Michael Stipe has always been very politically active, but with the 2020 election less than two months away, he's getting more vocal. He was on Late Night With Seth Meyers last night to talk about an online art installation that's part of Planyourvote.org, which helps people learn about what they need to do to vote wherever they live. He also had a few words to say about Donald Trump, calling him a "bloviating, puff-adder sack of lies." It wasn't all politics, though. He also talked about his good friend, the late Hal Willner, and a Lou Reed tribute they were working on together, which Stipe said will be released "very soon." Watch that interview below.

Meanwhile, Michael also wrote an op-ed for The Guardian about COVID-19 and his former home town of Athens, GA's lax policies on mask-wearing and other preventatives, specifically in regards to the return of students to the University of Georgia:

Athens-Clarke county – the smallest county in a very large state – now has the highest two-week total of new cases for any of Georgia’s 159 counties, and one of the highest per capita in the nation, and it has seen the number of deaths due to Covid-19 more than double in just the past six weeks. Other university communities in the state are facing the same dramatic uptick.

As has been widely noted, young people do not live in a bubble, and so they serve as a danger to their older and more vulnerable teachers, the custodians who clean their classrooms, kitchen workers who cook their meals – and that is just on campus. Their impact off campus, in the town of Athens, is alarming. In addition, the 14,000 primary and secondary schoolchildren in Athens will have to stay away from their needed academic and social supports because of the reckless environment that our state has enabled for the university community.

Stipe also put it in context of being performer and concertgoer: "Few understand the thrill of being in a crowd more than I do. From REM’s modest start at the 40 Watt Club in Athens to the triumph of the main stage at Glastonbury, I have spent most evenings of my adult life in the company of thousands, or tens of thousands, reveling in a shared celebration of life. 2020 is the time, however, that we must find a different and more intimate source of warmth and revelry, rather than assembled masses. The safety we create this fall and winter will make all those gatherings and events in future years more meaningful when this pandemic is behind us, having been shared by our friends and loved ones emerging with their health and lives intact."

Read Michael Stipe's full Guardian op-ed here.

Michael Stipe's been releasing solo music this year, too.

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