Extreme: Nuno Bettencourt Discusses New CD, 'Take Us Alive'

Originally published in Guitar World, July 2010

Nuno Bettencourt riffs on the group’s new Take Us Alive CD and DVD and the forthcoming follow-up to Saudades de Rock.

"I don't know if it was the best gig of our whole lives,” Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt says, “but it was the last show of our tour, and it was one for our hometown of Boston, so we decided, Hey, we’ve got to document this somehow.”

That they did, on DVD and CD releases both conveniently titled Take Us Alive. Recorded at the House of Blues in August 2009, the live sets showcase the regrouped rockers (which, in addition to Bettencourt, includes original members Gary Cherone on vocals and bassist Pat Badger, along with new drummer Kevin Figueiredo) running through material from all five of their studio efforts.

“As you would expect, the crowd goes crazy when we play hits like ‘More Than Words’ and ‘Hole Hearted,’ ” Bettencourt says. “But they genuinely dig the new songs, too. So I think there’s more than a little gas in this engine.”

To that end, Bettencourt reports that writing for Extreme’s follow-up to their 2008 “comeback” album, Saudades de Rock, is progressing at a steady clip, but a decidedly slower one than in the past. “The band vibe is good, but we want to lead our lives. Years ago, we wrote, put out records, toured, then did it all over again. We got burned out, and that’s why we broke up. Now that we’ve grown up, we’re focused on being human beings as well as a band.”

So while a new Extreme album may be a ways off, music fans will still get a chance to see Bettencourt this summer: he’s joined pop superstar Rihanna’s touring group, a situation he describes as “a total blast. Rihanna is so into rock, and she gives me an empty canvas to work with. I get to do wild solos and crunch up the rhythms. It’s rock, it’s R&B, it’s hip-hop, it’s funky—all totally up my alley.”

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