Michael Stipe Says He Once Told Donald Trump to 'Shut Up' at a New York Gig: 'The Guy Got Up And Left'

The musician Michael Stipe has said that he once told President Donald Trump to stop talking during a small gig at a New York venue more than 20 years ago.

Stipe is the former singer of REM, which is currently considering legal action against the Trump campaign for using their hit songs "Everybody Hurts" and "Losing My Religion" at the president's rally in Milwaukee earlier this month.

The band's bass player, Mike Mills, tweeted soon after the event: "We are exploring all legal avenues to prevent this, but if that's not possible please know that we do not condone the use of our music by this fraud and con man."

When Stipe appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote his third book of photography called "Our Interference Times," he was asked about what he thought about the Trump campaign using REM's music.

Stipe said that that it was a "licensing problem" and that there was nothing the band can do "except respectfully request" that their songs not be used.

But Stipe got a word in edgewise, describing a time "in the late '90s" when he went to Joe's Pub in New York to see a performance by his friend and fellow musician Patti Smith.

Stipe said he was was in the VIP booth and during one of the earlier sets, a "big, loud guy came in with a date" and sat down next to Stipe and his guest. The VIP kept talking to his companion through the opening act which "was very disruptive and rude."

When Smith went onto the stage for her set, Stipe lost patience with the businessman because he kept talking and so he turned to face him.

"I was like, 'excuse me, that's my friend, and you have to stop talking...stop, what are you doing? Shut up! I said shut up."

"The guy got up and left ... he took his date ... and do you know who that guy was? Donald J. Trump."

Newsweek has contacted the White House and the Trump campaign for comment.

During the interview, Stipe told the CBS host how his hero as a child was the Hunchback of Notre Dame because he related to the character's status as an outsider because he felt like one himself.

On that that theme, Stipe went on to praise Greta Thunberg, describing the Swedish teenage environmentalist as "an amazing example of someone who said 'this aspect of me ... being autistic ... is what I consider to be a superpower'. In one sentence she flipped the entire story."

Singer/songwriter Michael Stipe
Singer/songwriter Michael Stipe is pictured at Museum of Modern Art on January 28, 2020 in New York City. He has recounted an incident he had with Donald Trump during a concert in the 1990s. Jim Spellman/Getty Images