Since R.E.M. called it quits five years ago, lead singer Michael Stipe has kept somewhat of a low profile, preferring to concentrate on sculpting. But in a new interview, he says he's ready to get back to music again.

“I’m not ready to go completely into pop stardom again, as a 56-year-old,” he told the New York Times, but “I want to work in music again.”

He's signed on to produce SIR, the upcoming record by electronic duo Fischerspooner. Whether he's going to be singing or writing songs any time soon is unknown at this time.

However, he did talk a lot about Out of Time, the R.E.M. smash hit album that will be re-released in a 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition on Friday (Nov. 18). The record confirmed the band's ascendency from the '80s American underground to one of the biggest bands in the country. While many alternative bands were wary of mainstream success, and had difficulty adjusting to fame, Stipe had no problems.

"I was ready for it," he said. "We’d been doing it for 11 years, and I was ready to step up, I think. I was pretty grounded at that point. What you want as a fantasy idea of what fame brings, versus what it actually brings, are two very different things. The reality is never quite as sexy. That said, I love my life, I enjoy being a public figure, and most everything that brings."

Even though Out of Time remains their biggest selling album, the one he loves the best was released five years later, 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi. " It’s a band at our very peak. And then, of course, Bill [Berry, the group’s original drummer] left the band."

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