The Bad Ends, Bill Berry’s first group since R.E.M., announce debut LP, share first single
Former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry hasn't been in a band since he left the group after 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi, but he's back behind the kit as part of Athens, GA group The Bad Ends. The band are led by Mike Mantione of '90s Athens cult heroes Five Eight and rounded out by Dave Domizi (bass & vocals), Geoff Melkonian (keyboards & vocals), and Christian Lopez (guitars & mandolin). They've just announced their debut album, The Power & The Glory, which will be out January 20 via New West.
The Power and the Glory began as a Manitone solo album but that changed with Buck. “In very early 2017, a chance pedestrian encounter in downtown Athens found me face to face with one Mike Mantione," says Berry of how he ended up in a band again after 20 years. "At that point it had been over 2 decades since I’d involved myself with the record making process and here was a man Peter Buck recently described as 'the unsung hero of Athens rock and roll' offering an opportunity to play in the game again. It was energizing to once again play with top notch musicians. This record is unique for me in that it was the only one, with which I was involved, that was written, rehearsed, recorded, produced and mastered in Athens!”
Manitone says, "It was one of the happiest times, but I found myself tuning into the suffering around me and wanting to help family through their hardest times. One afternoon, a close friend committed suicide. He left two sons fatherless. He was there for me years before, and he’d helped so many other people who wondered what happened. I doubled down on getting my life together and started writing and making music with a vengeance.”
The first single from the "All Your Friends Are Dying," which comes with a video directed by Lance Bangs and stars Manitone as an Uber driver whose rides include many Athens musical luminaries, including Mike Mills of R.E.M., Vanessa Briscoe Hay of Pylon, Bob Hay of the Squalls, Frank McDonald of The Glands, Jody Stephens of Big Star, music producer / Sugar bassist David Barbe, and many more.
“The song and the video are a celebration of Athens," says Manitone. "The song is also a tribute to Big Star and The Glands. I'm really singing it to a friend who missed this special performance of the Big Star Third album and I'm warning my friend not to miss stuff because life doesn't last very long. The cameos were just the most fun. I got to drive around Athens with so many awesome friends. We were supposed to look glum, but once they got into the van with me, laughter would erupt. Athens had an incredible, beloved local vegetarian restaurant called The Grit which closed a day before we shot the last of the cameos. We do a drive-by of The Grit as sort of a farewell nod."
Watch the video below. The Bad Ends have an hometown show on November 27 at Nuci’s Space.
The Power and the Glory:
1. Mile Marker 29
2. All Your Friends Are Dying
3. Left To Be Found
4. Thanksgiving 1915
5. Ode To Jose
6. The Ballad of Satan’s Bride
7. Little Black Cloud
9. New York Murder Suicide
The Bad Ends Live:
November 27th - Athens, GA - Nuci’s Space