R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe Is Unrecognizable, Resembles A Bearded David Letterman

The Michael Stipe, formerly of R.E.M., most fans remember was a clean-shaven, bald guy with dark glasses. But today, Stipe looks alarmingly like late-night talk show host David Letterman. The singer still sports a shaved head, but he now has a long lumberjack beard. Stipe is amused that people have said that he and Letterman look like twins, while others say that at this time, Stipe looks like he could be a member of ZZ Top.


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Esquire states that Michael Stipe has been growing this beard since R.E.M. broke up in 2011. David Letterman wrapped up his full-time late night gig in 2015, and even though for a while he had some closely trimmed facial hair, he now has gone full woodsman. Recently, David Letterman posed for the cover of New York Magazine, wearing a knit cap, dark sunglasses, and his fairly new full beard.

Before the issue of the magazine was released, it was teased on Instagram.

“Photographer Christopher Anderson had taken his last shot of Letterman, who was putting on his hat and sunglasses to leave. Anderson stopped him, and snapped the photo that’s now on the cover.”

When friends and fans started commenting to Michael Stipe that he looked like Letterman’s twin, Stipe took a selfie with his bearded face against a newsstand photo of David Letterman on the cover of New York Magazine. Stipe put the photo on his Instagram page with a colorful caption.

“So f**ked up.”


Fans and the magazine are now wondering what will be next for Letterman, Stipe, and their bushy beards.

“Who knows what the beard end game is for either retired legend, but it would be cool to see who could get it down to their belt first. Maybe they’ll go on tour with their matching beards. Or maybe one morning you’ll walk out to get the paper, and there Letterman and Stipe will be, hanging out on your lawn, a pair of the world’s coolest garden gnomes.”

But regardless of the facial hair situation, the New York Times states that Michael Stipe is ready to actively get back into the music business. Stipe says that he wants to work in the music industry and on his own music again, but he doesn’t want to jump back into pop stardom. The last R.E.M. album has just been reissued, and Stipe is scrutinizing each track.

“I don’t want to hear every live recording or demo that Bob Dylan ever made. That’s not my thing. You’re seeing me really reaching, in some cases really over- or under-reaching, to try and find a melody, to work out a lyric to see if it’s working or not with the music; never to be heard. And here, 25 years later, we’re offering it to the public.”

Since R.E.M. parted, Michael Stipe has been focused on visual art, working mostly on brass and bronze sculpture. Much of his work has been shown in the East Village after returning from a show in Stockholm. But Stipe has been dipping his toes back into the musical waters by producing albums for others.


At this time, there is no talk of getting R.E.M. back together, but Michael Stipe says he is ready to sing. Stipe also says that he would like to explore the genre of electric dance music, which is something that the rest of the band didn’t want to do.


What do you think of Michael Stipe’s new look? Do you think he resembles David Letterman?

[Featured Image by Monica Schipper/Getty Images]