Nuno Bettencourt recalls refusing to have Eddie Van Halen listen to his unfinished solo for Extreme’s “Rise”

Photo by Joe Schaeffer Photography

Nuno Bettencourt recalls refusing to have Eddie Van Halen listen to his unfinished solo for Extreme’s “Rise”

Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt was recently interviewed by Andrew Daly for Metal Edge Mag. Bettencourt was promoting Extreme‘s new studio album Six, which will be released on June 9, 2023.

Daly noted that Extreme‘s first single “Rise” from Six has received a lot of attention and asked how it came together to which Bettencourt stated: “When I’m working on a song, I don’t put things together in advance. The way it works for me is that everything is organic. But “Rise” was special as it was one of the songs that sparked this album or made it obvious that there was potential for an album to get done. So, what made it special was it excited me. But beyond that, it was honestly written just like any other song. I wish there were an exotic story or something incredibly inspirational, but there’s not. I’ve never actually sat down to write a song in my entire life where it’s like, “Well, it’s ten o’clock, and within the next hour, I’m gonna sit down and write a hit song,” you know? I’ve never worked that way. It’s always the case of me picking up the guitar just because I feel like riffing, and I’ll end up latching onto something, and you kind of latch on to something.”

In terms of what happened with “Rise”, Bettencourt indicated: “Well, with “Rise,” I was collaborating with a friend of mine, and a great guitar player, Jordan Ferreira, a writer on the song. Jordon had some great ideas; on guitar, I had this melody, and Gary [Cherone] put the lyrics together. So, “Rise” grew organically from my work with a friend and a peer.”

Bettencourt added: “But the solo is always the same… the solo takes time because I usually always record everything on my own. I don’t like assistants or engineers around because they distract me. When I’m working, I want to black out and go into a hole where I can just be in my zone. Actually, now that I think about it… there is an interesting story that goes along with the “Rise” solo… So, on the day I was working on the solo, Gary was in town to finish some vocals. Now, Gary knows that I don’t like to be bothered while I’m recording, but for some reason, he kept blowing up my phone and asking me to go to lunch, which really pissed me off. And then he texted me, “Hey, what’s happening in there? You’ve got to come out front; somebody is here to say ‘Hi.'”

So, I’m like, “Okay…” and I went downstairs, and as I walked out, I saw that Edward Van Halen was waiting for me. They’d already gone to lunch together, and that’s why Gary had been trying to get a hold of me… which was a good reason to interrupt. But like I said, I was cutting the “Rise” solo and almost finished it. So, when I got downstairs, Edward asked me to go up and listen to what I was working on. Well, me being the Virgo and the idiot that I am, I was like, “Go wait ’til it’s done. I’ll show you then.” And Edward said, “Absolutely, I’ll come back then.” But we never saw him again for obvious reasons. He sadly passed away not too long after that. So, I’m hoping that he’s smiling down on me. But “Rise” is special because that’s the song I was cutting the last time I saw him.”

You can read the rest of the interview with Nuno Bettencourt via Metal Edge Mag‘s website.

Extreme‘s “Rise” video: