EXTREME guitarist Nuno Bettencourt says Prince called him one of the best guitarists in the world
Nuno recently sat down with SiriusXM‘s Hair Nation where the guitarist discussed his playing in front of late iconic musical artist Prince for the first time.
Discussing his meeting with Prince, Bettencourt recalled: “I was doing this thing in L.A. where there was a tribute to EARTH, WIND & FIRE, out of all things. And Steve Lukather was doing it and a bunch of guitar players, and it was a bunch of just sick musicians. And EARTH, WIND & FIRE were there, and it was at a theater. And I’m doing ‘Higher Ground’, I think. And I’m waiting for my name to be called out to be introduced.
“I’m backstage. I come out and I do it. And, of course, the second they say my name, I look in the aisle and walking down the aisle, coming into the building is Prince. And I’m standing right there. He sits down front row. And I’m, like, ‘Fucking great. Isn’t this great? Prince has probably never seen me play before.
“Now I’m gonna be doing this.’ And I noticed that he was sitting next to somebody that I know is a producer, and his girlfriend is an amazing singer called Nikka Costa. If you never heard, go find Nikka Costa‘s album. ‘Everybody got that something’ — you probably heard that track; that’s her. [She’s an] insane singer. So all of a sudden he’s sitting next to one of my best mates and Nikka, who’s, like, is at my house [the next day], I think, because our kids play together, like with my wife.
“So all of a sudden I’m playing and I start playing. I can’t help but sweat that Prince is in the front row and I’m trying like all my best to be as cool as fuck and have him like me. And then, all of a sudden, he leans over to Nikka and he says something. And he goes back, and I’m, like, ‘Oh my God. He just told her how much I suck. He told her I’m not playing it right. He told her whatever.'”
Nuno continued: “Ironically enough, she was at my house the next day — the next day — and I come back from the studio and her and my daughter, I think, are sitting there and they’re just looking at me. And I just walk by and I’m like, ‘What?’ And [she’s] like, ‘You don’t wanna know what Prince said to me about you?’ And I’m, like, ‘No, I don’t.’ And I went into the kitchen. I walked away. I come back 30 seconds later. I’m, like, ‘All right, what did he say? What did he say?’ And she’s, like, ‘Well, you sure you wanna know?’ I’m, like, ‘All right. Fuck this.’
“And she said, ‘He said, ‘Right there I think that’s one of the top three guitar players in the world.’ “And by the way, I’ve never told that story to anybody until today. I’m probably only saying it because he passed away and you can’t deny it that he said it. But my point being, I took that with me as, like, ‘Wow, he’s listening. He listens. A hero of yours.'”
Nuno Bettencourt also touched on a meeting with Eddie Van Halen where the late guitarist relayed to him that he was planning to bring Michael Anthony back into VAN HALEN for a farewell tour.
Apparently Nuno Bettencourt met Eddie Van Halen back in 2019, during the recording sessions for the EXTREME single “Rise“.
“He’s playing us some of Wolf’s new stuff, which we all know now was coming out,” recalled Nuno. “And he was like a proud papa saying that, like he played all the instruments and he did that and everything else.
“And then he said something really cool, he was like, ‘Hey, just between us, I’m like, I wanna let you know, like Van Halen‘s coming back and we’re gonna go out the way we came with Michael. We’re planning a run, and we’re gonna go out the way we came in like a farewell tour, but like, do it old school.’
“And I’m like, ‘Amazing. Overdue, way overdue.’ He was even saying, like, ‘You know Wolf, he’s the one who’s like, he’s reaching out to Michael.’ It was like a really cool thing, right?”
EXTREME will bring the music of their new album “Six” to audiences across the globe on the “Thicker Than Blood” tour. The trek will see the band visit North America from August 2 to August 29 and Australia from September 6 to September 13, where they will be joined by special guests LIVING COLOUR. EXTREME will also continue to bring the “Thicker Than Blood” tour to audiences in Japan from September 17 to September 26.
EXTREME is Gary Cherone (vocals), Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger (bass) and Kevin Figueiredo (drums).