Rock band Extreme out to show they are no one-hit wonder at tonight's gig

Guitarist and songwriter Nuno Bettencourt (centre) on many people knowing the band, comprising him, (from far left) Pat Badger, Kevin Figueiredo and Gary Cherone, for that 1991 hit. -- PHOTO: LIVE! EMPIRE
Guitarist and songwriter Nuno Bettencourt (centre) on many people knowing the band, comprising him, (from far left) Pat Badger, Kevin Figueiredo and Gary Cherone, for that 1991 hit. -- PHOTO: LIVE! EMPIRE

Rock band Extreme out to show they are no one-hit wonder, with gig that features hard rock, heavy metal and funk

American rock band Extreme might be best known for evergreen acoustic ballad More Than Words - but they are no one-hit wonder.

Guitarist and songwriter Nuno Bettencourt has come to terms with the fact that many people will probably know them for only that one song from 1991, but says their fans know the real deal.

"People who just like that song are not Extreme fans, they just like More Than Words," he says in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles. "That's cool, that's nice, but the actual truth fans know is we're more than that song."

The Boston band, who are playing their first show in Singapore at The Coliseum tonight, have quite a repertoire built up from the five albums in their discography.

Turn up for the gig tonight and Bettencourt says you will get to experience the full range of the band's music - a mix of hard rock, heavy metal, funk and pop influences.

"We're going to do as many songs from each album as possible because we've never been in Singapore before," he says.

Formed in 1985 by Bettencourt, singer Gary Cherone, bassist Pat Badger and drummer Paul Geary, the quartet went from conquering the local Boston scene to worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Their sophomore album, Extreme II: Pornograffitti (1990), became their biggest seller to date, thanks to the No. 1 hit More Than Words, but rock fans were also drawn to the band's funk-rock hybrids.

The band took a hiatus several times in the mid-1990s and early 2000s. In 2007, current drummer Kevin Figueiredo joined after Geary left in 2006.

Bettencourt, now 47, and still sporting the same long hair he was famed for in the 1980s and 1990s, says the band are still as potent onstage as they were when they started.

"Everybody in the band's got different lives now, but I think when we are onstage, nothing really changes, it does feel like 20 years ago when we get onstage.

"Anybody who sees the show today, and maybe saw the band years ago, is probably going to agree that the band are still kind of like the same, still the same energy and the same passion for the songs we play and the stuff we do."

Bettencourt, born in Portugal, also made his name as a virtuoso guitarist and is synonymous with his own guitar model, the Washburn N4.

He reveals to Life! that he is thinking of ending his association with the guitar brand, which stretches back to 1990.

"I might no longer be with Washburn. You're the first person I've talked to this about because, this month, I might be going to a different company."

He did not have details of which other brand or model of guitars he will switch to.

He has also dabbled in solo projects. His most prominent work outside Extreme is his gig with pop singer Rihanna. He has been playing guitar for her on her live shows since 2010 and was onstage when she last played here at the F1 concert at the Padang last year, although he was not advertised as a draw and many Rihanna fans in attendance did not recognise him.

"It's always been great; touring with her is always a great experience. It's different, but the great thing is I still get to do what I do and I get to be myself."

Asked to compare which is wilder - going on the road with the Barbadian pop star or his own band Extreme, the guitarist replies: "I think it's always going to be Extreme. I think the audiences dictate that. I think the audiences are a little bit wilder than Rihanna's fans."

dinohadi@sph.com.sg