EXTREME's NUNO BETTENCOURT Isn't Worried About Artificial Intelligence In Music: 'Bring It On', He Says

May 20, 2024

In a new interview with Spain's Metal Journal, EXTREME guitarist Nuno Bettencourt weighed in on a debate about people using an AI (artificial intelligence) music generator as a tool to create melodies, harmonies and rhymes based on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and machine learning (ML) models. Nuno said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Everybody's worried and everybody's scared, and how it's gonna change anything. I love it, man. You know why I love it? I'm, like, bring it on. Do more of it. Because what that does, the people who do that and use it and think they can emulate emotion, the bigger, to me, rock and roll is gonna get. Because rock and roll, if you notice — look at all the technology that's happened since the 1930s, everything from telephones to television, to cell phones, to computers to synthesize everything else, what has changed in the guitar? Nothing. Zero. What has changed in a drum set? Nothing. What has changed in a bass guitar? Nothing. A microphone.

"Rock and roll, to me, is, is always there because it's broken," he explained. "It's not artificial. It's not perfect. It's all the imperfections, is what makes us shine. It's the danger of it. A.I. can do all you want — to write lyrics, to write song, to do whatever, even record, to do whatever — but it's always gonna sound sterilized, even when they try… Because even if they tried to sound like, let's say, I don't know, LED ZEPPELINLED ZEPPELIN didn't even sound like LED ZEPPELIN every night. Sometimes they were great, sometimes they were sloppy, sometimes it was amazing, and that's the danger, and that's the thing of rock and roll that you will never be able to capture with A.I. I don't give a fuck how much they're gonna try.

"You could see just with the [latest] EXTREME album [2023's 'Six'] — fuck EXTREME; it didn't even matter that it was EXTREME — you could see with just doing an album, people were just thanking us, 'Thank you for a rock album,' 'Thank you just for some rock and roll.' That's how starved and famine that we have. So, to me, the more sterilized pop music, which it's always kind of been already for the last 10, 20 years anyways, it's been very sterilized and very Auto-Tuned and very all that, the bigger rock and roll is gonna be.

"Sometimes I feel like Keanu Reeves in 'The Matrix'," Nuno added. "Rock and roll will always outdo any technology or anything that anybody throws at it, because, you know why? Getting in front of an audience will never — A.I. will never be able to step on stage and replicate what we do at any given second or moment, what we say, the sweat, the love, the passion, the audience. That relationship is untouchable by A.I. Period."

In April, EXTREME announced the addition of 15 new dates for a month-long September run of the band's global "Thicker Than Blood" tour. After wrapping several highly anticipated, sold-out shows for their spring 2024 dates, EXTREME will once again hit the road with special guests LIVING COLOUR to bring the show to even more stops across the U.S. and Canada. Dates kick off on September 4 in Billings, Montana and will keep the band on tour for the duration of the month, before wrapping on September 28 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.

"Six" came out in June 2023 via earMUSIC. The LP landed at position No. 10 on Billboard's Top Album Sales chart with first-week sales of 12,500 copies. The set marked the band's first studio album since 2008. The act was last in the Top 10 with "III Sides To Every Story", which debuted and peaked at No. 10 back in October 1992.

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