When Extreme announced they would be touring Australia this year, the news was met with excitement. Founded in 1985, the glam/hard rock/funk metal band have maintained popularity over the decades. They are most known for their big hits More Than Words and Hole Hearted, which catapulted them to fame in the early 90s. One of the main driving forces behind their sound is guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. Responsible for the recognisable riffs that help drive Extreme, Bettencourt has also garnered a reputation as a solo guitar player, singer songwriter and record producer in his own right. The mans name garners interest and respect from musicians across all genres. He has worked with such luminaries as Perry Farrell, Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Steve Perry to name a few. But when Overdrive had the chance to chat with Bettencourt the upcoming Australian tour was at the forefront of our minds. It has been many years since the band toured here, and Bettencourt is excited to be coming back, stating “I’m actually really really excited, really excited you know. I have been saying we should tour, others always say it is the greatest place but in this case I was itching to go back, for the main reason that we haven’t performed there in 20 something years. And I think there’s an element of me that’s embarrassed about that but there’s another element of me that’s kinda excited to get reacquainted with everyone and put on a great show and just see old friends, new friends, new fans, old fans, just make it a killer time.”
One thing Bettencourt revealed was that the band have a new album in the works, with the plan of it being released in the American fall. It has been a long time between Extreme releases, but Bettencourt indicates the band are definitely focused in getting the new album done. It has been hard with touring, and working with other artists, but Bettencourt says the band have now settled on 20-25 songs they are truly excited about. “We had stuff that we were going to release a few years back, and we were writing new stuff and going “ah that’s better its even more exciting!” Bettencourt exclaims, before continuing “We’re excited, we’re recording it right now, doing some things over the next few weeks. Trying to wrap up some of the vocals, guitars and things like that”. But this upcoming tour will be about the fans, and playing the favourites from their back catalogue that the fans want to hear. For the band this tour is almost like a catch up, with Bettencourt telling Overdrive “This tour is… its been so long you want to just catch up, catching up with old friends and family. You don’t want to deprive the fans that have been listening all these years and replace it with super new stuff right now. So we are kinda going to go through the catalogue play some of the stuff that we think they would want to hear off of each album. The whole catalogue.”
Extreme is a band that can be hard to label with a specific genre. Each album, and even each song, displays different sounds clearly garnered from different influences and inspirations. Bettencourt’s guitar playing alone crosses many genres and styles. So Overdrive had to ask, who are some of Bettencourts personal influences? “I have always been, as a guitarist, I have always been more inspired… less by guitar players than actual bands. You know not so much solo players but bands that wrote vocals and had songs, were song driven. Bands whether its Queen, whether it was Led Zeppelin, whether it was AC/DC, Van Halen. It was always the guitar player but they were always a part of something bigger than just guitar. Those were the guys that kind of always inspired me, along with other great bands that I love.” That is certainly an aspirational list, but it is easy to see how these artists have influenced the rocking yet intricate playing that has become Bettencourt’s hallmark.
As Overdrive ask about Extremes music in the past and the future, one subject we come back to is the upcoming tour. Even with the new album in the works, travelling to Australia is at the fore front of the bands minds. It turns out Bettencourt has actually spent a lot of time here over the years and has made some deep personal connections in Australia. Bettencourt reveals “I still spend quite a bit of time there. To be honest with you I have always loved it there, I have lived there, you know my daughter goes to school there. I have always loved Australia, I have family and friends there, its more like going home for me. It’s more like a homecoming for me every time I go back, to be able to play with Extreme there I think it is going to be super exciting.” Well it is certainly super exciting for the fans too! One thing is for sure, a chance to see one of rocks greatest guitarists play his most well known songs is not a chance to be missed.
Extreme will be touring Australia With Mr. Big this June. Get your tickets here: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/Extreme-tickets/artist/907103