Joey Waronker On Leaving Beck, Making Plans With R.E.M.

Drummer Joey Waronker told MTV News on Tuesday afternoon that his decision to leave his drumming duties with Beck was primarily due to scheduling conflicts, his desire to spend more time as a full-time producer, and keeping his gig as hired gun for R.E.M.

"It's not about leaving one band to join another," said Waronker, who just finished touring with R.E.M. last Saturday in Boston. "I've been asked to participate with R.E.M. for events scheduled for next year. Plans for their next album are already on the blackboard."

As for Beck, Waronker appears on the upcoming album "Midnight Vultures," due out on November 16, and he'll play with the band at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California on October 9 (see "Beck Chooses Album Title, Loses Drummer").

"I have this sense I'll still be involved with Beck, even if it's just to help break in the next musician," said Waronker. "I'm really lucky to have worked with him

for six years. I know that in fifteen years, Beck will be right where R.E.M. is now. He has that in his heart."

As for his eagerly anticipated studio duties, Waronker just completed producing his first album for Irish recording artist Marie Therese, which is due out next year on Universal Records.

After rehearsals with Beck for Coachella, Waronker will work on the soundtrack for the indie film "Chuck and Buck," a new project by "Freaks and Geeks" creator-writer Paul Feig.

Regarding his summer tour with R.E.M, the drummer described the experience as "amazing."

"There's nothing quite like watching the band play 'Everybody Hurts' in front of a 40,000 capacity crowd in Ireland and seeing everyone crying in the front row," Waronker said. "It's been an amazing learning experience. Unbelievable, healthy, and cool."

While R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs is careful to point out that Waronker isn't joining R.E.M., Downs did tell MTV News that for now, Waronker is "the

right drummer" for the band.

Waronker appeared on R.E.M.'s 1998 album "Up" and the band's cover of Tommy James' "Dragging the Line" for the soundtrack of "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." The drummer also appears on the band's soundtrack (an R.E.M. first) for the Andy Kaufman biopic "Man On The Moon." The album is due out near Thanksgiving; the Jim Carrey-Courtney Love flick will be released Christmas Day.

-- Kara Manning