Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’S Early Years by Robert Dean Lurie:
Pat had recently become a vegetarian—not an easy lifestyle to maintain in the deep South in 1980. But Athens boasted one vegetarian restaurant, the Bluebird Café, which was also heavily frequented by aspiring veggie Michael Stipe. One morning, Pat was standing outside the restaurant talking with Bob Hay of the band the Corks (soon to be renamed the Squalls) when he noticed “this kid with orange hair.” Stipe introduced himself and invited Pat over to R.E.M.’s new practice space on Jackson Street to hear them play. Somehow, it seems, he never mentioned the name of his band. The two walked the several blocks over to the space and fell into an easy rapport. Despite their differences in age and personality, they’d had similar upbringings: Pat had also been a military brat and had lived in Germany, France, Texas, Montana, and Alabama, while his family on his mother’s side had roots in Georgia going back several generations. This common background did not emerge completely during that first conversation, but it no doubt informed a shared language and worldview that enabled Pat to hit it off more easily with Stipe than most people would manage to do.
The two arrived at the practice space to find a note from Peter taped to the door. Bill and Mike had to go back to work, so there would be no practice today. However, a couple of girls were hanging around, waiting for Michael to show up; one of them also sported orange hair. They went inside and Michael promptly sat down at a Farfisa organ set up in the corner and started banging away like some eccentric composer played by Vincent Price in a Hammer horror film. The girls watched, entranced.
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