's music was never easy to classify, since it rarely confined itself to heavy metal, hard rock, or pop. The Massachusetts-based band formed in 1985; guitarist
. The two bands eventually merged, and
atop the Billboard charts, if only for a short period.
Coupling the technical proficiency of Bettencourt
's guitar with a funky rhythmic base, the band issued a self-titled debut album in 1989. It peaked at number 80 -- a modest showing for a new, unseasoned band -- and the song "Play with Me" was used to orchestrate the chase scene during Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Extreme
had begun to earn respect in the heavy metal world, but it wasn't until the arrival of the band's follow-up effort, Pornograffitti
(particularly the the Everly Brothers
-style acoustic ballad "More Than Words"), that a mainstream audience latched onto the group's sound. "More Than Words" became a number one hit, while its follow-up single, an acoustic-based pop/rocker named "Hole Hearted," hit number four. Extreme
were now one of the most popular acts in the pop-metal genre, but the looming arrival of grunge music -- not to mention the band's own shifting tastes -- combined to make Extreme
's reign relatively short-lived.
The band's third album, III Sides to Every Story
, was an ambitious effort whose sales (while strong at first) couldn't match those of Pornograffitti
left the lineup soon after, seeking a career in music business instead, and a revised version of the band (featuring the percussion of Mike Mangini
, formerly of Annihilator
) returned in 1995 with Waiting for the Punchline
. It, too, suffered from a lack of sales. Accordingly, Extreme
's bandmates announced their breakup the following year. Bettencourt
went on to launch a solo career and issued the Schizophonic
album in 1997; he then released two additional albums with his band Mourning Widows
. Meanwhile, Cherone
enjoyed a brief stint as the vocalist for Van Halen
. His one album with the band, 1998's Van Halen III
, was slammed by critics and fans alike, resulting in poor sales and Cherone
's speedy exit.
A 13-track best-of collection named An Accidental Collision of Atoms
's legacy alive in 2000, and the band quietly reunited in 2004 for a small series of shows. The reunion gigs continued into 2008, when a new album, Saudades de Rock
, marked the group's first batch of new material in 13 years.