Mike Mills Joins Hootie & The Blowish At MSG For R.E.M. Classics

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R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills was the special guest of Hootie & The Blowfish at their Saturday night gig (August 10th) gig at New York's Madison Square Garden. Prior to introducing Mills, Hootie frontman Darius Rucker name checked the band's auxiliary guitarist Peter Holsapple, who also played the same role for R.E.M. Mills joined the band for a double-shot, starting with a take on 1991's Out Of Time classic "Losing My Religion" -- which the band has been performing recently -- followed by "Don't Go Back To Rockville" from 1984's Reckoning.

Coming on November 1st is Imperfect Circle -- Hootie & the Blowfish's first new album since 2005. Darius Rucker spoke about the band's legacy to USA Today, explaining, "I think a lot of people do use our music as an escape. We're not preachers. We're not gonna come out and tell you what we think is right or that the world is messed up. That's not us. We might think about it but we're not gonna sing about it."

Rucker went on to say, that the band isn't trying to recreate their signature '90s vibe for their new songs: "I can honestly say to you that we've never once said that we need to make anything we do sound like anything. Even way back when we were just a cover band working at frat parties in South Carolina, we just played the songs. That's one reason why we've always split our publishing: No matter who actually writes it, once we get a song into that four-man groove, it becomes what it is."

Although Hootie & The Blowish are always game for throwing the odd cover song into its setlist at any given moment -- there's one song the Blowish will never attempt live again. Darius Rucker and bassist Dean Felber admitted to us that Dire Straits' "Sultans Of Swing" is permanently off the table: (Darius Rucker): "We played that our very first show and never played it again (laughs). Yeah, that was the least successful of all time. We had one guitar player and we each couldn't play it. (Dean Felber): It wasn't made for this band, I mean, for whatever reason. We all knew. I mean, (guitarist) Mark (Bryan) had trouble admitting it, (laughs) but we all knew (laughs)."