Nuno Bettencourt Interview – Talking Extreme, Rihanna and More


Promo image of the rock band Extreme.

Nuno Bettencourt Interview – Story by Anne Erickson, official promo photo

Extreme and Rihanna guitarist Nuno Bettencourt joins Anne Erickson to talk all things music in this extensive interview

Longstanding hard rockers Extreme have returned with their first new album in 15 years, the hard-charging “Six.” Even though it took a long time to get the new tunes out, Extreme have always stayed together. It’s that healthy band relationship that’s helped the group remain a force in rock music for decades.

Speaking with Anne Erickson Audio Ink Radio, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt explained why he thinks Extreme are so successful at staying together. He credits it to “a lot of love and hate, which is necessary for a long-term relationship,” chuckling.

“I think having a four-way marriage… I mean, a two-way marriage is enough, but a four-way? Good luck with that,” he says. “It’s one of those things where when you’re brothers, you fight and you have to love somebody enough to hate them at times. I think we always come back to the mothership, which is Extreme. Even though we do other projects, me with Rihanna, I think you always end up coming back to what was your beginning and what started you. That’s Extreme, as I refer to it as the mothership.”

Extreme – which also features Gary Cherone on vocals, Pat Badger on bass and Kevin Figueiredo on drums – won’t let another 15 years go by before releasing new music. Bettencourt says they’re already playing around with new ideas.

“We just put this one (album) out a few days ago, and it took us 15 years to get to that one,” he says. “I would say we definitely are on a flow to not let that happen again. We’re already talking about, as we’re on this tour, writing this next album as opposed to waiting until after the tour, so I think we’ll have something for sure.” He also jokes, “We’ll try to get there at 13 years instead of 15,” laughing.

In addition to Extreme, Bettencourt is also the live guitarist for pop superstar Rihanna. When asked about the experience, he gushes about all the positives.

“It’s Rihanna, first of all,” he says. “She’s a massive artist, and she’s super cool to hang with, and the shows were ridiculous, the audiences, and it was amazing. I got to take- when they first wanted me to do it, when she first wanted me and Tony Bruno to do it, I was like, why, there’s no guitar on this stuff. And they said, well, that’s why we want you to do it and rock it out. And I said, well, I get to be me, right? Fully? My same sound? And they go, yep. So, that was really cool. It was really cool to destroy some of those songs. (laughs) But, honestly, to play songs as iconic and songs like “Umbrella” and things and add big guitars to it, that was really cool.”

Switching gears, Bettencourt spoke about Extreme’s popular ballad, “More Than Words.” He says he was super flattered by the music video parody that Jack Black and Jimmy Fallon did of the song.

“Look, two things happen,” he explains. “You think it’s funny, but also, you’re super honored. Some people think that, oh those guys made fun of you. I’m like, no. When somebody does that, it’s the greatest honor you could have, a parody. When someone takes the time to dress in what you wore, copy the video, do the song and literally imitate you, that’s the biggest form of iconic flattery you could ever get. It was a real honor, actually.”

Listen to the full Nuno Bettencourt interview via the YouTube audio player above. You may also listen via the Audio Ink Radio podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify Podcasts here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Music, Rock