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Extreme – III Sides To Every Story

We all had an Extreme phase, didn’t we? Remember Hole Hearted and More Than Words and Get The Funk Out? If not, it’s OK. I remember well enough for you. Go back to sleep.

This record takes me back to high school, when I got it on tape (I’m dating myself here by admitting these things). I bought it based on my appreciation of Pornografitti. And I played it constantly, telling everyone I knew about it. I lent it to a friend and, when he finally gave it back, he was a convert. I went to see a Bryan Adams concert, and Extreme was one of the opening acts (along with Sass Jordan and the Steve Miller Band… a weird line-up, I know), and they simply blew the others off the stage in terms of sheer energy.

I recently snagged a copy of this record on CD, a decision stemming purely from these earlier memories of the band’s work. And, truthfully, it has stood well against the test of time. I am not surprised, either.

Sure, this record is full of bombast and anti-war sentiment, but it was released at a time when such things were probably not so out of place. In fact, listening to it again now, it’s not so out of place in this day and age. But that’s the thing with rhetoric… it can always find a way to be relevant. Either that, or the past decade and a half really has just been a shitty, war-ridden governmental cock-up…

All of this would be harder to take on a lesser album, meaning that if the music sucked I probably wouldn’t have listened as closely as I did. It should be noted here that I find when I listen to records, one instrument grabs my interest most. A voice here, drums there, bass on another. And with Extreme, my ear always gravitates towards the guitar first.

So let it be said here in no uncertain terms that Nuno Bettencourt is an incredible guitar player. Damn. This album displays it yet again. The riffs are catchy and punishing, and the solos will tear off a layer of skin, if you stand too close to them.

Since Extreme is no more, I looked him up online, thinking that if he wasn’t still playing it’d be a terrible waste of talent, but Wikipedia says he’s been busy with other stuff, and he’s now in Perry Farrel’s new band, Satellite Party. All’s well. Better, anyway, than Gary Cherone’s misadventure with Van Halen. But that’s just my opinion.

Yada yada. Look, this is a cool, ambitious rock record if you’re in the mood for guitar-driven, groovy rock songs (and who isn’t?). You might ignore the lyrics, but that’s OK. Give it a spin. You won’t be disappointed.

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