Nuno Bettencourt Says He Was Asked To ‘Destroy’ Some Of Rihanna’s Songs

In a recent interview with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio, Extereme’s Nuno Bettencourt reflected on his time as a member of Rihanna’s touring band. Before recalling how he landed his gig with the pop singer, the guitarist expressed admiration for her and said:

“I mean, look, it’s Rihanna, first of all. She’s a massive artist, and she’s super cool to hang with. The shows were ridiculous, the audiences. And it was amazing.”

Then, he claimed they asked him to make her sound more rock, even if that meant destroying some of her songs:

“When they first wanted me to do it, when she first wanted me and Tony Bruno to do it, I was, like, ‘Why? There’s no guitar on this stuff.’ But they said, ‘Well, that’s why we want you to do it and rock it out.’ And I said, ‘I get to be me, right? Fully? My same sound?’ And they go, ‘Yep.’ So that was really cool. It was really cool to destroy some of those songs. [Laughs]”

His words went on:

“But, honestly, to play songs as iconic, and songs like ‘Umbrella’ and things, and add big guitars to it and all that, that was really cool. It was pretty interesting.”

Another point of discussion in the chat was Bettencourt’s reunion with Rihanna at the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show in February. While appreciating the overall performance, which brought the two musicians together after ten years, the Extreme member expressed disappointment in the screen time the band got.

He explained:

“Unfortunately, the band didn’t get a lot of love on TV, but we did do the show, yeah… Look, it was a trip for many reasons. One was the halftime show is iconic, and to be a part of it and rehearse at the stadium and be a part of that history. And also, I’m a big football fan, so that was even iconic for me — just the fact that… the teams that were playing and being part of NFL and all that, it was a big bucket-list moment for me for sure.”

Everything aside, the guitarist has been positive about his time with the pop singer and her performances. For example, after telling how he joined her touring band in a 2014 interview with Guitar Interactive Magazine, Bettencourt said:

“Whatever people’s perceptions are of whatever Rihanna is; it’s definitely a different animal live — completely different. At first, even when I went to work with her, I was, like, ‘Can she really sing?’ A lot of times with the singers you hear now, there’s a lot of that Auto-Tune element, and you don’t know who can really sing. But when I went to rehearsal, I could not believe how well she sang, and I could not believe how well she sings live.”

A few months after the Super Bowl concert, Nuno Bettencourt released his new album, ‘SIX’ with Extreme, in June. He and the band have a tour to support the record, which will kick off in August.