NUNO BETTENCOURT Says PRINCE Once Called Him 'One Of The Top Three Guitar Players In The World'
April 27, 2023
Nuno Bettencourt of EXTREME recently chatted with SiriusXM host Tommy London on SiriusXM's Hair Nation. During their conversation, Nuno discussed his method for recording at home studios, and the monumental day when Eddie Van Halen showed up while recording EXTREME's new song "Rise". He also remembered playing in front of Prince for the first time live, and hearing that Prince called him one of the "top three guitarists in the world." Regarding his encounter with the Purple One, 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.'"
Bettencourt rose to rock superstardom as lead guitarist of the legendary rock band EXTREME. He has parlayed that success into an acclaimed career as a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum artist, songwriter, and producer, working alongside industry titans such as Sir Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Kanye West, Robert Palmer, Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Perry Farrell, among others. Nuno is also the CEO and co-founder of Atlantis Entertainment, a full-service media and production company which creates and produces content through ventures integrating film and television, music, branded entertainment, commercials and digital content.
One of many career highlights for Nuno occurred when EXTREME performed, along with members of QUEEN, at Wembley Stadium at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 1992. Nuno was also invited to perform at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize concert with Steven Tyler in 2014 as well as the 2015 Grammy Awards, side by side with Sir Paul McCartney, Rihanna and Kanye West, performing the No. 1 Billboard R&B/hip-hop song "FourFiveSeconds". As a producer and songwriter, Nuno has produced and performed on hit songs with such greats as Rihanna, Robert Palmer, Perry Ferrell and Janet Jackson, as well as producing a number of emerging pop artists and albums.
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