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Gary Cherone
Gary Cherone-Extreme-2.jpg
Extreme - Live in Birmingham 2008
Background information
Birth name Gary Francis Caine Cherone
Born (1961-07-26) July 26, 1961 (age 53)
Malden, Massachusetts
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock, funk metal
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1975–present
Labels A&M
Associated acts Extreme
Van Halen
Tribe of Judah
Website http://www.cherone.com

Gary Francis Caine Cherone (/ʃəˈrn/ shə-ROHN; born July 26, 1961) is an American rock singer and songwriter. He is best known for his work as the lead vocalist of the Boston rock group Extreme, as well as his short stint as the lead vocalist for Van Halen on their 11th album Van Halen III and subsequent tour. In recent years he has released solo recordings. In 2007, he reunited with Extreme. The band's latest album Saudades de Rock was released on August 12, 2008.

Early years[edit]

Born Gary Francis Caine Cherone, he grew up in Malden, Massachusetts and attended Malden High School, the third of five brothers and the younger of fraternal twin Greg Cherone. Raised in a middle-class Catholic family, Cherone was quiet, creative, and athletic. As a youth, he dreamed of a career as a basketball player until he suffered a serious knee injury.

In his teenage years, Cherone turned to singing in local bands and was heavily influenced by the reigning rock frontmen of the day, most notably Roger Daltrey of The Who, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and Queen's Freddie Mercury. In 1979 Cherone and drummer friend Paul Geary along with guitarist Matt McKay, formed a hard-rock band called Adrenalin and performed locally. In 1981, they changed the band's name to The Dream and recorded a six-song independent vinyl E.P.

A few years later, Cherone and The Dream appeared in a music video produced by David Horgan, on the early MTV program, Basement Tapes, a show in which the viewing audience "voted" (via a toll-free telephone number) for one of two competing amateur music videos submitted by unsigned artists. The Dream's video for "Mutha, Don't Wanna Go to School Today," won their contest, beating a then-unknown Henry Lee Summer by just 1% of the total vote.[1] Incidentally, both Cherone and Summer had once had aspirations of playing basketball as a career.

With Extreme[edit]

In 1985, Cherone and Geary met guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and bassist Pat Badger in an altercation over a dressing room, but the rivals soon became collaborators and shortly after the combined foursome took the name Extreme, and began writing their own material. By the late 1980s, the group had attracted a large regional following; in 1987, the band signed with A&M Records, which released their self-titled debut album in 1989. Selling over 250,000 copies, the band's debut album justified a second, and in 1990 the band recorded the critically acclaimed Extreme II: Pornograffiti, a fiery mix of hard rock, funk, and pop propelled by Bettencourt's extraordinary guitar playing. The album's lyrical content, mostly written by Cherone, was loosely based on the concept of a fictional young boy named "Francis" and his observations of a decadent, corrupt, and misogynistic society.

Although well received by the rock world in the press, initial sales and chart success for the album were sluggish until A&M released the acoustic ballad "More Than Words" in the early spring of 1991. The song was picked up by mainstream radio and became a huge smash, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 that summer. Extreme II: Pornograffiti was eventually certified quadruple platinum and remains a notable entry in the genre. Also in 1991, Extreme toured in support of David Lee Roth.

Cherone's career came full circle in April 1992 when he performed "Hammer to Fall" onstage with the three surviving members of Queen at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium. (Extreme also performed a medley of Queen hits during the first half of the concert.) Later that year, Extreme released III Sides To Every Story, a concept album known by the band as their finest work. This album marked the pinnacle of the band's creative ability as a whole.

As the decade progressed, the sudden popularity of grunge brought about a sea change in the pop music industry, causing 80s rock and glam to gain less commercial support from labels. In response, Extreme's 1995 recording, Waiting for the Punchline, was a stripped-down and cynical affair that was only modestly successful. After the supporting tour, Bettencourt became dissatisfied and left the group to launch a solo career. Extreme officially folded almost immediately afterward.

With Van Halen[edit]

In 1996, one of the world's most famous rock bands, Van Halen, had a falling out with their second lead singer, Sammy Hagar, who had been with the band since 1985. After a failed reunion attempt with original lead vocalist David Lee Roth, who had been with Van Halen from 1974–85, Van Halen was once again without a lead vocalist. At the urging of Van Halen's manager, Ray Danniels, (who also managed Extreme), Cherone was called for an audition. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen liked Cherone's lyrics, as well as his work ethic, and in November 1996 Cherone became Van Halen's third lead vocalist. That year, Cherone took up residence in Eddie's guest house and spent the next year writing and recording a new studio album.

Released on March 17, 1998, Van Halen III debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 album chart, selling 197,000 copies in its first week; 500,000 by summer (RIAA gold certified in the United States); and over 700,000 copies as of 2011.[2] The album featured an eclectic and diverse set of songs, marking a departure from the straightforward arena rock that Van Halen had played with Hagar, and contrasting with the tongue-in-cheek bombast that originally attracted Van Halen fans to Roth. Van Halen III's songs were often longer and more lyrically intricate than earlier Van Halen material, giving it a progressive influence. The album only produced a sole #1 Billboard Mainstream Rock hit in "Without You".[3]

By most band's standards the album would have been considered an unmitigated commercial success, but by Van Halen's standards it was considered a flop. Neither the album nor the supporting tour performed to financial expectations, with Van Halen III being the first album in the band's career to not achieve at least double platinum status. However, the tour was well received by fans.[4] The tour brought back many older Van Halen songs that fans had wanted to hear since Roth's initial departure in 1984. This was largely because Hagar refused to play all but the most famous of Roth-era songs. Unlike the band's subsequent 2004 and 2007–08 tours, Van Halen toured outside of North America in 1998, playing dates in Japan, Europe, and for the first time, Australia and New Zealand. One date in Australia was filmed and aired on MTV.

Plans progressed for a follow-up album, to be released at the end of 1999. Releasing a new studio album a year after the previous one had not been done by Van Halen since 1982, when the band released Diver Down. Reportedly, Van Halen's then-record company Warner Bros. sent back the new album twice because they did not hear a "hit" pop single on it.[5] Frustrated by the rejections from the record label, Cherone left Van Halen amicably. Since then, he has remained on good terms with his former bandmates, going on record numerous times with his thoughts on why the collaboration failed to work out.[6][7]

Post-Van Halen[edit]

After his departure from Van Halen, Cherone returned to Boston and put together a new project, Tribe of Judah. The band played several shows in the Boston area and released a CD on Spitfire Records entitled Exit Elvis.

He has on occasion guested with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony during their The Other Half performances, and Nuno Bettencourt's recent projects, as well as with the Boston Rock Opera.

In February 2003, just one week after The Station Nightclub Fire, Gary and his brother, Markus, performed "More Than Words" during a memorial service for the victims. The memorial was broadcast live on WHJY in Providence, RI.

In 2005, Cherone released a four song sampler CD, Need I Say More that was written and produced by Steve Catizone and Leo Mellace. This album was recorded by Jeff Yurek at Sanctum Sound in Boston, Massachusetts and mixed by Carl Nappa in New York City. Musicians including Dave DiCenso (drums), Baron Browne (bass) and Steve Hunt (keyboards) are also featured on the record.

In May 2006, Cherone sang in three shows as part of Amazing Journey, a tribute to The Who created by ex Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, featuring Paul Gilbert on guitar and Billy Sheehan on bass. Not long after, Gary and his brother Markus Cherone created their own tribute to The Who, Slip Kid. Presently the band continues to perform regularly in the Greater Boston area.

Later that year, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cherone's three-year stint with the group did not establish him as a band member eligible for induction. However, at the televised induction ceremony, the group's former bassist Michael Anthony thanked Cherone for his contributions.

Back to Extreme[edit]

Since 2004 Extreme have re-united with Cherone on several occasions for "one off" shows in their home town and in New England, but in November 2007 they announced plans to do another world tour along with a new album.

The album Saudades de Rock was released in August 2008.


Cherone has toured with SlipKid, a tribute to The Who. Cherone's former Extreme bandmate, Paul Mangone, is the bassist, and his brother, Markus Cherone, is the guitarist.


Cherone has formed a new band with his brother Markus on guitar, Joe Pessia on bass/mandolin and Dana Spellman on drums. They have released a self-titled debut album in early 2011 and have toured to promote it.



  1. ^ Chilvers, C.J. (1999) "The Dream." The Van Halen Encyclopedia. Malpractice Publishing, Oak Lawn, IL. ISBN 0-9667539-0-9
  2. ^ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2012/02/van-halen-lights-up-henson-studios-with-an-hour-of-rock.html
  3. ^ "Van Halen III - Van Halen | Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
  4. ^ George-Warren, Holly et al. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll. "Van Halen." Third Edition. Fireside Publishing, 1163 p. ISBN 0-7432-0120-5
  5. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/gary-cherone-out-of-van-halen-19991105
  6. ^ Classic Rock Revisited-Gary Cherone Interview, archived from the original on 2005-04-06, retrieved 2006-07-16 
  7. ^ "Gary Cherone's Extreme Viewpoint." Kay Handley. The Phoenix. June 30, 2006 – retrieved on July 17, 2006[dead link]
  • Chilvers, C.J. (1999) The Van Halen Encyclopedia. Malpractice Publishing, Oak Lawn, IL. ISBN 0-9667539-0-9

External links[edit]

Preceded by
David Lee Roth
Lead Singer of Van Halen
1996 – 1999
Succeeded by
Sammy Hagar

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Cherone — Please support Wikipedia.
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9470 videos foundNext > 

More Than Words - Gary Cherone/Nuno Bettencourt/Paul Gilbert

Guitar Wars (2004) Hard Rock Cafe Japan 20th Anniversery.

Gary Cherone discusses Van Halen on Eddie Trunk 4.23.10


Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love Live

Van Halen, with Gary Cherone, performs Why Can't This Be Love live in 1998 from Australia. Follow me on Twitter @itsmerocky.

Eddie Van Halen & Gary Cherone - Josephina (Live Performance Japanese TV Show)

Eddie & Gary being interviewed on Japanese TV followed by a live version of Josephina. Lyrics: Josephina, there's so much I want to know I've known you for a...

2014 IPMA - Nuno Bettencourt & Gary Cherone LIVE - "More Than Words"

Nuno Bettencourt & Gary Cherone (from the band Extreme) perform their mega hit "More Than Words" at the 2014 International Portuguese Music Awards (IPMA) LIV...

Van Halen w/Gary Cherone - (The Spectrum) Philadelphia,Pa 5-24-98 (COMPLETE SHOW HQ)

Van Halen W/Gary Cherone - (live) The Spectrum Philadelphia,Pa 5-24-98 Unchained Without You One I Want Mean Street When It's Love Fire In The Hole Why Can't...

Gary Cherone on Fox News 4/23/11

Hurtsmile's Gary Cherone on Fox News' Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld on 4/23/11.

"The Murder of Daniel Faulkner" GARY CHERONE \ Hurtsmile

"The Murder of Daniel Faulkner" by GARY CHERONE \ Hurtsmile. The music video includes scenes from the documentary film "The Barrel of a Gun". Directed by Tig...

Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone-When It's Love (live)

Sammy Hagar (And The Waboritas) with Gary Cherone live 2003.

Extreme Queen Medley, "Love of My Life" (Gary Cherone & Nuno Bettencourt), "More Than Words"

20 April 1992 at London's Wembley Stadium (Gary Cherone & Nuno Bettencourt)

9470 videos foundNext > 

524 news items

Tue, 20 Jan 2015 10:45:00 -0800

Vanyaland caught up with Extreme frontman Gary Cherone a few days before the tour to support the deluxe edition of Pornograffitti where the album will be played in full front to back, including a hometown gig tomorrow night, January 21 at the House of ...

Boston Herald

Lowell Sun
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:52:30 -0800

Although a few follow-up albums kept the band around, they eventually broke up in 1996 when guitarist Nuno Bettencourt (who now plays with Rihanna as her touring guitarist) left to pursue a solo career, lead singer Gary Cherone made the ill-fated ...


Tue, 27 Jan 2015 04:56:15 -0800

... band Extreme is back on tour and set to perform 9.m. Saturday, at FireKeepers Casino near Battle Creek. 1998_05_1047.JPG Gary Cherone, Extreme's lead singer, pictured during his stint as lead singer for Van Halen after replacing Sammy Hagar in 1998.

Boston Herald

Boston Herald
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 09:48:45 -0800

But as a live band, well, Extreme is tremendous. Seven seconds into "Decadence Dance" the band had command of the building — I'd forgotten how good a frontman Gary Cherone is if you're into Bruce Dickinson-style theatrical posturing, action star ...
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:37:30 -0800

... "Extreme II: Pornograffitti" with a 25th anniversary tour, which comes to the Space at Westbury Saturday night. "'Pornograffitti' was the record that put us on the map and where we found our identity," says lead singer Gary Cherone, 53. "It ...

Glide Magazine

Glide Magazine
Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:52:30 -0800

Bassist Pat Badger slipped into view as lead vocalist Gary Cherone dodged the flickering lights and slinked his way onto the front of the Figueiredo's riser with his back turned to the audience while silhouetted in front of tranquil blue lights. Those ...

Boston Globe

Boston Globe
Sat, 04 Oct 2014 21:02:10 -0700

Gary Cherone takes mini-break from Extreme for a new album. The Malden native — best known as Extreme's frontman and a onetime Van Halen singer — releases an album, “Retrogrenade,” with his band Hurtsmile and brother Mark on guitar. E-Mail ...

100.7 WZLX Classic Rock

100.7 WZLX Classic Rock
Tue, 04 Nov 2014 21:02:04 -0800

Just like the questions about Extreme's mega-hit, 'More Than Words', the questions about lead singer Gary Cherone's departure from Van Halen will never stop coming. And while die-hard Extreme fans may cringe whenever he is asked about the most ...

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