If you like monkeys, or gorillas, or anything extreme, you better hold on to your hat. On June 9th, 2023, Extreme released their sixth studio album, creatively named Six. And we got to hang out with the gorilla from the cover!
No really, we did. But we also got to talk to Nuno Bettencourt and Pat Badger from Extreme and ask them about everything from their songwriting process and gear preferences to their philosophy on tone and even how they keep the fire going after more than four decades of playing together. Needless to say, things got Extreme in this interview!
We always love talking to artists with careers that span multiple decades. They never cease to amaze us with their incredible insights that guide and inspire us as fellow musicians. And our interview with Extreme was no exception.
According to Nuno and Pat, the hardest part about writing Six was choosing which songs to put on the album. The band constantly writes new songs whenever they go on tour, so they had around 50 songs ready when it came time to cut the album. They had to weed down to the top 12 songs.
Nuno said they chose the songs not by which ones were their favorite or which ones “fit the mold” of what the fans expected. But rather they chose based on which songs couldn’t possibly be taken off. They were just too good!
And we have to say, they nailed it!
Being musicians, we also couldn’t resist asking them about their gear choices. Extreme band members notoriously don’t use a lot of gear. And when they find something they like, they don’t change. But who can blame them!?
Music philosopher Nuno Bettencourt says he believes the less interference between the fingers, strings, and amp head, the better! That’s the best way to keep the sound authentic to the artist. It’s all in the way you play, not necessarily the gear.
He told us a great story of how he got to play with Eddie Van Halen’s rig. Nuno was so excited to finally “sound like Eddie.” But when he finally stepped up, grabbed Eddie’s guitar with his DNA still on the strings and everything and hit a few notes, he was disappointed that he still sounded like himself.
Nuno and Pat also talked about their love of Shure mics and wireless equipment. The whole band loves Shure microphones, especially the iconic SM58. Pat also uses a Shure wireless system for his bass. According to him, it prevents embarrassing tangles when he and Nuno decide to walk around larger stages — and it sounds pretty good, too!
Finally, as the Extreme interview came to a close, we just couldn’t help but ask why all the song titles on Six were capitalized.
“When something needs to stick out, it’s always capitals,” responded Nuno. “It’s not Banshee. It’s BANSHEE, man!"
We had such a blast talking to Extreme’s Nuno and Pat. They have so much insight into being an artist, staying true to your style, and, of course, how to rock! Here’s to even more decades of Extreme and their next studio album entitled Van Halen 4 (just our humble suggestion…).
And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Extreme’s new album Six.