EXTREME's NUNO BETTENCOURT: Nobody Will Take EDDIE VAN HALEN's Throne
September 22, 2023
Nuno Bettencourt has once again dismissed suggestions that his is Eddie Van Halen's heir in the realm of rock guitar playing. Discussing the late guitar legend's legacy in a new interview with Tony González of Made In Metal, the EXTREME guitarist was asked to share his thoughts on being referred to as Van Halen's successor, to which he replied: "I think when somebody like Edward changes guitar that much, I don't think there will ever be anybody — not me, not anybody else — that is gonna take that throne. But for guys like me who were influenced by him, the best thing we can do is keep that torch alive, keep the guitar playing alive and hopefully keep passing it on to other generations as well. We definitely don't want guitar to go away in that way, and we want people to keep inspiring younger generations to play. So I'm hoping at the very least that's something I can do — on behalf of Eddie Van Halen."
Nuno went on to say that Eddie has been a huge influence on his playing. "I wouldn't be playing the same way, the way I play, if it wasn't for Edward Van Halen," he said. "I wouldn't be playing the way I'd be playing if it wasn't for Brian May or Jimmy Page or Randy Rhoads or Neal Schon or Elliot Easton from THE CARS. There's so many guitar players that make up a part of who you are. Steve Lukather, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen — all these guys are influences."
Bettencourt previously addressed comparisons between him and Van Halen this past June in an interview with Metal Edge. "I mean, I never asked for that," he said about being referred to as Van Halen's successor, "but listen, when [EXTREME's] 'Rise' [single and video] came out, I was getting some great responses on the solo and everything in general, and that felt really good. A lot of my peers and heroes, like Steve Lukather, Steve Vai and Brian May, sent me personal texts and e-mails after sharing the song, which was amazing. And then, I was starting to read everywhere that I was, like, 'the heir to the throne' that Edward left."
He continued: "I have to say that while that is gratifying, there is no heir to the throne of Eddie Van Halen. Nobody sits on that throne. Nobody takes that throne. Here's why it's different with Eddie: when a great guitar player passes, you just move on to another, right? But in this case, Eddie wasn't just a 'guitar player.' We're talking about a guy who changed culture and how we play guitar. He was like an alien coming in and fucking everything up so much that even the legends beforehand are like, 'Okay… what is happening here? What sorcery is this?'
"All I can say is that after seeing [Eddie] while I was working on 'Rise' and then hearing the news of his passing, I did feel a little bit of a responsibility," Nuno added. "It's not about me being 'the guy' or some great guitar player because there are lots of them, right? But I definitely felt that within my genre and my generation, I felt like that after Edward passed, I had at least a little bit of responsibility to set an example."
EXTREME recently announced the second U.S. leg of its "Thicker Than Blood" tour. Following an impressive run of sold-out shows and high fan demand, the group will be back on the road in 2024 for an additional 21 dates alongside special guests LIVING COLOUR. Kicking off in Englewood, New Jersey on January 24, the tour will see the band make stops across the country throughout the following month, all before joining the Monsters Of Rock cruise out of Miami, Florida from March 2 to March 7.
EXTREME's new album, "Six", came out on June 9 via earMUSIC. "Six" 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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