REM for Oxegen
According to Hot Press, My Bloody Valentine are paying Electric Picnic because they heard Primal Scream and Jesus and Mary Chain had great craic at it last year. So, does that mean REM are playing one of the most atrocious festivals in the world becuase they heard Davy Carton of the Saw Doctors, the drummer from Arcade Fire and Avril Lavigne had a right old laugh at it last year? Probably.
Anyway, after not much deliberation at all, REM have been unveiled - alongside the totally out of their depth Kings of Leon - as the main Oxegen headliners. Expect a clatter of shite and at least a dozen acts worth breaking the now-annual "I'm never going again" pledge to be announced once MCD get the Meteors out of the way.
T In The Park is normally a good guide as to who's playing Oxegen, and to dat they have announced: The Verve, Rage Against The Machine, REM, Kings of Leon, Fratellis, Kaiser Chiefs, Stereophonics, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Kooks, Aphex Twin, KT Tunstall, Biffy Clyro, Erol Alkan, Amy Winehouse, The Raconteurs, Primal Scream, Feeder, Counting Crows, The Feeling, DJ Hell, Wombats, Ian Brown, Amy MacDonald, Pigeon Detectives, The Enemy, The Pogues, Justice, The Charlatans, Interpol, Hot Chip, Pendulum, Ben Folds, Slam, Reverend And The Makers, The National, Jack Penate, Alabama 3, Sons and Daughters, Lightspeed Champion, The Courteeners, Band of Horses, Seasick Steve, Ting Tings, The Law, Black Kids, Sergeant, Gabriella Cilmi, and many more to be announced... Bloody Hell. RATM? Aphex Twin? Looks like my pledge is already broken...
REM are a curious beast and, like the decision to stick The Who on the main stage two years ago, they are a baffling choice to play a load of post Junior Cert teens, culturally clueless culchies and rookie drug users. It's a well known fact at this stage that REM haven't made a decent album since the mid-1990's. Sadly, the only interesting thing about them these days is the fact that former Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin plays with them, and even at that they only seem to allow him play live as he has yet to become an 'official' member despite putting up with their directionless MOR shite since 1997.
Rieflin was with Ministry from '86, joining them midway through "The Land of Rape and Honey" sessions. He went onto drum on "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste", although by this stage he'd turned into a cyborg. After extensive surgery pioneered by Omni Consumer Products (OCP) had turned him back into a tweed-friendly dandy, he can be seen 'in the flesh' on the rather dangerous live vidjo "In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up". His finest hours sweating like a lug behind Al Jourgensen, though, came with the seminal "Psalm 69" and the organic and utterly briliant "Filth Pig" - arguably Ministry's finest hour that. Sadly, old Bill didn't seem to think so, and he fucked off before the "Filth Pig" tour got underway.
Somehow he ended up in REM, and last summer he thrilled the natives and regulars in Barney Drakes pub in the tiny Westmeath village of Castletown-Geoghegan when he became the only REM member to get publicly drunk when they stopped off for a few pints after a day at the Kilbeggan races. Stipe, by all accounts, wanted to go home straight away because two local children asked him to sing a song. The other two sheepishly followed but not before Rieflin snuck in two more quick ones.
I suppose the fact he's still not yet an official member of REM makes this outrageous behaviour acceptable. He's had plenty of grounding in madouva la-la-land. Away from Ministry and REM, Rieflin has pounded the pots for the likes of KMFDM Lard, 1000 Homo DJ's, Pigface, and The Revolting Cocks. His only other soft drumming jobs have been with Robyn Hitchcock and The Minus 5.