Extreme is an American rock band, headed by frontmen Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt, that reached the height of their popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Among some of Extreme’s musical influences are Van Halen, Queen, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. The band played at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 and Cherone joined Van Halen in 1996. The band has described their music as “funky metal” in the early days, but it would evolve much more in the mid-1990s by blending classic rock influences with post-grunge and alternative rock.
They have released five studio albums, two EPs (in Japan) and two compilation albums since their formation. The band was one of the most successful rock acts of the early 1990s, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. Extreme achieved their greatest success with their 1990 album Pornograffitti, which peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200, and was certified gold in May 1991 and double platinum in October 1992. That album featured the acoustic ballad single “More Than Words”, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
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.
The band had accumulated several original songs by the time A&R director Bryan Huttenhower signed them to A&M Records (which was soon sold to PolyGram) in 1988. The band then recorded their self-titled debut album which was issued in 1989. The first single was “Kid Ego”, a song that Cherone would later admit made him cringe. The final track on the album, “Play With Me”, was used as the “mall chase” song in the film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
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