Archive for March 4, 2009

extreme-self-titled-1989

Extreme – s/t (1989, A&M)

  1. Little Girls
  2. Wind Me Up
  3. Kid Ego
  4. Watching, Waiting
  5. Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today)
  6. Teacher’s Pet
  7. Big Boys Don’t Cry
  8. Smoke Signals
  9. Flesh ‘N’ Blood
  10. Rock A Bye Bye
  11. Play With Me

Band Lineup:
Gary Cherone – Lead Vocals
Nuno Bettencourt – Guitars & Vocals
Pat Badger – Bass
Paul Geary – Drums

Producers: Extreme & Mack

Total Time = 45:07

Country: USA

Extreme
Extreme MySpace page

Parking lot parties…..friends…..girls…..beers…..these are the things I remember most when I listen to Extreme’s first album. Back in ’89 when this album first came out, I was a junior in high school working part-time and hanging out at night. We all used to get together in shopping mall parking lots and hang out, have a good time and listen to music. Extreme started to get played on local Rock radio stations because they were from Boston, MA and considered a local band for all of us to the South in Rhode Island.

‘Kid Ego’ was the band’s first radio single but it was the anthemic ‘Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today)’ was our rallying cry for the Spring & Summer of 1989 amid the bottles of Schnapps and Budweiser. Back in the day we had the cassette so we could play it in the boombox so we only used to get through Side 1 (tracks 1-5). We’d drink the beers to the bluesy funky ‘Little Girls’ and hard rockin’ ‘Wind Me Up’ until we got to the footstomp of ‘Kid Ego’ that we all knew. The girls always wanted to hear the ballad ‘Watching, Waiting’, I think that was the ballad of the summer along with ‘Heaven’ by Warrant, and that was always the makeout tune. But the anthem was ‘Mutha’…..that was the song that everyone sang and jammed to, it was THE song of that summer and I remember we blasted that on the car deck as we made our way to our first day of our senior year!

‘Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today)’

After Side 1 we usually popped the tape out but back at home I would listen to the whole record. I dug ‘Teacher’s Pet’ because the band had some thick harmonies (one of Extreme’s trademarks) and some serious fretwork from Nuno. ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’ was cool even though the lyrics were a bit lame but ‘Smoke Signals’ had that bluesy side to Nuno that really matched well with Gary’s delivery. I remember back in the day (before his ill-fated tenure in Van Halen), we all used to think that Gary Cherone sounded kind of like Sammy Hagar at his AOR best with the moves of Paul Stanley! ‘Flesh ‘N’ Blood’ was too Hagar and too Poison for me so I usually skipped it and moved on to the piano, strings and harmonies of ballad #2 ‘Rock A Bye Bye’ (another bad title). ‘Watching, Waiting’ was the better of the two ballads but you just knew by hearing both that the band would eventually hit it big with something this speed…..and they did with ‘More Than Words’ on the next record EXTREME II: PORNOGRAFFITTI (1990). The closing song ‘Play With Me’ was featured in the movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and was the last single from the album and it featured some awesome guitar from Nuno making him an instant guitar god.

The only complaints I have with the album is that most of the songs have this childhood theme running through it, especially most of Side 2, and it was annoying back then because we weren’t little kids. Maybe that’s why we skipped Side 2 back in the day! The other beef is with the album cover, the guys were trying to to this “tough guy” glam thing and it wasn’t working. I know some of us looked like that but we all thought the look was awful!

Bottom Line:
This is a record packed with a lot of good memories and a lot of good music. Unfortunately it gets forgotten because the follow-up had all the big hit singles but back when this first came out it was one of the best albums out there and put the band as one of our favorite bands…..everyone liked Extreme. This album was more of the Hard Rock Extreme rather than the funkier version that would follow as their career continued and it showcased Nuno’s guitar and Gary’s vocals but the immeadiate hook was the harmonies, you just knew there was something special there. I play this album more than any other Extreme release to this day.

Favorite Songs:
‘Little Girls’, ‘Wind Me Up’, ‘Kid Ego’, ‘Mutha’, ‘Watching, Waiting’, Teacher’s Pet’

NOTE — There is a video for ‘Kid Ego’ and I was going to post it but the song is a re-worked version and sounds nothing like the version on the album. Not sure why they made a second version because the original is way better.