1980: Michael Stipe’s First Gig with New Band

Michael Stipe white cartoon sketch on blue stucco background.Astrology and Stagefright

Twenty year-old student Michael Stipe makes his live debut singing with his new band at a friend’s birthday party held in an abandoned church in Athens, Georgia, where he and guitar player Peter Buck also presently live. The unnamed band plays a bunch of covers for about two hours. When they perform their next gig two weeks from now, they adopt the name “R.E.M.”

The transiting Moon and Neptune are conjunct Stipe’s natal Jupiter and Mars in Sagittarius, indicating an overcoming of natural shyness to perform before people. Transiting Jupiter retrograde in Virgo is square transiting Venus in Gemini and natal Venus in Sagittarius, signifying an artist’s initiation into a new creative circle.

Moon-Neptune conjunct Jupiter-Mars

Michael Stipe astrology bi-wheel chart with transits for 1st R.E.M. performance.

Transiting Moon and Neptune (outer wheel, lower left) conjunct natal Jupiter and Mars in Sagittarius (inner wheel, lower left). Transiting Jupiter retrograde in Virgo (outer wheel, top left), square transiting Venus in Gemini (outer wheel, top right) and natal Venus in Sagittarius (inner wheel, lower left).

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