• Sat, Jul 20, 2024

Gary Cherone From Extreme Talks To Us About India, Industry, Streaming And More

features Oct 03, 04:32pm

The Boston rock legends are playing at Manipur's ShiRock 2019 festival to be held from 16-19th October at Bakshi Ground, Ukhrul Headquarters, Ukhrul  
 Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Since their formation in 1985, Extreme has been a monumental force in rock and a big part of its resurgence in the late 80s and early 90s. Presently featuring legends Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger and Kevin Figueiredo, the band has had some of the most classic lineups in rock over its mammoth 30+ year career. After two hiatuses and five studio albums, the band is visiting India for the first time, playing on the 19th of October at the ShiRock festival and closing out the 4-day event. Considering that this is their first time on these shores and Manipur's penchant for rock and classic bands, their performance will undoubtedly be one of the most unique events and experiences this year.

We had an interview with Gary Cherone (who is their lead vocalist, if you weren’t aware) about what he expects their experience to be, the long history of the band and much more.


1. India is a country where Western music has been big in some way, shape or form for a pretty long time. What expectations do you guys have coming here in 2019?

We are not sure what to expect but we are really excited as we heard there are some great hard rock fans in India. We hope to absorb as much of the culture as possible, eat some great food, meet some new friends but most importantly perform for the great people of India. I also want to mention that the mission of the ShiRock Festival is to bring awareness to the conservation of the state flower, the Shirui Lily, which is endangered. The festival is also promoting new talent so we are very excited to be a part of this effort. 



2. Your new album has been in the works for a few years now, and last reported, it was slated for a 2019 release. Are there any updates on this and are there plans to play this material on stage pre-release?

No release date yet. We are still finishing up the recording process. As the date is so close, and we have never played India before, it is unlikely we will play anything unreleased. 


3. The industry has changed quite a bit in today’s age of streaming numbers being more important than an artist’s relationship with real people. Since all of you have been around since things were more organic and real, what’s one thing you think is beneficial about this new way of doing things and one way it is ruining the music scene?

The culture of music has changed a lot. It’s more about consumption now and less about artist development. Artists are putting out more music than ever. The album cycle really doesn’t exist anymore. Extreme comes from the old school where we started in the clubs. We built our reputation on our live show. There was no internet back then to promote ourselves. It was all word of mouth. The only way to get our recorded music out to the world was through major labels as they controlled the distribution. Nowadays you can record a song in your bedroom on your laptop and upload it to a streaming service the same day. You don’t need a label. It has its benefits but it is also much harder to gain traction. 



4. A lot of fans often have unrealistic expectations of bands they like, expecting them to go on for decades at a stretch without taking breaks. You guys had a hiatus of sorts for about six years where you pursued other projects and generally did a variety of things. How important do you think that break was for your mentality, given that the band has now entered another strong period of its career?

Extreme relentlessly toured back in the day. We had very little down time. I think it is good to take a break and recharge. But in today’s culture, it’s getting harder for artists to take breaks because they constantly need to create a continuous flow of content. 


5. You guys have played an innumerable number of shows. Are there any locations of events that come to mind where things were really unusual? For example, you played on a cruise (the KISS one) a couple of years ago, how was that to do?

The Kiss cruise was great. You’re on a giant ship out in the middle of the ocean with Kiss and 4,000 fans! Extreme has also had the opportunity to play many countries that we didn’t get a chance to play back in the day. So to go now and see people singing our songs is a really humbling experience. 


6. It’s funny that in this online age, random things from years gone by pop up out of nowhere because people are using them in a completely different context. This results in a whole new group of very young people finding out about something their generation would never have seen otherwise. Have you all experienced this in any way (when Jimmy Fallon recreated the ‘More Than Words’ video, for example, which became huge online)?

Ha yes, the Jimmy Fallon/Jack Black version of More Than Words was pretty epic! It introduced a new generation of fans that were born after the MTV music video era to the song. Our song ‘Play With Me’ was featured on the video game Guitar Hero. This also introduced a new generation of kids to our music.  It always amazes me to see all the young kids on YouTube performing our songs. I guess they have cool parents! 


“We recently found out that Extreme was on the list of artists who had their masters destroyed in the fire but at this point we still don’t know exactly what, if anything, was destroyed. We are waiting to find out.”
- Gary Cherone, EXTREME



7. After 30 years of music and seven full-length albums, how is the songwriting process now? How did things go for this upcoming new album?

The process has always been the same for Extreme. There are never constraints. We never write for the sake of what is trending or what other artists from our genre are doing. It all comes from the heart. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes the music comes first. We inspire each other. It’s been like this since the beginning.




8. It was reported that you were one of the artists whose work was damaged or lost in the Universal Studios fire eleven years ago. Could you walk us through that whole ordeal? Were there any backups or any way you could salvage the tapes that were in that building? What were the repercussions of having such a storage arrangement for label-backed big name artists?

We recently found out that Extreme was on the list of artists who had their masters destroyed in the fire but at this point we still don’t know exactly what, if anything, was destroyed. We are waiting to find out. There were many iconic artists that were listed and it would be a huge loss to the world for not only their original masters but any unreleased music that will be gone forever. 

Extreme plays at ShiRock 2019 festival happening from 16th-19th October at Bakshi Ground, Ukhrul Headquarters, Ukhrul, Manipur.

Listen and watch the music video of "More Than Words" (one of their biggest hits from the past!).





Facebook twitter Google Plus Pinterest

Leave a comment

Recommended Stories

The Problem With NH7 Weekender Is Not The Lineup. It Is Us, The Fans

Everyone complaining about the artists (as if it’s their fault to begin with) needs to calm down and get with the times.

Aug 29, 2019