EXTREME celebrated the 25th anniversary of their landmark album Extreme II – Pornograffitti by touring the world and now releasing Pornograffitti Live 25 on DVD/Blu-ray/CD. Produced by the award-winning company Rock Fuel Media in association with Loud & Proud Records as part of their four-part Metal Meltdown DVD series, the concert film and album captures the Boston band (Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger, and Kevin Figueiredo) performing the album Pornograffitti in its entirety.
When you listen it is like no time has passed whatsoever, and the band is in top form throughout, musically and vocally. I had a chance to catch up with Pat by phone recently, and he told me all about the tour, his solo work, and life outside of music. So pull up a chair and join us:
Pat: Right on man, thank you so much.
Amps: I often compare EXTREME to QUEEN because no two EXTREME albums sound the same, just like with QUEEN. In fact, all your records are polar opposites from one another, but they are all undeniably EXTREME. Was that conscious, or did it just happen that way?
Pat: I think it just happened that way. But that’s a really flattering comparison, so thank you. QUEEN is obviously one of our favorites and biggest influences. But I think when you look back at some of the bands we grew up listening to a lot of them were like that, you know? THE BEATLES, LED ZEPPELIN…there were different styles on many albums. For us it wasn’t a conscious decision, it’s just something that happened. The way we were recording, the way we were writing all came into play there.
Amps: In addition to the hits I’ve always been a fan of the songs that weren’t singles on your albums. The debut album “Watching, Waiting” was my favorite, Waiting For the Punchline “Shadowboxing” was a favorite, and III Sides to Every Story, “Don’t Leave Me Alone” was my runaway track. Pornograffitti, I was all over “When I First Kissed You”!
Pat: Wow, that’s cool, you like the deep cuts!
Amps: When Pornograffitti was done did you know you had a monster record on your hands?
Pat: You know, I think it had moments where we felt like we were coming into our own for sure. We had elements of the first album, but definitely took it to the next level on that record. So, who knows? At the time the record company was really behind us, and pushing for the album to be big. We obviously had big expectations, big video budgets, a big recording budget, and were working with one of the hottest producers of the time, Michael Wagener, who’s still a good friend to this day. There was a lot we had going for us, but I don’t think we knew…obviously “More Than Words” was the big hit that sent it into the stratosphere. I don’t know that any of us even expected THAT kind of success, that we’d have a #1 hit off the album, that was a bit of a surprise (laughs).
Amps: I remember when someone loaned me the record not long after it came out and I heard “More Than Words”, and I thought right away, “If this winds up being a single it is going to EXPLODE!”
Pat: Well, we had kind of an early indication that it was gonna be big, or at least one of the hits on the record. There was a time before the first album came out where we were playing some of the songs off Pornograffitti live. So the guys had already written “More Than Words” and were playing it live, and people were reacting to it. We hadn’t even recorded it yet and people were singing along. It was definitely something special that was striking a nerve with people, that tune.
Amps: By the way, I had no idea till I saw you live the first time in ’93 that it was YOU who sang the “Extra, extra” part on “Cupid’s Dead.” I never knew you had that kind of a voice on you!
Pat: Oh thanks, man. You know, we all sing our parts and I think our harmonies are a big part of the band. I always took the high parts, Nuno took the lower ones, and Gary takes the ones in the middle. The tone of our voices, we just have a certain chemistry that works for us. All of us are singers and all of us have done solo projects as well, so there’s stuff floating around of all of us singing.
Amps: Solo projects? Go on…
Pat: In 2014 I recorded my first solo album BADGER – Time Will Tell and I recently finished a CD under the name NASTY ASS HONEY BADGERS called Take What We Want and it’s an EP (You can purchase both HERE) Gary sings on a track called “Evil Queen” and Justin Hawkins (THE DARKNESS) sings on “Gallows Hill”. He plays guitar on this record, too. I’m so psyched about this! They’re the real deal, and Justin’s a friend of mine. We got to know him on the Saudades de Rock tour. His band HOT LEGS opened and I become friends with him. When I asked him to guest on my new thing he jumped right in, he’s such an amazing talent. You can go to my website and you’ll read and hear all about it.
Amps: I think the fact that you all can still sing so well, and are all in such great shape is a testament to your dedication to your craft. Those harmonies are just amazing and super-tight on this live disc.
Pat: Thank you for saying so. I think when we look back at old videos of ourselves we think there’s a bit of over-the-top running around and little immature things in our performance. We’ve matured a bit since then. But with technology today, and having In-Ear monitors you can have a personalized mix and hear yourself better than you ever did back in the old days with the traditional stage monitors. I think that’s helped us all vocally. And I think long-term for a tour you don’t have to strain trying to hear yourself over the instruments.
Amps: What has been the most fun part of these Pornograffitti Live 25 shows?
Pat: I’d say doing the tour was a lot of fun. It was challenging and fun at the same time because we were playing songs we hadn’t done for years like “Song For Love” or “Li’l Jack Horny” or some of these deeper album cuts. It was a lot of fun to dust those of and share them with our crowd and have that feeling. People really responded to it, and it was a fantastic tour.
Amps: Is there any one moment, one venue, one city, one song, one thing that has stood out among everything else in your career?
Pat: The one that people always ask us about and comment about is the Freddie Mercury Concert For Life. That goes down as one of the pinnacles of the band’s career and one of the most memorable days of my life. That was an amazing day and I’ll never forget that as long as I live.
Amps: I actually still have my VHS tape of that. I recorded it off of FOX when it aired in 1992. You guys totally stole the show! I have no VCR, but I’ll never get rid of that tape!
Pat: (Laughs) That’s awesome. That’s really nice to hear. It’s amazing that after all these years people still talk about it, watch it on YouTube, or recognize it. We definitely felt like it was a special moment for us and it translated and the crowd was with us every step of the way so again, every minute of that day is permanently ingrained in my brain.
Amps: What’s your bass and amp setup now?
Pat: I’m an endorser of Gallien-Krueger, that’s my main rig. They’re 810 cabs and then the heads are solid state but they have a little tube in them for tone. I have a couple of pedals. Billy Sheehan hooked me up with one of his signature pedals. I’ve been using Mouradian basses. Some dear friends of mine who have a repair shop here in Boston, the basses are hand made custom for me.
Amps: Looking ahead, what’s next for EXTREME?
Pat: Well, it is all a bit up in the air. We’ve written a bunch of songs and we’re waiting to record them. We live on different coasts. Nuno’s out in L.A. and we’re still in Boston, so things have changed since the early days. We don’t really have a rehearsal room that we jam in every week, so we have to book time to get together and work on shit.
And obviously everyone has different lives, families, and kids, things we didn’t have back in the day. Hopefully we’ll be working on something in 2017. We’re also looking into more live dates and opportunities, so hopefully with or without a record we’ll be out playing again. And new music will come out when it comes out, you know?
Amps: Away from music what do you like to do to relax and unwind?
Pat: I still have my farm, which is a nice peaceful place to come to get away from the craziness of flying around the world, bullet trains, and meeting people. It’s such a polar opposite kind of experience just to be back and relax on my farm. I also have a boat so I like to spend time on the water. We live right near the ocean so I’m out on the boat all summer, and in the winter I like skiing. We have mountains up in new Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, so I head up there with the skis in the winter.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the fans of EXTREME and your solo work out there?
Pat: Thanks again for all the years of support. Our fans usually are very die-hard fans, and it’s nice to have these great people for so many years behind us. It means a lot to the band.
Pat Badger, ladies and gentlemen. Bassist extraordinaire, singer, songwriter, farmer, boater, and skier. You have to wonder…is there anything he CAN’T do?? Be sure to check the links above so you can hear his cool solo work and go to Pat’s website for all the latest news. And dammit, make sure you go and grab EXTREME Pornograffitti Live 25/Metal Meltdown on DVD/Blu-ray/CD…NOW!!