In a new interview with American Musical Supply, EXTREME guitarist Nuno Bettencourt spoke about the making of the band’s new album, “Six”which came out on June 9 via earMUSIC. “Six” landed at position No. 10 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart with first-week sales of 12,500 copies. The set marked the band’s first studio album since 2008. The act was last in the Top 10 with “III Sides To Every Story”which debuted and peaked at No. 10 back in October 1992.
Nuno said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “The recording [of ‘Six’]a lot of people are saying like, ‘Man, [it took] 15 years,’ obviously, minus a few of the handmaid’s tale years, pandemic years. But the album itself probably, if you add it up, it took the same length as an album takes to record. It didn’t take 15 years to record the album. It’s just that we probably had, like, three albums’ worth of material. The guys kept coming out to L.A., and we would do a crop of songs, and we’d write another crop of songs or record another couple crop of songs. But I think I think we always had a kind of a bar that we set a bar that that is kind of simple — it’s just, like, you really have to be super proud and super excited to share your music with anybody, even if it’s your brother or it’s your family member or if it’s Tom Morello that you happen to know. Once you have that feeling of, ‘Would you play these songs in front of your peers?’, then you kind of know you got something there and you’re ready to go. So we really didn’t have that feeling, I think, until right around, I just wanna say, like, 2017 or ’18 when we started writing, working on a crop of songs like ‘Rise’.”
According to Nunohe and his EXTREME bandmates “probably had about, like, 30, 40, 50 tracks” to choose from for “Six”. “But the way, I think, we’ve always worked is we all have our favorites and we all have — we could have a favorite bass part or a solo or anything else, but I think the way we always end up choosing what ends up on the album is not what’s going on the album,” he explained. “If there’s three or four songs fighting for one position, which there usually are, and it’s usually by feel — if there’s a heavier track, there’s usually another two, three, four heavier tracks that are fighting for that slot. But the way I think we end up deciding the actual curation of the album is, it’s not what we want on there, it’s what can’t we take off, if that makes any sense. ‘Cause a lot of the stuff we’re fans of, and, ‘Ah, it’d be great to have this track or that track,’ but I think it’s the ones where we’re, like, ‘Okay, that really — the album itself kind of really needs it.’ So I think it’s definitely an album-orientated band in the sense of, like, we don’t sit there and write singles and think about, ‘Well, we need those three singles and we need four singles.’ We just say, like, ‘What’s the opener?'”
Two months ago, Nuno told Tiago Ribeirothat he was thrilled with how “Six” turned out. “I would put our album up against anybody’s album; I feel that confident,” Nuno said. “And I think the album itself — never mind me or EXTREME — if I heard that album and it wasn’t us, I would think the same way I think about the album now. I think it belongs there. I think it’s a well-made album. I think the songs are there. I think that the musicianship, the chemistry and the guitar playing. But I think, more importantly, what’s really there and what people are connecting with is the mythology of rock and roll. I think that’s really what’s missing a lot in guitar-driven music, is that…
“I think when people saw a guitar player that’s in a band with songs and arrangements and the videos and everything, it was almost like seeing something that… People are saying it’s so fresh, but for us, it’s, like, this is like going back for us,” he explained. “This is more of a reminder than it is anything else that you can still be passionate and have fire and do all those things. And the people are letting us know that they’re starved — they’re starved for rock and roll like this, I think.”
EXTREME‘s headlining “Thicker Than Blood” world tour stretches until December 16 and sees the band appear across the U.S., Australia, Japan and Europe, including special guests LIVING COLOUR (U.S., Australia and U.K. only) and THE LAST INTERNATIONALE (Europe only).
Photo credit: Jesse Lirola