They have a front and a back side. On the flip side, with their languid ballads celebrating love, they have enchanted teenage booms and delighted parents all over the world. On the flip side, the rhythm is frantic, the six strings masterfully hammered and the hair metal sprinkled with a hint of funk magnificently represented, while good society takes offence at this band that is a little too... Extreme?
Long hair, tattoos, hybrid looks between black metal and a little hippie vibe, Extreme didn't know how to choose their style and it's certainly for the best. Since 1985, their hard rock has been joyfully venturing into the land of funk, mixing styles and challenging purists with a constantly renewed conviction. A rebellion in sound, but also in substance. When others glorify hedonistic pleasures, Extreme takes the opposite position and already criticizes an America that only thinks about money and sex and that sinks into its own excesses.
If their positioning is unusual, their tracks will twist your eardrums with their stratospheric musicality and the virtuosity of their long-time singer and guitarist. As an undisputed guitar maestro, Nuno Bettencourt embodies a technique that the great guitar heroes themselves envy him. In concert, it's impressive, all the more so as behind him lie the bass and drums of Pat Badger and Kevin Figueiredo, who have nothing to be ashamed of in terms of mastery. Gary Cherone on vocals completes this quartet that has hardly changed since its beginnings.
And that's certainly one of Extreme's strengths: knowing how to adapt in storms, releasing global hits to better promote the music they love, splitting up to better find each other. A celebration of hair metal that is still sold out, despite the road and the trials.
Gary Cherone, ex-drummer Paul Geary, Pat Badger and Nuno Bettencourt were playing in rival bands in Malden, Massachusetts. At the time, rivalries were high and after yet another brawl, the bands exploded, but for the better. The four guys were out of work, but eventually they hit it off and started playing together around Boston. Their original hard rock quickly became known and in 1986 they were named best heavy metal and hard rock band at the Boston Music Awards.
Extreme released their first album in 1989 on A&M Records, but it was their second album that really shook the world. In 1990, Extreme II: Pornograffitti sent love to every dancefloor with its acoustic ballads More than Words and Hole Hearted, which reached number 81 and number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. By slowing down the rhythm, always with virtuosity, the group gained access to a new audience. But in concert, they never forget to put both fingers back in the socket and seduce an ever larger audience.
In 1992 and 1995, Extreme released two albums, III Sides to Every Story and Waiting for the Punchline, before parting ways on good terms in 1996, with everyone moving on to new projects. Fans were desperate and had to wait ten years to hear the quartet's crazy energy again. On drums, Geary didn't come back but was replaced by Figueiredo and in 2008, the band finally released Saudades de Rock before going back to do what they do best: deliver their virtuosity in the form of a brutal slap in a tour that will be regularly renewed even if the band now stays away from studios.
Saudades the Rock celebrates its 15th anniversary and once again Extreme lives up to its name. Few artists are able to come back after such a long break, but these guys are not afraid of the cold. With their single Rise, its always well tempered riffs and its melody with modern accents, they announce the colour and release SIX in June 2023. Of course, these stage beasts don't miss a chance to tour again and their public is waiting for them impatiently.
I have rarely seen such a lively concert! The atmosphere was crazy and the audience was pumped up, screaming at each new Bettencourt solo, dancing and jumping to the rhythm of Gary Cherone's lyrics. You would never think that these four guys have a career of a few decades behind them. Their music is as crazy as ever, their energy and desire completely intact. A great moment of hard, rock and funk!
Extreme may be less well known than other bands of their era, at least on our side of the Atlantic, and yet they are probably one of our favourites. With their unique tone in the world of hard rock, their danceable funk-like parts and their heart-stopping ballads, they have it all! Including the virtuosity that makes guitarists and musicians all over the world waver. Each time they come to France, we wait impatiently for them and after each concert, we can't wait to go back, again and again.
In addition to the pure glam-rock and metal-funk fusion tracks that will be one of Extreme's trademarks, the Boston four offer ballads that are often very well written and almost progressive instrumental parts that are directly inspired by Queen.