Grammy Award-winning R&B artist Rihanna performed two songs — "Hard" and "Russian Roulette" — on "Saturday Night Live" this past Saturday (December 5) backed by a powerhouse eight-piece rock band, featuring EXTREME guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. The added oomph behind Rihanna led to an extra heavy metal version of "Hard", which featured Young Jeezy. Rihanna's army of guitars also enlivened "Russian Roulette" and "Hard" as the singer wore medieval chain mail fashionably around her head.
The unexpected combination of Rihanna and Bettencourt has in fact become what Nuno says "a great opportunity to blend our talents to create a high-energy experience."
Nuno is best known for his work in the multiplatinum rock band EXTREME, where they were nominated for a Grammy for their Billboard chart-topping hit "More Than Words". Nuno has worked on many projects including, multiple solo albums, film scores and has also worked with notable artists such as Janet Jackson, Perry Farrell, Robert Palmer and many others.
Rihanna's choice to have Nuno in her band is a great surprise, and Nuno assures that her live sound is really complimentary to his "style." When he heard the direction Rihanna wants to go in a live setting Nuno said, "Wow, this rocks! It's heavy and funky, and it hit me that this is 'my' thing, this is 'my' style…"
Once Nuno and Rihanna blended their talents and began the first round of rehearsals, Nuno stated, "It did not disappoint. Even better than what I expected because she also has the most incredible band, and I get the privilege to add to their wall of sound. It's gonna be fun. Come see and hear it for yourself!"
Nuno's new endeavor as lead guitarist for Rihanna has just been one of many significant events for him in 2009. The renowned guitarist recently wrapped up dates of the EXTREME reunion tour and just recently made a music video for the CBS hit comedy "How I Met Your Mother". In addition, Nuno celebrated his twenty-year anniversary as an endorser of Washburn Guitars with the debut of his signature N4XX and also released a signature Randall half stack, the NBKING100, both to critical acclaim.
It is clear Nuno has been one of the most influential rock guitarists of our time, and will continue to do what he does best, perform. As for the future of EXTREME, Nuno explains, "NO… this is NOT the end of EXTREME. We have a live DVD and CD coming out in early 2010 and we will be writing new material throughout the year. We had a great run across the globe on 'Saudades de Rock'... and we'll be back."