Nuno Bettencourt Thinks Neil Peart Can’t Play AC/DC Like Phil Rudd

Nuno Bettencourt Thinks Neil Peart Can’t Play AC/DC Like Phil Rudd | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via Rick Beato 2 / Youtube

In a conversation brimming with insightful takes on music, Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt tackled an often misunderstood power of simplicity within rock music. Speaking on New York’s Q1043, Bettencourt explored the evolving nature of seemingly straightforward rock songs, revealing the artistry hidden beneath the surface.

His discussion took an intriguing turn when he addressed the question of drum styles, specifically mentioning legendary figures like Neil Peart and Phil Rudd. Could the technically-renowned Peart truly capture the essence of AC/DC’s music like the groove-master Rudd?

Bettencourt argues that rock’s simplicity is not a lack of depth, but rather a different kind of complexity. He delves into the nuances of “making it pump like that, making it feel like that,” referring to the distinct groove that underlies AC/DC’s driving sound.

This seemingly basic element demands a mastery of feel and pocket that transcends technical prowess. So, can the technically dazzling Peart replicate the magic of AC/DC drums? Bettencourt’s surprising perspective delves deeper into the art of rock music, where simplicity reveals hidden layers of brilliance.

“Neil Peart could probably not play that pocket like Phil Rudd does”

The guitar maestro recently shed light on the dynamic nature of rock music, highlighting how each listen can unveil hidden depths. Using AC/DC as his canvas, he masterfully painted a picture of how simplicity and strategic use of space can pack a powerful punch.

Bettencourt emphasized the role of space in crafting impact, especially within the vastness of an arena. He described AC/DC’s music as breathing within these spacious gaps, drawing power from both the sound and the silence. “They’re in an arena, the spaces are massive,” he explained, “it’s the power within the spaces and the power within that the pump of it all.”

He then ventured into a surprising comparison, drawing a distinct line between drumming styles. While acknowledging the legendary Neil Peart’s technical prowess, Bettencourt asserted that Peart couldn’t replicate the specific “pocket” achieved by AC/DC’s drummer, Phil Rudd.

This bold statement hinted at a deeper truth: technical mastery wasn’t the sole ingredient in creating magic. This seemingly simple contrast between styles opens a fascinating door.

Nuno sets the record straight

Nuno, ever the thoughtful musician, took a moment to clarify his earlier statement about drumming styles. He emphasized that his words weren’t meant as a slight on the legendary Rush drummer, but rather an observation on the distinct demands of different musical genres.

“I always get into trouble when I say these things,” he chuckled, acknowledging the potential for misinterpretation. “Like what I said about Slash playing Rihanna stuff, people think I’m saying that Slash couldn’t play what I played with Rihanna. No.”

He reiterated his point, making it crystal clear: People think I’m saying right now that Neil couldn’t play an AC/DC song. No. That’s not what I’m saying.”

So, what’s the key takeaway? Bettencourt’s comments aren’t a competition of technical prowess, but rather a spotlight on the diverse skillsets musicians possess. Each genre demands its own unique approach, and appreciating these differences allows us to celebrate the multifaceted brilliance of music itself. 

The nuances of feeling and personality

Of course, the meticulous Nuno wasn’t satisfied with a simple clarification. He pressed on, elaborating on his point with an insightful analogy. “What I’m saying is if you ask the two artists or even ask a Slash or you ask a Neil Peart about a simpler player…” he shared.

“I can play an Angus Young solo – I can learn it verbatim. But do you think I can make it feel like that? And make it as raunchy as his personality? Not in my f*cking lifetime,” Bettencourt elucidated.

This powerful statement transcends technical ability. Bettencourt isn’t suggesting limitations in Peart or Slash’s skills. Instead, he highlights the crucial role of individuality and personal expression in music. Each artist brings their unique soul and life experiences to their playing, creating an irreplaceable fingerprint that transcends technical mastery.

So, what makes Angus Young’s solo truly “his”? It’s not just the notes, but the fire, the swagger, the essence of his being poured into every bend and scream. The same goes for any musician, regardless of genre or technical complexity. True mastery lies not just in replicating notes, but in channeling one’s unique spirit into the music, creating something that resonates on a deeply personal level.

Nuno owns to his mistake and apologizes to Slash

Remember the Rihanna debacle? In a 2023 Planet Rock interview, Nuno Bettencourt ignited a public firestorm by suggesting Slash couldn’t handle a specific Rihanna song. This sparked disagreements, most notably with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus.

Thankfully, Bettencourt owned his mistake, taking to Instagram in July 2023 to offer a heartfelt apology. The guitarist said:

“Bottom line is, this is on me. I need to keep my f*cking mouth shut. I got asked a question about Rihanna, and my answer was ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I’ll take full responsibility for it… I tried to make a point, but it kind of backfired on me. I do a lot of press, and every once in a while, you say stupid sh*t…”

But the story doesn’t end there. This recent AC/DC-Neil Peart comparison, while not directly aimed at anyone, carries the weight of the previous incident. Fans and critics alike might connect the dots, raising questions about consistency and potential biases. Will Bettencourt’s past influence the reception of his current views on musical styles and skillsets?