This Boston quartet comprised Gary Cherone (b. 26 July 1961, Malden,
Massachusetts, USA; vocals), Nuno Bettencourt (b. 20 September 1966, Azores, Portugal; guitar), Pat Badger (b. 22 July 1967, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; bass) and Paul Geary (b. 24 July 1961, Medford, Massachusetts, USA; drums). The origins of the band can be traced to local act the Dream, whose sole six-track EP in 1983 featured Cherone and Geary. As Extreme, the original line-up found themselves on television in 1985 via a video clip for "Mutha (Don't Wanna Go To School Today)", as part of an MTV competition, but it was the arrival of Bettencourt in 1986 and Badger the following year that boosted their career. A recording contract with A&M Records in 1988, it was quickly secured and the band made their 1989 debut with "Play With Me" for the soundtrack to Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure.
The inevitable self-titled debut album followed. Encompassing elements of pop, metal, funk and blues, their songwriting powers were still in their infancy at this stage and although competent, the album met with widespread critical indifference. Although 1990's Pornograffitti was a stunning second release, being an ambitious concept affair, subtitled "A Funked Up Fairy Tale". "Get The Funk Out" reached number 19 in the UK charts in June 1991, but the band had already broken through in America in March when the simple acoustic ballad "More Than Words" topped the charts. The song climbed to UK number 2 in July the same year. "Hole Hearted" was their only other US success, reaching number 4 later that year, although they would continue to achieve Top 20 singles in the UK until 1995.
The band's music was now characterized by Bettencourt's innovative guitar playing, intelligent lyrics and a diverse style that transcended a variety of musical genres. Their appearance at the Freddie Mercury memorial concert in May 1992, which interrupted sessions for III Sides To Every Story, gave them considerable exposure beyond the heavy metal fraternity. Prior to the band's appearance at the Donington Festival in the summer of 1994, Mike Mangini (ex-Annihilator) replaced Paul Geary on drums. After the disappointing critical and commercial reaction to 1995's Waiting For The Punchline, Bettencourt announced plans to release a solo album through Colorblind, the label he runs through A&M. The band formally broke up in October 1996, with Cherone moving on to become lead singer with Van Halen.
The following year, Extreme announced they were breaking up, as Bettencourt went on to launch a solo career — issuing the albums Schizophrenic in 1997, Mourning Widows in 1999, and Furnished Souls for Rent in 2000. Cherone went on to front Van Halen for a lone album, 1998's Van Halen III, which was slammed by both the critics and fans alike, resulting in poor sales and Cherone's eventual exit. 2000 saw the release of a 13-track Extreme best-of collection, An Accidental Collision of Atoms.
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