25 years ago, R.E.M. were a band that successfully made the improbable jump from Athens, Georgia college rock sensations to alternative radio stalwarts to pop institutions. And when the band returned with their eighth studio album in 1992, Automatic For The People, it was a rare case of a group at the top of their game exceeding what should have been lofty expectations. Fans old and new have been able to relive that record this year with an extensive reissue package that has included retrospective interviews.
Today, R.E.M. offers up a new mini-documentary, Automatic Unearthed, capturing the creation of the classic record. In the 25-minute film, most of the band’s then-members — Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills, with no Bill Berry — talk up the making of the album, along with producer Scott Litt and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who provided the orchestral arrangements for it. The interviews, which all appear to be conducted recently, are spliced with archival footage from the band recording, as well as clips from their iconic music videos for the collection.
You can check out the Automatic For The People documentary in full above, and lament the loss of Michael Stipe’s giant beard while you watch it.