Nuno Bettencourt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nuno Bettencourt
Bettencourt performing in 2008
Bettencourt performing in 2008
Background information
Birth nameNuno Duarte Gil Mendes Bettencourt
Born (1966-09-20) September 20, 1966 (age 56)
Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores, Portugal
GenresGlam metal, hard rock, funk metal, heavy metal, alternative rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals, bass, keyboards, piano, organ, cello, drums
Years active1985–present
LabelsWarner Bros.

Nuno Duarte Gil Mendes Bettencourt (born September 20, 1966) is a Portuguese-American[1] guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer, and businessman. He became known as the lead guitarist of the Boston rock band Extreme. He has also recorded a solo album as well as having founded bands including Mourning Widows, Population 1, DramaGods, and The Satellite Party.[2]

Early life[edit]

Bettencourt was born on September 20, 1966 in Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores, Portugal,[3] 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. Initially, Bettencourt had little interest in music, wanting to become an actor and preferring to spend his time playing hockey and football. 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 (Brian May), Ronni Le Tekrø (TNT), Pat Travers, Paco de Lucía, Al Di Meola, and Kayak.



Unable to make a dent in the music world with his Boston-based hair metal act Sinful, Bettencourt rose to international prominence as a guitar player after he joined the Boston-area group Extreme in 1985. Signed to A&M Records shortly after Bettencourt joined the group, the band released its debut record, Extreme. He then provided rhythm guitar on the single version of Janet Jackson's "Black Cat," which became a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100.[4][5]

In 1990, Extreme released their most critically acclaimed album, Pornograffitti, which included the hits "More Than Words" and "Hole Hearted". Pornograffitti garnered admiration for Bettencourt from rock guitar enthusiasts. He was voted "Best New Talent" in a 1991 readers' poll by Guitar World magazine,[6][7] and that magazine later named him "Most Valuable Player" of 1991.[8] Queen gutarist Brian May has called Bettencourt's solo from the song Get The Funk Out "a landmark in rock history that I think should have its own little medal struck and awarded to Nuno Bettencourt and Extreme."[9]

The band followed up with III Sides to Every Story in 1992. Bettencourt composed and arranged the brass and string sections, and full orchestra for this album. In 1995, Extreme released the album Waiting for the Punchline, but the band broke up in 1996 when Bettencourt decided to pursue a solo career.[3] Shortly afterward, singer Gary Cherone became the lead singer of Van Halen.[3]

Extreme's hiatus / Other bands[edit]

In 1997, Bettencourt released his first solo effort, Schizophonic,[3] which he had been working on for five years. The album was well-received critically, but was not a commercial success.[3]

On December 16, 1997, Bettencourt's new band Mourning Widows (whose name was inspired by writing he had seen on a church wall in Portugal) released their self-titled debut album in Japan on Polydor Records. It sold 45,000 in the first month. The band featured his nephew Donovan Bettencourt on bass and New York drummer Jeff Consi. In 2000, Mourning Widow's follow-up, Furnished Souls for Rent originally released in Japan, and then in the U.S. Both Mourning Widows releases cultivated a strong following in Japan and New England.

Bettencourt formed the recording entity Population 1 and released the self-titled and self-produced 2002 release, Population 1, on Universal/Japan and YBM/Korea. In 2004, Population 1 released Sessions from Room Four. Due to legal issues, the band was renamed to Near Death Experience in 2005. The band was then renamed DramaGods. DramaGods released its first album in December 2005 as an import; it was made available as a digital download in 2006.

Bettencourt's playing has been featured at 2004 on the Universal/Japan CD and DVD release of Guitar Wars featuring solo and collective performances of Bettencourt with many others, including Steve Hackett (Genesis, GTR), Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and Mr. Big/Racer X guitarist Paul Gilbert.

Bettencourt was the lead guitarist for Satellite Party, which is a band formed by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. Bettencourt played with the band at the 2005 Lollapalooza festival. Bettencourt helped produce Ultra Payloaded, the debut album by Satellite Party released on May 29, 2007 on Columbia Records. In late July 2007, Bettencourt departed Satellite Party due to concerns about the direction of the band's live show.

Extreme reunion[edit]

In 2007, Extreme reformed with its original lineup (with the exception of Paul Geary) to begin work on a new album, Saudades de Rock. The album was released on August 12, 2008.[10]

In 2008, Bettencourt was featured on the soundtrack for the motion picture Smart People. The soundtrack also features the Gary Cherone track, "Need I Say More", and Baby Animals selections. The following year, Bettencourt was featured in a song and video called "Best Night Ever"[11] by Marshall Eriksen, a character on How I Met Your Mother. The video was a parody of Extreme's "More Than Words" video, in which the entire main cast of How I Met Your Mother made appearances.

Additional works[edit]

In 1991, Bettencourt produced Dweezil Zappa's release on Barking Pumpkin Records, Confessions. On this record Bettencourt also sings lead vocals for the first time, on a semi-ballad entitled "The Kiss". Extreme members Gary Cherone and Pat Badger also contributed.

In 1993, Bettencourt co-wrote and produced "Where Are You Going" for the Super Mario Bros. movie. He also joined Robert Palmer in the studio to record Palmer's album Honey. According to former Journey lead singer Steve Perry, Bettencourt has teamed with him to write and arrange songs.[citation needed] He also has written and recorded with Tantric (Bettencourt co-wrote Tantric's hit single "Hey Now"), BB Mak, and Toni Braxton.

Bettencourt has also collaborated with singer Suze DeMarchi and with all of her Baby Animals bandmates. On Baby Animals' second release, Shaved and Dangerous, he produced a few songs and co-wrote "Because I Can". He also contributed to the writing, recording, and production of DeMarchi's solo debut from 1999, Telelove. In 1999, Bettencourt produced the album Magnolia, for the Portuguese singer and actress Lúcia Moniz. He also featured as singer and guitarist in the song "Try Again", which was included in Magnolia.

In 2006, Bettencourt and his band DramaGods contributed their song "S'OK" to the album project Artists for Charity—Guitarists 4 the Kids, produced by Slang Productions to assist World Vision Canada in helping children in need.[12]

In November 2009, Bettencourt toured with singer Rihanna on her Last Girl on Earth Tour as lead guitarist, having appeared alongside her in several TV shows and other performances. He has since performed as Rihanna's lead guitarist on every subsequent tour, including her Loud (2010), 777 (2012) and Diamonds World (2013) tours.

In July 2011, Steel Panther reported to Loud magazine that Nuno would be "coming in to do something" on their then-upcoming release Balls Out.[13] The collaboration resulted in the track "It Won't Suck Itself", which also featured Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger.[14]

In April 2022, Bettencourt joined Julian Lennon on an acoustic cover of Julian's father John Lennon's hit "Imagine" to benefit Global Citizen's Stand Up For Ukraine.[15]

On February 12, 2023 Bettencourt re-united with Rihanna in the Super Bowl LVII halftime show performance in Glendale, Arizona.

Artistry and equipment[edit]

Atlantis Entertainment[edit]

In 2016, Bettencourt founded media production company Atlantis Entertainment (of which he is CEO) with Rene Rigal and Steven Schuurman.

Personal life[edit]

Bettencourt married Suze DeMarchi in 1994. They have two children together, Bebe Bettencourt born in 1996 and Lorenzo Aureolino Bettencourt in 2002. The couple divorced in 2013.[16][17]


with Extreme

with Nuno

with Mourning Widows

with Population 1

with DramaGods

with Satellite Party

with Generation Axe

  • The Guitars That Destroyed the World: Live in China (2019)

Solo career

as a Guest musician


  1. ^ Kathy McCabe (May 15, 2021). "Meet Baby Animals singer Suze DeMarchi's daughter BeBe Bettencourt". The Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ "Nuno Bettencourt | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 55. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  4. ^ "The Nuno Bettencourt Network". Rate Your Music.
  5. ^ "NUNO FACTS and INFO". Nuno Page. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  6. ^ "Guitar World 1991 Readers' Poll". Guitar World. 12 (4): 41. April 1991. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  7. ^ "Guitar World April 1991". PDFCoffee. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "The Year of Guitar: Nuno Bettencourt, M.V.P.". Guitar World. 13 (1). January 1992.
  9. ^ "Brian May about Extreme's "Get The Funk Out"". Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  10. ^ "EXTREME Is Working On 17 Songs For Next Studio Album, Says NUNO BETTENCOURT". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. September 11, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "Best Night Ever". Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  12. ^ "Slang Productions – Guitarists 4 the Kids". Slang Productions. September 11, 2006. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  13. ^ "Steel Panther: More Metal than Manowar". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Nickelback's Chad Kroeger Guests on New Steel Panther Album". October 26, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  15. ^ "Julian Lennon Performs 'IMAGINE' for Global Citizen's Stand Up For Ukraine w/Nuno Bettencourt". April 8, 2022. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  16. ^ "Baby Animals". Archived from the original on November 24, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "Not the end: DeMarchi rocks up with the band". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  18. ^ UCR staff (March 1, 2023). "Extreme Announces New Album, 'Six'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  19. ^ "T.M. Stevens – Africans in the Snow (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  20. ^ Silva, Steve (June 25, 2007). "Music from the Mound". The Boston Globe.

External links[edit]