REM

Bassist-keyboardist Mike Mills recently had effusive praise for Led Zeppelin co-founder John Paul Jones’s work on R.E.M.’s classic album, Automatic for the People. Speaking with Billboard, Mills said Jones’s string arrangements for ‘Everybody Hurts’, ‘Drive’, ‘The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight,’ and ‘Nightswimming’ added “a whole other level of beauty” to the LP.

“It hadn’t occurred to us [to seek out Jones], and we didn’t think he would say yes, but as soon as [producer Scott Litt] mentioned Jones’s name and I thought about ‘Kashmir,’ it was like, ‘Well … why not?’” recalls Mills. “And then we sent him the stuff and he liked it and he came down and listened and did exactly what we wanted, which was to elevate the songs without dominating them.”

Mills and his former R.E.M. bandmates Michael Stipe and Peter Buck have been coordinating in recent weeks to promote the 25th anniversary Automatic for the People box set. When asked if there were any chance of a full-on reunion, Mills was emphatic in his response.

“In a word -- no,” he said, with a laugh. “Michael and I have a really great time doing the press trips. We go off and we go to really fun cities and have great dinners and work hard all day. But if anything it reinforces the idea that we did the right thing by breaking up when we did.”