The group has had a devoted local following in the Boston area ever since the late 80’s. They were signed to A&M Records in 1987 and released their self-titled debut album in March 1989. Extreme went on to release several noteworthy albums (Extreme II: Pornograffiti, III Sides To Every Story and Waiting For The Punchline) and gained national recognition as they toured behind these albums. In 1994, Geary left the band to pursue a career in artist management. He was replaced by Mike Mangini. Extreme disbanded in 1996 when Bettencourt decided to become a solo artist.
After the breakup, Cherone joined Van Halen. His vocals were featured on the band’s 1998 album Van Halen III. While the album reached #4 on the Billboard 200 album charts and sold half a million copies in the United States, it was not considered a success, when compared to the band’s previous efforts. After Van Halen’s second album with Cherone on lead vocals was rejected by Warner Brothers in 1999, he left the band and formed his own group called Tribe of Judas. Cherone’s new group released a full-length album entitled Exit Elvis and a four song sampler CD called Need I Say More.
During that time, Nuno Bettencourt was also very busy. He released his first solo record, Schizophonic, in 1997. He later formed a new group called Mourning Widows and recorded two albums with them (a self-titled debut in 1998 and Furnished Souls for Rent in 2000). Bettencourt later went on to record under the project name Population 1 from 2002 to 2004 and under the new name DramaGods in 2005. He also participated Perry Farrell’s side project Satellite Party in 2006 and 2007.
Extreme reunited for the first time in 2004, playing a few hometown shows and Japanese dates. The group recorded their fifth studio album, Sausades de Rock, which was released in August 2008. The band went on to tour with King’s X and Ratt over the next couple of years before taking another break in 2010. The group began demos for new material in 2015 and have continued to tour around the world ever since. They’ve also released a couple of live albums: 2010’s Take Us Alive and Pornograffiti Live 25/ Metal Meltdown in 2015.
They’ve had a loyal fan base ever since their inception. Even casual fans probably have a few Extreme songs on their music player or in their playlists. Here’s a countdown of the top 10 songs by Extreme:
# 10 – He-Man Woman Hater
The Extreme song “He-Man Woman Hater,” from the album Pornograffiti was released as a single in August 1990. A kind of modern day fairy tale at the time, it describes macho men that were commonly found in the music scene when the band was first evolving. A cult classic that devoted fans have grown to appreciate. It encapsulates an era that is no longer politically correct, but was still a part of life for both the band and their fans during their formative years.
# 9 – Play With Me
This popular song was Extreme’s first-ever radio single. It’s full of pop culture references, including many well-known children’s games, toys and songs. The 1989 track features a solid guitar riff by Bettencourt, intro riffs sampled from Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca” and backing vocals from the Lollipop Kids. The song was released to radio stations, but was never made available for sale on cassette or vinyl. It also appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It’s hard to find, but you may be able to track down the album or movie soundtrack online. It’s a quick song that brings back a lot of positive childhood memories for many fans.
# 8 – When I First Kissed You
This song from Pornografitti became one of Extreme’s best known love ballads. It gives the listener insight into a romantic weekend. The song became a favorite for couples, and has been one of their most requested songs. It’s not over the top and it has been overshadowed by other modern rock ballads. However, that’s not to say that this song isn’t important. If you take the time to read and understand the lyrics, you start to realize how much committed love and dedication to your romantic partner can matter.
# 7 – Decadence Dance
This glam metal track was the first single and first song from the album Pornograffiti. While the song wasn’t a hit in the United States, it did reach #36 in the United Kingdom’s Top 40 charts. It begins with a speech from the fictitious Parents for a Wholesome America’s representative Bill Baxter, who starts recommending things that children can do to have a wholesome and well-rounded childhood. Actor Alex Winter, best known for his role as Bill in the Bill and Ted movies, directed the music video for this song. It’s clear when you hear it that Extreme tried to emulate some of the more popular artists of the era in this song, but they still put their own unique flair on it.
# 6 – Suzi (Wants Her All Day What)
A tongue in cheek song that’s also a bit of a tongue twister for some. This is another classic from Pornograffiti that’s become a fan favorite. A fun little song about someone that most of us probably have known at some point in our lives. It’s something that commercial radio would probably never play, but you might hear it on satellite radio once or twice. A very relatable song that’s just fun to listen to.
# 5 – Mutha (Don’t Want To Go To School Today)
By now, most fans should be somewhat familiar with this song. One of the most popular Extreme songs was featured on Extreme’s debut album in 1989. It became a popular song for a new generation of rock and metal fans. The anti-establishment message was meant to take a realistic look at what was going on in society at the time. An amusing anthem for people who just want to go outside and play-and rock!
# 4 – Stop The World
The second single from Extreme’s third album III Sides To Every Story was also the first power ballad on this disc. It took a modern look at the hurry-up world and expressed a yearning to “stop the world where there is love.” We get so caught up in the trappings of everyday life and responsibilities that we sometimes need songs like this to get in our heads. A good reflective song that really makes listeners think and start to contemplate what’s really important.
# 3 – Hole Hearted
This fourth and final single off of Pornograffiti was also one of Extreme’s biggest hits. The Extreme song’s acoustic-based track is their second highest charting single ever. It reached the top 40 charts in the US, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Belgium and Ireland. A very catchy tune about that one true love that can heal whatever’s hurting us. The music video for the song was recorded outside the Boston Center for the Arts on Tremont Street, a local landmark that many natives will easily recognize.
# 2 – Rest In Peace.
The first single from III Sides To Every Story features the main riff of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” at the end of Nuno’s guitar solo. The song takes aim against those who trivialize peace. It was also a statement against involvement in foreign wars. Hearing the lyric “ban the bomb” in a child’s voice and listening to the song’s aggressive tempo gradually fade into a mild acoustic sing-along at the end are what many people remember fondly about this song.
# 1 – More Than Words.
This is by far Extreme’s most popular song of all time. The third single from Pornograffiti was a simple acoustic ballad featuring Cherone on lead vocals and Bettencourt on acoustic guitar and harmonies. The group has called the song both a “blessing and a curse,” but they’ve embraced its popularity and play it in every set that they perform. It’s a twist on the the modern love song, one that shows that the words “I love you” can’t just be thrown around. There have to be actions behind the words for them to be meaningful. A simple yet very important message that Extreme fans around the world have embraced for years.
Extreme still continues to be one of the most popular modern rock and metal bands. They don’t tour as often as they used to, but you can still find them headlining arenas, stadiums and cruise ships at different spots around the world. The original lineup is usually at most of their shows. Original drummer Paul Geary has remained with the band in a management capacity, and was replaced by Kevin Figueiredo behind the drum kit. However, Geary has been known to play a few songs with the band from time to time. Extreme have recognized by the New England faithful and other devoted fans for years for their incredible live shows and original songs with heartfelt lyrics that have been consistently requested for over twenty years.