Wired editor-in-chief played in R.E.M.

Heh — this is easily the most misleading headline I’ve written in years! But it’s not actually inaccurate.

Reason recently published an excellent interview with Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, to talk about his superb book The Long Tail — an investigation of how niche markets are becoming bigger business than hits. At the end of the interview, Anderson talks about a band he played bass for in the 1980s that was called …. R.E.M.

It’s not that R.E.M., of course. But both bands did briefly exist at the same time, and Anderson had a fascinating interaction with the, uh, “real” R.E.M. When Anderson’s band was preparing to release its album, their concert promoter decided it would be fun to have both bands fight it out for the final rights to be be called R.E.M. So they had a battle of the bands at the 9:30 club in Washington, DC. As Anderson tells it:

reason: Obviously you did not win the battle of the bands, did you?

Anderson: I would say we lost resoundingly.

I think the first song they played was “Radio Free Europe.” It was clear from the first chord what the outcome of that decision was going to be.

reason: And the winner got to rename the loser, right?

Anderson: In the aftermath of this resounding defeat and with a lot of fear involved, we emerged named Egoslavia.

Nice. Appropriately enough, Anderson points out that by turbo-charging niche markets and allowing niche fans to cluster online, the Internet has actually created a resurgence of minor 80s bands — including his. There are people who’ve actually sampled Egoslavia/R.E.M. tracks.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson