Extreme was formed in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1985. The then line-up was composed by vocalist Gary Cherone with drummer Paul Geary, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and bassist Pat Badger. Cherone and Bettencourt started writing lyrics and music together and gave many performances in the Boston area. This is where the band acquired its first fans and rewards having won the "Outstanding Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Act" title at the Boston Music Awards in 1986 and 1987. After the band created some 55 songs, A&R director Bryan Huttenhower invited them to A&M Records in 1988. Soon their fist self-titled album appeared in 1989. Since the very first recording it had been seen that the band's art was strongly influenced by Queen and Van Halen on account of multi-part vocals, electric guitar tone and instrumental technique. The Extreme's first record did not have high sales, but raised enough funds to produce a second album.
Pornograffiti was recorded in 1990 under the guidance of Michael Wagner who had previously worked with Dokken and White Lion. This release revealed Bettencourt's outstanding guitar masterfulness and appeared a multi-genre composition of funk, pop and glam rock. It included two singles Decadence Dance and Get the Funk Out. Both peaked high positions in the UK charts. However, none of the two had success in the United States which predetermined the album’s failure to remain in the charts. A great breakthrough was made by Extreme thank to ballad More Than Words which invaded numerous popular charts and even became hit Number 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 in the USA. Another Extreme's big song was the next single Hole Hearted, Number 4 on the same popular music chart. The recording process for the third album started in 1992 and was interrupted by the Extreme's performance at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in April 1992, which contributed its popularity among metal headbangers. III Sides to Every Story overcame the predecessor in terms of music skills the musicians demonstrated, but the financial outcomes of this act left much to be desired. The lyrics of the new album touched upon some Christian issues, which was a result of Cherone's interest in evangelical activity and preaching. Before Extreme played at the Donington's Monsters of Rock festival in the summer of 1994, the Geary left the drum-kit to continue his career in the field of music management and was replaced by Michael Mangini (ex-Annihilator).
The following album Waiting for the Punchline, released on February 7, 1995, with the singles Hip Today, Unconditionally, and Cynical, was not as good as III Sides to Every Story. It was a more rock-oriented and heavier record. However, it did not draw much attention. Shortly after that followed the band's break-up in 1996. Afterwards, Gary Cherone participated in the activity of Van Halen and Tribe of Judah, but this cooperation was not lasting. In 2005 Gary released a four song sampler CD, entitled Need I Say More. Nuno Bettencourt recorded a solo album titled Schizophonic in 1996. His other two bands, Mourning Widows and Dramagods (aka Population 1) recorded two albums each. A 13-track Extreme best-of collection The Best of Extreme - An Accidental Collication of Atoms? was released in 1998. A re-packaged collection with a different tracklisting was also released in 2002 simply titled Extreme - The Collection. Extreme announced reunion for a short tour in 2004 in their hometown Boston as well as a few concerts in Japan and Azores. After a pause in 2005, the band returned in 2006 with the "classic" Pornograffiti line-up to do a small three-show reunion tour in New England. In 2007 the band revealed its plans about a world tour during summer 2008 with King's X. The new album, Saudades de Rock, was released in 2008. The rockers released their first live album titled Take Us Alive in 2010 and it got wonderful reviews from the experts. The record managed to preserve the incredible energy and atmosphere of Extreme’s show. No doubt that it definitely turned out to be a great present for all the group’s fans and all the lovers of live sound.