Though Michael Stipe’s name didn’t appear among the original wave of musicians supporting Bernie Sanders for president, the former R.E.M. leader has now formally endorsed the Vermont senator.

“In art and in music, I seek out and listen for honest and realness,” Stipe told Rolling Stone. “That’s why I’m backing Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. In politics, he is the person who is offering me the most honesty and the most realness.”

Stipe went on to list the many issues close to his heart that Sanders promises to represent in office:

I’m a feminist. I’ve marched, supported and fought for black rights, privacy rights and LGBTQ rights. I’m deeply concerned about the environment. I’m completely freaked out by fracking. Sanders takes positions on all of these issues that have [outshone] any other candidate that I’ve seen -- and I have looked, believe me. I identify with him.

“It’s refreshing to have a candidate who speaks his mind, who makes sense, who isn’t demagogic,” Stipe continued. “His appeal and his honesty… is perfect for now. It’s very 21st century. It’s idealistic, but also realistic.”

You can see Stipe’s endorsement video at the top of the page. Read his entire interview with Rolling Stone right here.

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