R.E.M. breaks up; Tony Bennett backtracks on 9-11 remarks

Daybreak Daily’s afternoon walk through the streets of Pop-Cultureville laments a band’s passing (reunion tour, anyone?) and other things, including – sigh – Salahi.

DRAG: Per Rolling Stone, “R.E.M. have announced that they have broken up after 31 years together. "As lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band," the band said in a statement on their official website today. "We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished."

In just over three decades as a band, R.E.M. released 15 albums including landmark works such as Murmur, Reckoning, Document, Out of Time and Automatic For the People. The band's final album, Collapse Into Now, was released in March of this year. There were reports over the summer that the band had spent some time in an Athens studio, but it is unclear whether anything will come of that session.”

SIGNS WERE THERE: Three years ago, per Gibson, “Any band that endures for more than 20 years is bound to encounter its share of troubles. For R.E.M., however, drummer Bill Berry’s decision in 1997 to leave the group constituted a crisis of momentous proportions. Not only did remaining band members Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills come closer to breaking up than many realized, but in essence, R.E.M. were forced to become a different band. In the following interview, Stipe recalls the near-devastating impact of Berry’s departure.”

HEY, SHE’S A LOCAL: Per TMZ, “Michaele Salahi posed for a suggestive photo, hip-to-hip, with the likes of Steven Tyler -- more than five years before she decided to run off with Journey guitarist Neal Schon. TMZ obtained the photo taken backstage during an Aerosmith concert in Bristow, Virginia -- and the story behind it is pretty wild.”

UM, DON’T KNOW: Per People, “Was a romance blooming, or was it just two old friends reconnecting when Scarlett Johansson and Kieran Culkin spent time in the City of Love last week?”

LORDY, LORDY: Per Us, “Jessica Biel's face will go scarlet when she hears about this! The new Us Weekly reveals that Justin Timberlake spent the night of Sept. 14 with another Hollywood beauty: Single-again Scarlett Johansson, his smoking-hot costar in his 2007 "What Goes Around Comes Around" video.”

OBLIGITORY FOLLOW-UP: Per PerezHilton, “Last week we informed you of the not so pretty comments Brad Pitt made concerning his marriage to Jennifer Aniston. . . But then his PR guys sent over an apology from Brad. He claimed his words had been misinterpreted in the interview. And now we learn it was actually JEN's PR peeps who made it clear the comments were what he should feel pathetic about. Apparently they contacted his team immediately. They were absolutely insulted (as they should have been).”

DAMAGE CONTROL: Per Newsday, “Tony Bennett apologized Tuesday for remarks he made in a radio interview Monday that blamed the United States for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During an interview on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show to promote the singer's new album, "Duets II," the discussion ventured into politics.

Stern asked Bennett how he would deal with the terrorists responsible for destroying the Twin Towers. "Who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists, or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don't make a right," Bennett said, adding "They flew the plane in, but we caused it. We were bombing them, and they told us to stop." In a statement issued late Tuesday, Bennett, 85, clarified his remarks.

"There is simply no excuse for terrorism and the murder of the nearly 3,000 innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks on our country," he said. "My life experiences -- ranging from the Battle of the Bulge to marching with Martin Luther King -- made me a lifelong humanist and pacifist, and reinforced my belief that violence begets violence and that war is the lowest form of human behavior. "I am sorry if my statements suggested anything other than an expression of my love for my country, my hope for humanity and my desire for peace throughout the world."

LEAKED: Per the AP, “A long-awaited memoir by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is finally being published - without his approval. British publisher Canongate said Wednesday that the book, billed as an "unauthorized autobiography," will go on sale in stores and online Thursday.”

GOOD: Per indieWIRE, “The Producers Guild of America will honor Steven Spielberg with the 2012 David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. The guild will bestow the producer, director, writer and Principal Partner of DreamWorks Studios with the award at the 23rd Annual Producers Guild ceremony on January 21st at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Spielberg is the top-grossing director of all time.”

COOP!: Per Radar, “Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison after being convicted of raping two underage girls, and former members of his church are speaking out about the abuse they suffered in the cult in an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper. Elissa, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was forced to marry a 19-year-old when she was only 14 and recalled the harrowing experience for Cooper.”

AND FINALLY: Today’s mystery music video.

--Skip Wood

{ }