Nuno Bettencourt Midnight Express
Nuno Duarte Gil Mendes Bettencourt (born September 20, 1966) is a Portuguese-American guitarist, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the Boston rock band Extreme. He has also recorded a solo album as well as having founded bands including Mourning Widows, Population 1, DramaGods, The Satellite Party (headed by Jane’s Addiction’s then-former frontman and Lollapalooza co-founder Perry Farrell). In 2007 he also reunited with Extreme to record new music and tour, with the band planning to release material sometime in 2017.
Bettencourt was born on September 20, 1966 in Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores, Portugal, to Ezequiel Mendes Bettencourt and wife Aureolina da Cunha Gil de Ávila. When he was four years old, his family, including brothers Luís and Roberto, moved to Hudson, Massachusetts. Bettencourt lived on Main Street in Hudson for twenty-one years. Initially, Bettencourt had little interest in music, preferring to spend his time playing hockey and football. His first instrument was the drums and he played them exclusively until his brother, Luís, started teaching him the guitar.
While Bettencourt was slow to adopt the instrument under his brother’s tutelage, his skills quickly developed when he began teaching himself, and he has mentioned in many interviews that he would skip many school days to practice upwards of seven hours a day. In his sophomore and junior years of high school, Bettencourt dropped out of sports so he could focus on playing guitar. He eventually dropped out of high school altogether, for the same reason.
As a guitarist, one of Bettencourt’s earliest influences was Eddie Van Halen. However, as he developed his craft as a guitarist and a songwriter, his influences expanded to embrace The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Queen (Brian May), Pat Travers, Paco de Lucía, Al Di Meola and Kayak.