Nuno Bettencourt Recalls Time Eddie Van Halen Busted His Chops for Two Hand Tapping
One of the benefits of being an emerging musician is often finally having a chance to meet those who inspired you. Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt relayed his experience meeting his guitar idol Eddie Van Halen, recalling the nervousness of the situation and the fun that Van Halen had with him during that initial interaction.
Bettencourt set the scene with Guitar World, recalling, “The first time I met Eddie I was working on Dweezil Zappa’s album [1991’s Confessions], and he handed me his guitar and said, ‘You’ve gotta check out this pedal.’ And it’s like, ‘You want me to play while I check out this pedal?’”
He added, “So now Eddie is leaning in front of me, dialing in stuff on his pedalboard. And what do you do when the alien who walked off the spaceship that changed your life is in front of you? What do you play? Like an idiot, I kicked into the solo from [Extreme’s] 'Get the Funk Out.' I became a cover of myself."
Extreme, "Get the Funk Out"
“But the second I go into the tapping part, Eddie turns around and stops me. He goes, ‘Hey, hey, none of that silly stuff.’ That scared the shit out of me," said the guitarist. "It took me a minute and then I said to myself, ‘He knows who I am. He reads.’ Because at that time an article had just come out – it may have even been in Guitar World – and the interviewer asked about 'Get the Funk Out.'"
Bettencourt recalls, "[The interviewer said], 'You’re doing tapping your own way.’ And I told him, ‘To be honest with you, I feel silly when I do tapping. Not because it’s embarrassing, but because it’s so Eddie.’ Later on, after I got comfortable around Eddie, I asked him, ‘Did you read that article?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I read that.’ I was like, ‘Wow, Eddie Van Halen read an interview I did!’ Even that shit seemed impossible to me.”
As fans know, the ties between Extreme and Van Halen are plenty. Extreme released four studio albums between 1989-1995, with singer Gary Cherone jumping over from Extreme to front Van Halen in 1996 after the band split with Sammy Hagar. Cherone appeared on one album with the group, Van Halen III, in 1998.
During Extreme's hiatus, Bettencourt recorded with the groups Mourning Widows, Population 1 and Satellite Party as well as releasing solo music until Extreme returned in 2008 with Saudades de Rock.