Extreme Reunite To Deliver Pleasure


July 30, 2008

Jed Gottlieb of the Boston Herald reports that Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone knows what he sings: “Star, you’re a star/Be careful what you’re wishing for/All your dreams coming true.”

Cherone and his fellow Extremists – guitar whiz Nuno Bettencourt, bassist Pat Badger and new drummer Kevin Figueiredo – are holed up in Godsmack’s Tewksbury rehearsal space knocking the kinks out of “Star” and a dozen other tracks off their new album, “Saudades de Rock.” They’re also relearning the songs that made them stars when the band began 20 years ago.

“We’re back together after 13 years because of new music, so we’ll be playing a lot of it,” said Cherone of the band’s first tour in more than a decade, which stops Thursday at Bank of America Pavilion. “But not too much new music. You gotta be smart about it. Meaning, we will be playing ‘More Than Words.’ “

Born in the Boston suburbs in 1985, Extreme tried to strike a balance between radio-ready hard rock (think Aerosmith and Van Halen) and eccentric, artier sounds (The Who, Queen). Over 10 years, the band produced four albums too dynamic for the meat-and-mascara Poison kids and too straight-ahead for the prog crowd.

Oh, and one uncharacteristic make-out mega-ballad that ended up defining the band.

Unable to follow “More Than Words” with another hit, the band called it quits a few albums later.

Cherone was tapped for the doomed-to-fail job of becoming Van Halen’s third lead singer. Bettencourt headed to Los Angeles and cycled through a series of projects – most recently Perry Farrell’s dead-on-arrival Satellite Party.

But the band would rather talk about the present than rehash the past. For them, today is all about “Saudades de Rock.”

‘It’s our most natural-sounding record,” Badger said. “We wanted it to have that classic Zeppelin, Beatles, old Aerosmith feel.”

“Not to compare ourselves to those bands,” said Cherone, jumping in quickly with a wry smile. “But we aspire, we aspire. Every band says this with every record, but I’m going to say it anyway. This is the best record we’ve ever done.”

Then it’s time for Bettencourt to smile and jump in: “This is the best Extreme album (new member) Kevin’s ever done.”

But with MTV no longer playing music, and rock radio on its deathbed, “Saudades de Rock” isn’t likely to win Extreme many new fans. Which is OK with the guys – as long as their old fans get behind them again.

Listening to band members rehearse the new stuff – a hard-and-heavy “Comfortable Dumb” and breakneck chicken pickin’ jam “Take Us Alive” – next to a stunningly rockin’ medley from their first album, their loyal fans are likely to remain loyal.

“We’re a live band and we always have been,” Bettencourt said. “We’ll do fine out there on the road.”

Courtesy of news.bostonherald.com