Michael Stipe Is Finally Free of the Shackles of R.E.M.

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Musician Michael Stipe attends the Patrick Ervell Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Milk Studios on September 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Skip Bolen/WireImage) Photo: Skip Bolen/2011 Skip Bolen

Michael Stipe says he doesn't know what he's going to do now that R.E.M. is no more, but he can rule out becoming a solo act. "It's unfathomable to me right now," he tells Rolling Stone. Plus, he finally has what everyone, artist or no, dreams of: Delicious, delicious liberty! "I had been under contract since I was 22," he says. "I'd been in a band since I was 19. [The day the band broke up] I was experiencing something profound for the first time: freedom. Suddenly, I was a free agent." Stipe says that bassist Mike Mills also called the band's dissolution "liberating." Be careful what you wish for, aspiring rock stars.