Extreme’s rock legend, Nuno Bettencourt, speaks to Dermot Murphy about touring, Timbaland, and Nintendo Guitar Hero.
For those of you who don’t know, Extreme were an eighties glam-metal, four-piece, complete with all the trimmings; long hair, bad-ass guitar solos and inappropriately tight leather jeans. For those of you who do, you’re probably aware that the band is back with a brand new album, a world tour, and of course the tight leather jeans.
Extreme exploded onto the scene with radio-friendly hit ‘More than Words’ reaching number one in the American charts. However, with predominately heavy tunes like ‘He Man Woman Hater’ and ‘Lil Jack Horny’, it must be contemplated that an acoustic ballad misrepresented the band somewhat.
“The only way you can get on the top ten is if you work with Timbaland… so you’re screwed!”
Lead guitarist, Nuno Bettencourt, doesn’t think so. “‘More than Words’ actually represented us really well”, he explains. “The band was all over the place so you could never really say here’s one song… that’s the band”.
Saudades de Rock is the band’s first studio album in 13 years, not that it really mattered to the LA rockers. “Nothing really changes when you’ve done many records with someone. It’s a little more exciting this time round because it’s been a while… it’s kinda like seeing an ex-girlfriend”.
Since the band’s return earlier this year, Extreme has been touring steadily, having just finished the U.S. leg of their re-union tour.
“It’s been great getting re-acquainted with the fans”, says Nuno. “The shows are really intense. Even though we’re older we still perform like we’re 17-years-old… the bones hurt a little more the next day though”.
While the live element of the band hasn’t changed much over the years, the music industry has.
“Unfortunately right now we’re in a weird time. Nowadays the money they used to spend on bands for tour support, marketing and things to get them out there just isn’t happening any more”. Nuno elaborates: “If you’re not on the top ten i-tunes downloads then you basically don’t exist. And the only way you can get on the top ten is if you work with Timbaland… so you’re screwed!”
“It’s a little more exciting this time round because it’s been a while… it’s kinda like seeing an ex-girlfriend”
On such a note of dismal realism, the question arises of whether or not there is any hope for aspiring bands. “The truth is this. There are decent bands out there right now but there aren’t a lot of risks being taken. A lot of bands are very one dimensional. It’s hard to decipher stylistically from singer to singer or guitar player to guitar player. I hope that bands start to take a little more risk and get a little bit more creative.”
Extreme’s ‘Play with Me’ features on the new Nintendo Guitar Hero game. Nuno admits that it is “kinda crazy”.
“I was getting calls from bands I know on the road hating me because it’s the last song to play to get through [the game]. They asked me to try it and I couldn’t even get past the intro!”
Extreme play the Academy on the 8th of November.