Mills

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