If you were wondering why one of music's greatest bands decided to go their separate ways after over three decades, wonder no more.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, REM guitarist Peter Buck explained that the first inkling that he, Michael Stipe and Mike Mills would call it a day happened after they had played what turned out to be their last gig in Mexico in 2008.

He said: "I went, This is kind of sad'. And Michael goes, 'Yeah, a little. We're probably never going to play these songs again'. And I went, 'You might be right'."

The band continued for another three years, going on to release their last album 'Collapse Into Now' in 2011, after which Buck said that Stipe "to be away from this for a long time".

He revealed: "And I said, 'How about forever?' Michael looked at Mike, and Mike said, 'Sounds right to me'. That's how it was decided."

He added: "I'm really proud of the fact that we ended in 2011 with the ideals we started with in 1980. I'm really proud of the body of work. There are a couple of records that aren't great. But there's a couple of Bob Dylan records that aren't great."

Since their split five years ago, Buck has released two solo albums, Mills has played with various artists including Joseph Arthur, and Stipe has remained relatively out of the spotlight apart from the odd guest appearance.

These days, he's more interested in hanging out with members of U2 and taking selfies, it seems.