Burning Questions Answered: What’s Michael Stipe Up To?
Michael Stipe has been in the news recently discussing his upcoming projects. In addition producing and co-writing the next Fischerspooner album, he and long-time collaborator Jonathan Berger have two big projects on the horizon. One is an audio project for New York City’s High Line park, composing pieces of music the will play from a bell tower to be constructed on the park’s northern end. The duo’s second project involves a series of autobiographical photo books on Stipe’s life, the first of which will cover Stipe’s time with R.E.M., due out later this year.
Remembering Clem Curtis
Clem Curtis, the original lead singer of the U.K. soul outfit the Foundations, passed away yesterday. Born in Trinidad in 1940, Curtis moved England at the age of fifteen, finding jobs as an interior decorator and boxer. With singing experience limited to his household, Curtis took a tip from his uncle that the Ramong Sound was seeking back-up singers. The group lost their original singer, took on Arthur Brown temporarily, and reemerged in January 1967 as the Foundations with Clem Curtis as their lead. After the group scored two hits and released two albums with Curtis as their lead, he felt the morale of the Foundations’ shift towards resting on their laurels, leading him to break-off from the group in 1968 to pursue a solo career in the United States. While the Foundations bore on with new singer Colin Young, finding continued chart success with hits like “Build Me Up Buttercup,” Clem Curtis was unable to find reliable work in the states, compelling him to return to the U.K. in the early 1970s, and eventually founding a reformed version of the Foundations, not unlike several incarnations from other former members. Clem Curtis continued to perform until his double cancer diagnosis earlier this year, choosing to spend his remaining time amongst friends and family. Clem Curtis was 76.
Photo: Ivan Ward Photography