“Extreme Nuno”‏

More than words
Is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
‘Cause I’d already know

“I think I’m a music fan before anything else”. Nuno Bettencourt

Nuno Duarte Gil Mendes Bettencourt (born September 20, 1966) is a Portuguese American guitarist, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his role as the lead guitarist of the Boston rock band Extreme whose hits include the acoustic ballads “More Than Words” and “Hole Hearted”.

“I never record anything like a demo, I just go for it”. Nuno Bettencourt

He has since recorded a solo project called Schizophonic as well as with bands he founded including Mourning Widows, Population 1, DramaGods, The Satellite Party (headed by Jane’s Addiction’s then-former frontman and Lollapalooza co-founder Perry Farrell), and then reunited with Extreme to record new music and tour.

“As much as you put into it is as much as you get out of it”. Nuno Bettencourt

Bettencourt was born on September 20, 1966 in Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores, Portugal, to Ezequiel Mendes Bettencourt and wife Aureolina da Cunha Gil de Ávila.

When he was four years old, his family, including brothers Luís and Roberto, moved to Hudson, Massachusetts. Bettencourt lived on Main Street in Hudson for twenty-one years.

Initially, he had little interest in music, preferring to spend his time playing hockey and soccer. His first instrument was the drums and he played them exclusively until his brother, Luís, started teaching him the guitar.

While Bettencourt was slow to adopt the instrument under his brother’s tutelage, his skills quickly developed when he began teaching himself, and he has mentioned in many interviews that he would skip many school days to practice upwards of seven hours a day. In his sophomore and junior years of high school, Bettencourt dropped out of sports so he could focus on playing guitar. He eventually dropped out of high school altogether, for the same reason.

As a guitarist, one of Bettencourt’s earliest influences was Eddie Van Halen. However, as he developed his craft as a guitarist and a songwriter, his influences expanded to embrace The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Queen, Pat Travers, Paco de Lucía, Al Di Meola and Kayak.

Extreme was formed in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1985. Vocalist Gary Cherone and drummer Paul Geary were in a band called “The Dream” (“Extreme” is a derivation of Cherone and Geary’s former band “The Dream”, meaning “Ex-Dream”).

Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt was in a band called “Sinful”, and bassist Pat Badger was playing with a Berklee-based act called “In The Pink”. Following an altercation between the rival groups over communal dressing rooms, the four decided to form a new band together.

Cherone and Bettencourt began writing songs together and the band played numerous shows in the Boston area. They gradually developed a strong local following, and were named “Outstanding Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Act” at the Boston Music Awards in 1986 and 1987.

“A band is like a marriage – you don’t know why it works, but when it does, everything feels right”. Nuno Bettencourt

Sales of Extreme’s first record were sufficient to support a second release.

Michael Wagener, who had previously worked with Dokken and White Lion, was hired to produce the band’s Extreme II: Pornograffitti album in 1990.

The record, which showcased Bettencourt’s guitar-playing, was a mixture of funk, pop and Glam metal sounds. “Decadence Dance” and “Get the Funk Out” were released as singles.

“Even with Extreme, I don’t think you have a choice but to sort of have somewhat of an influence of the times”. Nuno Bettencourt

“There’s two facets to writing a song. There’s you sitting in your room writing the sentiments of the song; the lyrics, the melody and the changes, and then there’s the part where you go into the studio and you put clothing on it”. Nuno Bettencourt

“I am affected by what is around. I don’t think many people would admit that”. Nuno Bettencourt

More Than Words


“More Than Words” is a ballad written and originally performed by the rock band Extreme. It is built around acoustic guitar work by Nuno Bettencourt and the vocals of Gary Cherone (with harmony vocals from Bettencourt). Released in 1990 on the album Extreme II: Pornograffiti, the song marked a departure from the funk metal that had permeated the band’s style previous to its release.

Saying “I love you”
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew how easy
It would be to show me how you feel

More than words
Is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
‘Cause I’d already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real

What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn’t make things new
Just by saying “I love you”

More than words

Now but I’ve tried to talk to you
And make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands
And touch me
Hold me close, don’t ever let me go

More than words
Is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
‘Cause I’d already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real

What would you say if I took those words away
When you couldn’t make things new
Just by saying “I love you”

More than words
More than words
More than words
More than words
More than words

The song was described by Bettencourt as a song warning that the phrase “I love you” was becoming meaningless:

“People use it so easily and so lightly that they think you can say that and fix everything, or you can say that and everything’s OK. Sometimes you have to do more and you have to show it—there’s other ways to say ‘I love you.’ Nuno Bettencourt

Extreme discography:
Extreme (1989)
Pornograffitti (1990)
III Sides to Every Story (1992)

Waiting for the Punchline (1995)
Saudades de Rock (2008)

Since 1990, Bettencourt has had his own line of custom guitars designed by Washburn Guitars. His line is known as the N-Series, and is currently promoting the Washburn N4

“I definitely get affected by new stuff. There’s a lot of older influences, but there’s also newer stuff too”. Nuno Bettencourt

Decadence Dance

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