Extreme640 Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt recently spoke with Guitar Interactive. Blabbermouth has transcribed a portion of the interview where Bettencourt discussed his gig with Rihanna. However, you can listen to Nuno’s entire interview at the bottom of column.

When asked about how he acquired the job as Rihanna’s guitarist and whether he sees himself doing that for a long time to come, Nuno responded: “I’m hoping I don’t have to do it anymore. Not towards Rihanna, of course, but it’s really time consuming.

I’ve never done another gig where I was kind of, like… not my own, actually, really. And I’d been asked through the years to do stuff, even with not just necessarily pop artists but with other rock bands, and I’ve always declined.

“We had just finished an Extreme tour and a friend of mine, who is a musical director, Tony Bruno, he hit me up. He goes, ‘I know I’ve asked you ten times already, but I know you’re in L.A., we’re in L.A. Ri saw some of your videos. Would you consider doing…?’ He just said ‘three months’ of this promo. And I was, like, you know what?! I’m in my forties, I’ve been sticking to my guns for so long and not doing anything else. ‘Cause at first I said, ‘No. Why would I wanna do it? There’s really no guitar in that stuff.’ And he said, ‘Well, that’s the thing. She wants it to be a lot heavier live.’ And I’m, like, ‘So I get to do what I do.’ And he goes, ‘Completely. Your rig…’ [And I said], ‘I get to ruin every one of her songs?’ And he was, like, ‘Yeah.’ So I thought that would be fun.”

He continued: “It’s interesting. Anybody who’s come to see that show, even from the perspective of journalists or magazines, whether it be in Germany or in the States, they come and interview me, but they don’t plan on staying for the show. And I always say, ‘Just stay. Just stay for a couple of songs.’ Then they stay for the night and then they always end up sending me a text or an e-mail message apologizing, [saying that] they didn’t know that there was that much musicianship going on. The drummer’s from Stevie Wonder. It’s, like, it’s a real band, and nothing’s on playback. We take the songs and we really play them; they’re nothing like [they are on] the album.

When people ask me, ‘Why would you do something that you can do with your eyes closed?’ And it’s a difficult gig. The hats that you have to wear, feel-wise… You go from a basic pop song like Umbrella to to reggae song to a club track to even, like, a punk song and R&B stuff. So the amount of different textures and feels, and to have to play along with these incredible musicians who hear everything, it’s definitely not a punch-in-the-clock-type situation for me. Live, it keeps you busy. It’s one thing doing your own thing, it’s your own shit… It sounds crazy, but it’s really challenging. It really is.”

He added: “Whatever people’s perceptions are of whatever Rihanna is, it’s definitely a different animal live — completely different. At first, even when I went to work with her, I was, like, ‘Can she really sing?’ A lot of times with the singers you hear now, there’s a lot of that Auto-Tune element and you don’t know who can really sing. But when I went to rehearsal, I could not believe how well she sang, and I could not believe how well she sings live.

It was really messed up, because nothing is on track except for some bells and whistles sounds, and explosions — just sound-effects stuff — but every review was saying her vocals were on track, and none of it is. But it’s incredible. I was actually going, ‘Wow!’ There’s actually great background singers that they get purposely to somewhat sound like her vibe, and it was amazing. And it actually made me realize, even when you can do it, and you can sing, and she is, they’re still telling her that she can’t do it.”

Extreme will be releasing a special 25th anniversary deluxe edition of their Extreme II: Pornograffitti album on January 20th. The band will also be embarking on a special Pornograffitti Live – 25th Anniversary Tour with a series of concerts in the new year where they will play the entire album front to back. To read more about this release and check band tour dates, please click here.

additioanal source: blabbermouth.net

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  • Mr. Rock And Roll on

    Can’t wait to see Extreme January 16th in Connecticut!

  • Michael B on

    Just stop doing it if you aren’t interested? Is he saying he’s forced to do it, for financial reasons?

    I will say that playing guitar in an R&B band, in general, is much more challenging than rock. You don’t have massive volumes and a wall of distortion to hide behind. You really have to be on your toes and be very versatile.

    • Joe Burkel on

      Congrats. Very happy for you. He’s obviously doing it for the money. Everyone needs an income. To say “R&B is more challenging than rock” is ignorant and self serving. There are several examples of complicated rock or complicated R&B.

      ANNNND, if you would have ever actually listened to Nuno’s playing you’d now that he incorporates funk into his guitar playing.

      Besides all of that, it isn’t how “complicated as song is”, it playing to the song.

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