Nuno Bettencourt on Extreme’s new album, Six: “I told the guys, ‘I wanna go for blood on this album’”

“I want to make it fun with the guitar.”

Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme

Image: Michael Hurcomb / Getty Images

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Guitar virtuoso Nuno Bettencourt has opened up about the creative process and philosophy behind Extreme’s upcoming album, Six.

“I think we hit a period on this album where I was like, ‘We’re good’,” Bettencourt told Music Radar in a new interview. “Doing the Generation Axe Tour inspired me a little bit, too, I have to say. Playing with all these amazing guitar players and heroes lit my fire a little bit again. Even as I was doing the album and Edward [Van Halen] coming to my house and almost listening to the album.”

“All those things. Even him passing away. It gave me this sense of responsibility and fire, like, ‘Fuck, man! There’s not a lot of people left in this generation of people who I work with.’”

He added, “There are a lot of great guitar players but not so much that we are in a band and write songs, and play the solo within a song, and got creative within the tone of a song, and I almost felt this responsibility to fucking carry that torch.”

“I told the guys, ‘I wanna go for blood on this album, in the sense of I want to make it fun, and I want to make it fun with the guitar, so that there are things within the rhythm playing. To bring joy into it, to bring passion into it, is what I have always done in the past, and it comes from that Edward Van Halen school, and Brian May and Jimmy Page.”

As the man behind the epic solo in the album’s lead single Rise, Bettencourt also shared how his approach to the guitar has changed over the last 15 years, saying “There is a bend in one of the first three notes I play where I missed the whole string. I missed the whole fucking string. And I hit the next three strings, and it made a sound like, ‘Braaaaang!’ I couldn’t tell you what note it is doing because it is not a note.”

“Fifteen years ago, I would have fixed that, like, ‘Let me redo that fucking note.’ But it hit something in me. I nailed it, meaning – woah! – it was sounding like a kick drum mixed with a couple of notes mixed with a car crash, and those are the things that touch people. What they are hearing and seeing is somebody who is saying, ‘Fuck it! Fire! Let’s fucking go!’”

The band’s new album, Six, arrives on 9 June via earMusic.

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