Peter Buck: Wikis


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Peter Buck

Peter Buck on stage with R.E.M. in 2008
Photo: Andrew D. Hurley
Background information
Birth name Peter Lawrence Buck
Born December 6, 1956 (1956-12-06) (age 53), Berkeley, California, United States
Genres Alternative rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, bass guitar, electric sitar, Appalachian dulcimer
Years active 1980 - present
Associated acts R.E.M., Hindu Love Gods, The Minus 5, Tuatara, The Baseball Project, The Venus 3 Eels, Mark Eitzel, The Replacements
Notable instruments
Rickenbacker 360

Peter Lawrence Buck (born December 6, 1956 in Berkeley, California) is the guitarist and co-founder, along with Bill Berry, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe, of the alternative rock band R.E.M.

Throughout his career with R.E.M., which was founded in 1980, Buck has also been an official member of various 'side project' groups. These groups include Hindu Love Gods, The Minus 5, Tuatara, The Baseball Project and Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3, each of which have released at least one full-length album. Additionally, another side project group called Full Time Men released an EP while Buck was a member; a current side project group called Slow Music plays semi-regular gigs.

Buck also has a notable career as a record producer (including releases by Uncle Tupelo, Dreams So Real, The Fleshtones, Charlie Pickett, and The Feelies), as well as a session musician (for the likes of The Replacements, Billy Bragg, and Eels.)



After spending time in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Buck family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating with honors from Crestwood High School in 1975, Buck attended Emory University but eventually dropped out. He moved to Athens, Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia as well. While in Athens, Buck worked at the Wuxtry Records store through which he met regular customer Michael Stipe as well as R.E.M.'s future legal and managerial representative, Bertis Downs.[1] [2] [3]

Buck currently divides time between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, unlike the other two current members of the band, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, who still live in Athens. Peter has twin girls with his ex-wife Stephanie Dorgan, Zelda and Zoe, born in June 1994. He is twice divorced.

Peter, Mike Mills, Bill Berry and Warren Zevon recorded an album under the band name Hindu Love Gods, while the R.E.M. bandmates and Zevon were recording tracks for Zevon's 1987 album Sentimental Hygiene. Hindu Love Gods is one of many names the members of R.E.M. have used performing around the Athens area.

Buck is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of music, as well as his extensive personal record collection. On March 12, 1999, in an interview on Wiese, a television music show based in Oslo, Norway, Buck estimated his collection to be around the 25,000 mark. In the late 1990s, he estimated he had 10,000 vinyl singles, 6,000 LPs and 4,000 CDs.[4]


Buck onstage in Naples, 2008

Buck's style of guitar playing is simple and yet distinctive. He makes wide use of open strings while chording to create chiming and memorable pop melodies. His sound, especially on mid-period R.E.M. albums that saw the band break through to international popularity, has been associated with Rickenbacker guitars, particularly a black model 360.[5] However, he has also used a wide variety of other instruments as the group has continued to experiment and develop. On some more recent R.E.M. releases prior to Accelerate (2008), his guitar parts have been noticeably less prominent, something which to a certain extent may be referable to the band's occasional increased use of synthesizers, strings and other atmospherics.

The three instrumentalists from R.E.M. all performed on Nikki Sudden's 1991 album The Jewel Thief, including the single "I Belong to You".

"When Peter plays guitar, there's a strong sense of fuck off that comes from his side of the stage. And you feel that he wants to be in a band because he likes what they do... but that's all," explained U2's Bono in 2003.[6] "And it's almost like performing and having to deal with all of that is a bit of a compromise for him, so just fuck off. And I like that energy a little bit, and that gives them their aggression."

Buck has produced many bands, including Uncle Tupelo, Dreams So Real, The Fleshtones, Charlie Pickett, and The Feelies. Buck also has made contributions on many other musicians' albums, including The Replacements, Billy Bragg, Robyn Hitchcock, and several Eels albums. Buck also coproduced the 1992 Vigilantes of Love album, Killing Floor, with songwriter Mark Heard. He co-wrote, produced, and performed on Mark Eitzel's 1997 album West. He recorded an EP with Keith Streng of The Fleshtones as Full Time Men in 1985, and along with R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey has been a partner in The Minus 5 and a member of the instrumental band Tuatara. Additionally, In October 2005, he joined R.E.M. studio drummer Bill Rieflin, King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and three others in forming an improvisational performance band called Slow Music. His voice can be heard on one R.E.M. song: "I Walked With a Zombie" from the Roky Erickson tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye. In 2006, Buck toured with Robyn Hitchcock, McCaughey, and Rieflin as lead guitarist for Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 in the wake of the band's first release, Olé! Tarantula. In 2008, after McCaughey and Steve Wynn decided to work together, the duo asked Buck to be the bass player in their new band, The Baseball Project, along with drummer Linda Pitmon.

Buck has contributed liner notes to a number of compilations, reissues, and special editions, both of R.E.M.'s own material (the best-of compilations Eponymous and In Time, the rarities, B-sides and out-takes collection Dead Letter Office and the special edition of New Adventures in Hi-Fi) and of other artists' work (such as the Beach Boys' Love You).

On September 9, 2008, immediately following the band's concert in Helsinki, Finland, Buck's signature Rickenbacker guitar, used live and in the studio since Chronic Town in 1982, was stolen from the stage. It was returned on September 18, 2008, by an anonymous source. [7]

Airline incident

On April 21, 2001, Buck was aboard a transatlantic flight from Seattle to London to play a concert at Trafalgar Square. Witnesses alleged that Buck exhibited various bizarre behaviors on the flight, including shoving a CD into a drinks trolley thinking it was a CD player, tearing up the "yellow card" warning notice handed to him by the flight crew, claiming "I am R.E.M." and being involved in a struggle over a yogurt pot with two stewards, which resulted in the exploding of the pot. Buck's actions led to two charges of common assault on the stewards, one charge of being drunk whilst on a plane, and one charge of damaging British Airways cutlery.

At the ensuing trial in London, Buck's defense claimed that the moderate amount of wine he had drunk had reacted adversely with the brand of sleeping pill he was taking and rendered him unable to control his actions. The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that he was simply intoxicated from supposedly consuming fifteen refills of wine. After the trial, which included testimony from Bono of the rock band U2, Buck was cleared on the grounds of non-insane automatism.[8] [9]


  1. ^ Waldman, Matt (December 2002), "Bertis Downs . . . in his own words", Georgia Magazine (University of Georgia) Vol 82 (No 1),, retrieved 2007-03-13 
  2. ^ "Entry for Peter Buck", New Georgia Encyclopedia (The Georgia Humanities Council & The University of Georgia Press),, retrieved 2007-03-12 
  3. ^ "Entry for Peter Buck". Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "RIC makes the list with REM - 8/7/2005". Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  6. ^ The South Bank Show, May 12, 2003.
  7. ^ ""PETER BUCK'S RICKENBACKER RETURNED! "". REM HQ. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  8. ^ ""R.E.M. star cleared of air rage attack. April 5, 2002"". BBC News website. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  9. ^ Vasagar, Jeevan (April 6, 2002), "R.E.M. guitarist cleared of air rage", The Guardian,,3604,679895,00.html, retrieved 2006-08-01 

Further reading

  • Buckley, David (October 2003). R.E.M. Fiction: An Alternative Biography. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 978-0753508701. 
  • Grey, Marcus (1997). It Crawled from the South: An R.E.M. Companion. Da Capo. ISBN 978-0306807510. 

Simple English

Peter Buck
File:R.E.M. (65).JPG
Peter Buck in 2008
Background information
Birth name Peter Lawrence Buck
Born December 6, 1956 (1956-12-06) (age 54)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Guitar, mandolin
Years active since 1980
Associated acts R.E.M.
Notable instruments
Rickenbacker 360

Peter Lawrence Buck (born December 6, 1956 in Berkeley, California) is an American guitar player and songwriter. He is most famous as one of the founders of the alternative rock band R.E.M..

In 2007 Peter Buck, along with the other three members of R.E.M., was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

His main instrument that he has used for his entire music career is a back Rickenbacker 360 electric guitar. On September 9, 2008, after a concert in Helsinki, his famous black guitar was stolen. On September 18, 2008 it was given back to him. The name of the person who returned it is not known.[1]


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