Michael StipeMichael Stipe (actual name John Michael Stipe, born January 4, 1960 in Decatur, Georgia) is the lead singer and frontman of rock band R.E.M Stipe has become well-known, and much parodied, for his mumbling style of delivering bizarre and indecipherable lyrics, as well as his social and political activism. Stipe and the other members of R.E.M. have become godfathers of alternative rock and are perhaps the first such band to achieve mainstream success.
Stipe met Peter Buck, Bill Berry and Mike Mills in 1980 (see 1980 in music) while studying photography and painting at the University of Georgia. They formed R.E.M. that year and issued their debut single, "Radio Free Europe", on Hib-Tone. The song was a college radio success and the band signed to IRS Records for the release of the Chronic Town EP one year later. Beginning with 1983's Murmur (see 1983 in music), R.E.M. released a series of critically acclaimed albums with limited mainstream success. A few hit singles and growing visibility as a social activist eventually made Stipe a star, and also earned him a devoted fanbase.
In 1998, Stipe published a collection called Two Times Intro: On the Road with Patti Smith and worked on Single Cell, a film production company which released Being John Malkovich and American Movie in 1999 and American Psycho in 2000.
In a 2001 interview Stipe described himself as a "queer artist". In previous interviews he has said he doesn't define himself as gay, straight, or bisexual, but that he was attracted to and had relationshps with both men and women.