Peter Buck

From Academic Kids

For the New Zealand Maori leader and academic, see Te Rangi Hiroa (Peter Buck)

Peter Buck (born December 6, 1956 in Oakland, California) is the guitarist and co-founder, along with Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry, of the seminal 1980s college rock band R.E.M.. After spending time in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Buck family moved to Athens, Georgia, where Peter eventually worked at the popular Athens record store Wuxtry's in which he met Michael Stipe.

Buck currently lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Stephanie Dorgan. This is notable considering the remainder of R.E.M. (Mike Mills and Michael Stipe) still live in Athens, Georgia. The Bucks have twin girls, Zelda and Zoe.

Buck has also made contributions on many other musician's albums, including The Replacements, Robyn Hitchcock, and several Eels albums. With R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey he has been a partner in the Minus 5, for which he plays bass, and has been a member as well of the instrumental band Tuatara.

Buck's style of guitar playing is simple and yet distinctive. He makes wide use of open strings while chording to create chiming and memorable pop melodies. However, in more recent R.E.M. releases, the guitar has been noticably less prominent, often turned down lower in the mix in deference to the band's increasing use of synthesizers and other atmospherics.

The year 2002 was to prove a troublesome one for Buck. On the 21st of April, whilst onboard a transatlantic flight from Seattle to London (where he was due to play a concert at Trafalgar Square) Buck was alleged to have created a troubling disturbance. Some of the bizarre behaviour said to be exhibited by him on the flight included shoving a CD into a drinks trolley, thinking it was a CD player, tearing up the 'yellow card' warning notice handed to him by the flight crew, claiming "I am REM and I can make up a story that I was assaulted" and being involved in a struggle over a yoghurt pot with two stewards, which resulted in the exploding of the pot. Buck's actions led to two charges of common assault (on the stewards), one charge of being drunk whilst on a plane and one charge of damaging British Airways cutlery. After a trial in West London, which included testimony from none other than Bono, Buck was cleared on the grounds of non-insane automatism. Buck's defence claimed that the small amount of wine he had drunk had reacted adversely with the brand of sleeping pill he was taking and rendered him unable to control his actions. The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that he was simply intoxicated from the supposed 15 refils of wine he had consumed.

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