Music / Extreme

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/extreme_330.jpg
Suzi sells seashells ...by the WHAT?
If you don't like, what you see here, get the funk out.
We won't try to, force feed you, get the funk out.
"Get The Funk Out"

Among the last wave of 80's/90's pop-metal "hair" bands, Boston-based Extreme stand out from the pack thanks to an eclectic musical sensibility owing as much to The Beatles as to Van Halen. Mostly classified as a Funk Metal band, Extreme nonetheless dabbled with several pop forms during their career, ranging from the pre-rock pop of Frank Sinatra to trendy mid-90's Post-Grunge, meshing it all into a series of loose Concept Albums. Through it all, they've maintained a strong technical reputation as musicians, particularly for the soloing of Portuguese-born guitar wizard Nuno Bettencourt.

Then again, some may only know them for those two acoustic hits. And many of them only know them for their first acoustic hit...

Lead singer Gary Cherone is also infamous for his disastrous stint as the third Van Halen singer.

Members

Current
  • Nuno Bettencourt - guitar
  • Gary Cherone - vocals
  • Patrick "Pat" Badger - bass
  • Kevin "kfigg" Figueiredo - drums

Former


Studio Albums

  • 1989 - Extreme
    • Attempting to hit the big time after touring the Boston area, Extreme recorded ten of their fifty-song library for a mostly undistinguished debut album. The album's sound doesn't stand out from the rest of the Poison-esque Hair Metal of the time, and 1989 did not need more hair metal, but some of the later signatures - Bettencourt's precise lead guitar, well-placed three-part harmonies, and a consistent album-wide lyrical theme (centered loosely around childhood) - make themselves known. Classically-inspired radio hit "Play With Me", a non-single from the Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure soundtrack added at the last minute, helped break Extreme out and point the way towards their later eclectic ways.
  • 1990 - Pornograffitti
    • The breakthrough multiplatinum-selling album brought along the funky and mellow signature tendencies of the band. Described as "A Funked Up Fairytale", the album had a signifigant concept-album vibe surrounding it. Backed up with "Lil' Jack Horn Section" and truly groundbreaking guitar work, Pornograffitti was an dynamically diverse bunch of electrifying funk metal songs such as "Get The Funk Out", "Decadence Dance" and "He-Man Woman Hater" sharing the spotlight with the acoustic mega-hits "More Than Words" and "Hole Hearted". There's even a Sinatraesque piano ballad, a mind-boggingly precise guitar solo and tongue-in-cheek rapping thrown in for good measure.
  • 1992 - III Sides To Every Story
    • A three-sided album (hence the title) where all three sides are stylistically distinct. Side one, Yours, focuses on the stadium rock the band is most associated with and features lyrics based on political issues such as the role of government, war, racism, and the media. The second side,Mine, is more personal lyrically and follows up on the pop style of "Hole Hearted" and "More Than Words". Starting from the light-hearted minor hit "Tragic Comic", the songs quickly grow darker, with the ballad "Our Father" addressing a runaway father (who may or may not be God) and expressing philosophical doubt. This sets the stage for the Progressive Rock-oriented final side, The Truth, a three-part suite heavy on biblical references which attempts to answer what the point of it all is.
  • 1994 - Waiting For The Punchline
    • A seemingly-final effort mostly In the Style of... Soundgarden, Waiting hews only very loosely to its narrative about a cynical atheist who finds religion. Mostly known for the somewhat more characteristic instrumental single "Midnight Express", a showcase for Bettencourt which still appears in the band's live set.
  • 2008 - Saudades de Rock
    • A reunion album whose title roughly translates as "Nostalgia for Rock" in Portuguese, Saudades lacks the unified lyrical themes of most of the band's work, instead emphasizing their Funk Metal style even on Pink Floyd tribute "Comfortably Dumb". "Take Us Alive" also provided the title for their subsequent tour.


Tropes

  • Album Title Drop: Pornograffitti and Waiting for the Punchline have their title tracks.
    • Having three sides to every story is also a recurring lyrical theme in "Cupid's Dead".
    • Saudades de Rock has "Peace (Saudade)".
  • Christian Rock: Subversion. Song lyrics are inspired by Christianity here and there, but nothing is in-your-face about beliefs.
  • Christmas Songs: The B-side "Christmas Time Again", though it doesn't exactly praise Christmas time.
  • Concept Album: Pornograffiti and III Sides to Every Story at least.
  • Country Music: "Hole Hearted" has a countryish acoustic orchestration and four-on-the-floor bass drum beat througout.
  • Cover Version: "Strutter", "Help!", "Love Of My Life", and One-Hit Wonder Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music".
  • Distinct One-And-A-Half Disc Album
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Gary Cherone's insistence on performing barefoot caused trouble for onetime opening act Alice in Chains, who didn't take well to being told what could and couldn't go on stage.
  • Dual Meaning Chorus: "Hole Hearted" can be interpreted as being a regular love song or about having a so-called "god-shaped hole".
  • Funk Metal: Most songs fit under this genre.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Used in "Cupid's Dead"
  • Genre-Busting: Now Funk Metal, now straight pop, now Progressive Rock, now pre-rock pop, now Yngwie Malmsteen-like classical guitar!
  • God Is Dead: The song "God Isn't Dead?" begs the question. It's left up to the listener, but the songs that follow seem to imply that He isn't.
  • Hair Metal: Extreme came in with the last wave of the trend and are usually lumped in, though their take on the pop-metal sound owes to plenty more than Van Halen.
  • Homage: The first comeback single, "Rock and Roll Man", to the late Brad Delp.
    • Also, the guitar solo of "Rest in Peace" contains a snippet of "Voodoo Child".
  • In the Style of...: Twice on Pornograffitti - "More Than Words" confused listeners with its Everly Brothers-inspired sound while "When I First Kissed You" is a lampshaded Frank Sinatra homage. "Ghost" from Saudades de Rock is likewise a Coldplay pastiche.
  • Intercourse with You: A few songs on the first album, but it's actually pretty vague about it. Subverted with the songs on "Pornograffitti", while sexual references are made, it's more of a lament on how sex obsessed society is
  • Last Note Hilarity: "Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?)" is left unresolved...or not...
    • The song "Flesh'N'Blood" ends with a belch.
  • Misogyny Song: "He-Man Woman Hater"
  • Money Song: "Money (In God We Trust)", with lines like "Money, my personal savior/Money, material lord", is a fairly sarcastic take.
  • Motor Mouth: The words in "Play With Me" fly by as fast as the riffs, and "Cupid's Dead" isn't the easiest song to keep up with either.
  • Not Christian Rock: They are masters of this. While not a Christian band, Gery Cherone is himself an outspoken Christian, and the lyrics the a lot of their songs are filled with bible refrences and Christian themes. Some songs, such as "Watching, Waiting", "Hole Hearted", "Am I Ever Gonna Change?" and "Rise and Shine" are pretty much straight up Christian.
  • Ominious Music Box Tune
  • Pop-Star Composer: Bettencourt did the soundtrack for Smart People, even bringing in Gary Cherone for one track.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Played for Laughs on "Get The Funk Out" while Pat Badger is playing his cool funk inspired bassline.
    "Hey Patrick! Not bad, for a pasty faced white boy!"
  • Progressive Rock: Especially on III Sides to Every Story. Nuno's guitar solos often have a neoclassical quality to them, as best seen in "Play With Me" on Extreme.
  • Rap Rock: "When I'm President" is a curious example. "Cupid's Dead" also contains a rap section towards the end.
  • Rearrange the Song: Extreme have released "Horn Mix" versions of "Hole Hearted" and "Cupid's Dead" as B-sides.
  • Shout-Out: "I read the news today, oh boy/About a tragic comedy", from "Cupid's Dead". Pat Badger also uses Paul McCartney's Höfner bass guitar in the "Tragic Comic" video. And then there's "Comfortably Dumb"
  • Take That: Todd in the Shadows really, really likes showing them when discussing doomed early 90s musicians, nearly to Running Gag levels.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Gary Cherone has Nuno Bettencourt harmonizing with him on many occasions. Nuno sings signifigant lines in the songs too.
    • Nuno and Pat Badger could be considered as one. Almost every Extreme song has them doing two-part distinct backing vocals.
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