Nuno Bettencourt says fans are not starved for guitar playing but for “the mythology of rock ‘n’ roll”

“When’s the last time since 2000, maybe, that somebody has called you or you called somebody or guitar players are saying, ‘Have you heard this solo?’”

Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme

Image: Gonzales Photo / Alamy

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Nuno Bettencourt has given his opinion on what rock fans are missing these days, saying it’s not guitar playing that people are “starved for”.

Speaking to Ultimate Guitar, Bettencourt says that he’s been “humbled” by the attention and praise awarded to Extreme’s recent single Rise – and in particular, his lead guitar parts – given the sheer number of great players and bands out there these days.

“You always do the best you can on an album [and] on a solo. But I can’t tell you that I expected what I expected,” the guitar virtuoso admits. “It was kind of crazy. I mean, within the first 24 hours, 48 hours and the millions of views and the response and the reaction from fans – it was unreal. It was bizarre. Even like you said, people like Rick Beato, that are greats, calling it one of the greatest solos. Guitar World saying it’s the solo of the century and things like that. I’m humbled.”

“I mean, look, do I try to do a good solo on purpose? Of course,” he adds. “But you never know how people are going to respond. But a part of me also thinks that it’s not just a guitar solo. The guitar solo is decent, but I’ve been doing these solos for 30 years. [It’s] not very different, you know, same techniques, same styles.

“But I think the difference is like what you said, I think people are starved. They’re starved for not necessarily guitar playing, but they’re starved… We always see great guitar players these days. The majority of them are sitting in rooms like we are, chairs, playing guitar.”

“But I think what really got people excited, was that they weren’t only seeing a guitar player and a solo they liked, they were seeing a guitar solo in a song with arrangements and harmonies and a band and chemistry, a video where a band was passionate, and fire.”

Bettencourt explains that “what has been missing is not just the guitar playing, or not even the guitar playing. I think it’s mostly the mythology of rock ‘n’ roll. You know what I mean?”

“I think we’re missing that fun and the creativity and an album that you care about,” he continues. “From the first song to the last song, you can put your headphones on and take a journey like we used to be able to do. And I think it’s been a while since bands from my generation…

“You know, guitar players like Steve Lukather and Brian May and quite a lot of people were saying, ‘You know Nuno? We always knew you could play.’ But what’s different here is that, when’s the last time… Even if it wasn’t Extreme, say if it wasn’t me or wasn’t Extreme and this happened? The question was, when’s the last time since 2000, maybe, that somebody has called you or you called somebody or guitar players are saying, ‘Have you heard this solo?’ Or ‘Have you heard this guy?’ And that’s when it hit me.”

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, he’s right. It’s been a while.’ And I don’t mean that about me. I mean, just in general. And I think it’s exciting that maybe this excites younger guitar players and it excites other people to say, ‘Look, this creativity can still happen, this fire, this passion, this joy can still happen.”

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