REM star Michael Stipe has an embarrassing secret - he always has a teleprompter onstage so he doesn't forget the words to his group's songs.

The LOSING MY RELIGION singer is sure he doesn't really need the device, which he places at the side of the stage, but it helps him focus on his extensive back catalogue.

He says, "I'm really embarrassed to say this because it's a big reveal. I don't really use it that often. It's down there on the stage.

"(FRANK) SINATRA had one and Axl Rose had one and I didn't ever want to have one but it's a crutch. If I know that it's there I can disappear into the head where I can be the best performer that I can be.

"If I'm not in that head I'm just sort of thinking about the laundry and that's not good."

Stipe admits he has another secret way of singing his hit songs - he reads the lips of fans in the front rows.

He adds, "My sister teaches deaf children, so I'm there."

13/11/2003 09:06