Rock Today

Rock Today


Extreme - Thicker Than Blood UK Tour 2023

Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt

Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt

Thicker Than Blood

2023 was the year that saw US rockers Extreme release their latest album Six, a mere 15 years after their last album Saudades De Rock. A trio of singles created a massive anticipation for the record: Rise, #Rebel, and Banshee, and these incredible tracks bring power, creativity, impact and an overall clear sense of how boundaries can still be pushed around what it’s possible to achieve with a guitar. But Six isn’t just about technical guitar wizardry - it’s a wholly multi-dimensional rock experience. As well as the aforementioned hard rocking tracks we’re presented with a variety of styles. The reggae flavours of Beautiful Girls actually make you feel like you’re on holiday. There is the industrial, Muse-esque epic that is X Out. There are also the sedate, acoustic driven tracks in Small Town Beautiful and Here’s To The Losers. So there is an enormous amount of versatility here but the constant thread – the elements that are classic Extreme – are here in abundance: the gorgeous vocal harmonies, the ability to make every note count and the ability to connect with the listener so powerfully on an emotional level. The perfect example of this is the single Other Side Of The Rainbow. The impact this song has is quite simply otherworldly. In Six, Extreme have created a record which is exquisite, exceptional, a joy and a gift. It’s therefore no surprise that the demand for live shows has been immense. Overall this has resulted in Extreme’s Thicker Than Blood world tour being one of the most successful tours of 2023, with the band delivering absolutely outstanding performances. It’s hugely satisfying to see that their set lists included many songs from Six, medley performances of their biggest hits and also solo acoustic spots. We catch up with vocalist Gary Cherone, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, bass player Pat Badger and drummer Kev Figaro as the band reach their Manchester stop of their UK tour. With snow beginning to sweep the country, the Boston quartet are unfazed by the extremely cold weather, their residency in the Commonwealth Of Massachusetts clearly having prepared them well. In the glowing warmth of the Manchester Academy our conversation begins… 

Extreme’s new album, Six, was released this year, your first for 15 years, though you have of course been consistently touring during this time. What does it mean to be on this tour and having the opportunity to play these incredible new songs?

Gary – It’s great! It puts a lot of energy into the show and we play quite a few.

Pat – It’s a lot of fun, man, because we were playing the same old tired set for too many years. It got tired until the new songs came in and they were like a breath of fresh air.

It may have been 15 years between albums but you have been writing throughout that period. At what point did you know that this was the right time to release a new album?

Gary – Covid.

Nuno – It was the songs. The songs really decide. When we were writing we had a lot of songs and we were excited (about these ones).

Gary - We had a bunch of songs but these were the right ones for the right time.

Nuno – We were excited.

The album six isn’t just about great guitar and uplifting songs. There are some really heartfelt and emotionally complex moments too. The track hurricane is about loss and the accompanying video is something particularly powerful. Was this perhaps one of the hardest songs to write on the album?

Gary - It was difficult because of the theme, obviously, but it’s bittersweet to sing actually because it conjured up a lot of emotions within all of us.

Pat – Well those guys wrote it (Gary & Nuno) but I connected with it, especially when we made the video because you know, we’ve all lost people - mothers, siblings – so it was a pretty powerful video shoot. We all got emotional and it showed it in the video. None of that was fake tears.

Kev - I lost my dad in 2021 with ALS. It touches my heart – deeply.

Take a moment to understand what the band were experiencing by immersing yourself in the video to Hurricane, and enjoy Nuno’s performance of the classic track Play With Me from the Manchester show below.

Gary Cherone

Gary Cherone

Rock Today
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