Tuesday, July 24, 2012

''GUITAR GODS: Nuno Bettencourt''

- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music
Date: Sunday, April 11 2004 @ 22:22:00 BST
Nuno Bettencourt is (so far) best known for his work with Extreme, who formed in 1985. By 1989 they had released their first album and Nuno Bettencourt was known & respected overnight in the guitar community. It was their second album, however, that launched Extreme, and Nuno, into center stage with top ten hits, MTV videos, and world tours. "Pornograffitti" (released 1990) featured "Decadence Dance", "Get the Funk Out", "Hole-Hearted" and the number 1 "More Than Words", and Nuno Bettencourt became a household name.
Extreme disbanded in 1996, but Nuno hasn't slowed down a bit. Not only has he fronted Mourning Widows and now his new band, Population-1, but he has continued behind the scenes as a writer and producer.

In all his projects, he has demonstrated himself to be not just a top-flight guitarist, but a song-writer of scope and sophistication. He has also displayed a great set of pipes, from backing vocals in Extreme to lead vocals in Population-1. The center piece for fans, however, is Nuno fantastic guitar playing. Mixing hard-edged rock, steamy blues, heavy funk, and smooth jazz flavors and pouring it out with passion and incredible digital dexterity, Nuno is a guitarist's guitarist...and he has the awards and accolades to prove it.

Armed now with a set-full of songs, a new album, and his new band (who is set to hit the road soon), Nuno is set to take the spotlight under the big tent again.

Keep track of Nuno at his web-site, and Population-1 at their web-site, and keep your dial tuned into Tinfoil Music for a CD review soon!

I had a chance to speak to Nuno recently - check it out!


1. What are your current projects?

My current project is my band, Population 1. We are currently writing, rehearsing and playing in Los Angeles. Also, I co-wrote Tantric's current single, "Hey Now;" doing various studio sessions, including Toni Braxton and a project for one of Wyclef Jean's artists.

2. How does this (do these) differ from your past work?

How do they differ? Hmmm, they don't, it's all about music.

3. Do you have one project that you are most proud of as a guitarist?

Wow, tough one! I'd have to say the early Extreme stuff, probably the more guitar oriented rock I've done in the past.

4. Can you give our readers a run-down of your basic gear (live and/or studio)?

Live I use 3 heads and 1 cabinet. A '69 Marshall cab, Hughes and Kettner head, a Marshall JMP for solos, a Marshall JCM for rhythm, a MXR phase 90, a couple of Rat pedals, and a bar of soap.

5. Who would you cite as early influences, and who are your favorite new players?

Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, Joe Perry/Aerosmith, Al DiMeola, Paco de Lucia were influential. Also, some of the tasty players include Elliot Easton/Cars, Neal Schon/Journey, and Pat Travers --he's a big influence.

Of the guys now, gee does guitar exist anymore? Seriously, the guy from Radiohead, Tom Morrelo/Audioslave & Rage Against The Machine, and Dean DiLeo/Stone Temple Pilots.

6. Can you give a few tips to aspiring players?

Basic math, as much as you put into it, is as much as you get out of it. You want to be a good player -- you practice!!!! Want to be a good songwriter -- you write a lot!!!

7. What are your future plans?

Reclaiming the planet.

8. Thanx for talking to us, Nuno!

Your welcome!

If you'd like to support my work...

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