See R.E.M.’s Mike Mills Join Jason Isbell Onstage for ‘Driver 8′
Jason Isbell brought out a special guest last night at his concert in Athens, Ga.: R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills, who joined in on a performance of his band's 1985 song "Driver 8."
"We got a friend of ours that has agreed to come up and sing a song with us," Isbell said from the stage. "Ladies and gentlemen, Athens' own Mike Mills is here tonight."
You can watch footage of the performance below.
Isbell included a studio version of "Driver 8" on his most recent album, Georgia Blue, which features songs by Georgian artists like James Brown, the Black Crowes, Otis Redding and others. The LP is bookended with two songs by R.E.M., the other being "Nightswimming."
"R.E.M. had a very specific type of southernness that aligns with my own experience in so many ways. A 'southern rock' that isn't that at all," Isbell tweeted back in 2017 of his relationship with the band's music.
When asked by a fan what Isbell recommended as a starting point with R.E.M., the singer-songwriter replied: "I'd start at the beginning and go chronologically."
"His melodic take on 'Driver 8' ... the way he rephrases certain lines, it makes me actually jealous," R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe said in a November 2021 interview. "I've never met Jason, but I wrote him a note to tell him how grateful we were that he had done such a beautiful job with those songs."
"It's very exciting," Mills added in the same interview. "It's really cool to see your stuff reimagined by an entire new generation of musicians."