Former REM drummer BILL BERRY is "enjoying life" since quitting the band in 1997, as he has more time to indulge in his favourite pastimes such as cooking.

Berry left the SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE group to spend more time on his family's farm in Georgia, America, after struggling to deal with the pressures of extensive touring.

His old bandmate MICHAEL STIPE says, "I'm really happy for Bill Berry, he's on his farm enjoying life. I went out there six months ago.

"He did a typical Bill thing when we were in the studio in Athens rehearsing for the BEST OF tour - he showed up with a chef's hat on and presented us with lunch.

"He served up his favourite road food - spicy poppadom and chutney and sushi."

06/10/2004 17:52