Gary Cherone

Gary Francis Caine Cherone (/ʃəˈroʊn/ shə-ROHN; born July 26, 1961) is an American rock singer and songwriter. He is 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.

Gary Cherone
Gary Cherone-Extreme-2
Extreme - Live in Birmingham 2008
Background information
BornJuly 26, 1961 (age 57)
Malden, Massachusetts
GenresFunk metal, glam metal, hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1975–present
Associated actsExtreme
Van Halen
Tribe of Judah

Early years

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.

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, which performed locally. In 1981, they changed the band's name to The Dream and recorded a six-song independent vinyl EP.

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

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. The name Extreme came from a play on the words "Ex-Dream". 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 mix of hard rock, funk, and pop propelled by Bettencourt's 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 double platinum. 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.

As the decade progressed, the sudden popularity of grunge brought about a sea of change in the pop music industry, causing 80's rock and glam to gain less commercial support from labels. In response, Extreme's 1995 recording, Waiting for the Punchline, was a stripped-down 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

In 1996, rock band 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 bands' 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, rumoured to be called Love Again, which was 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]

Years later, when reflecting on his time in the band, Cherone stated "I was one of the three singers in the mighty Van Halen. You can't take that away from me."[8]

Post-Van Halen

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

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.

In 2016, the band released Pornograffitti Live 25: Metal Meltdown, an audio/video presentation of its 2015 concert at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Casino.[9]


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.

Their follow-up album, "Retro Grenade", was released in 2014.


with Extreme

with Van Halen

with Tribe of Judah

with Cherone

  • Need I Say More EP (2005)

with Hurtsmile


  1. ^ Chilvers, C.J. (1999) "The Dream." The Van Halen Encyclopedia. Malpractice Publishing, Oak Lawn, IL. ISBN 0-9667539-0-9
  2. ^ "Van Halen lights up Henson Studios with an hour of rock". 1 February 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  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. ^ Uhelszki, Jaan (5 November 1999). "Gary Cherone Out of Van Halen". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  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 Archived November 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Andy Greene (February 10, 2012). "Gary Cherone Reflects on his Three-Year Stint In Van Halen | Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "Extreme - Biography | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  • Chilvers, C.J. (1999) The Van Halen Encyclopedia. Malpractice Publishing, Oak Lawn, IL. ISBN 0-9667539-0-9

External links

Decadence Dance

Decadence Dance is the opening track and lead single from Boston rock band Extreme's 1990 album Pornograffitti. The song begins with the sound of a thunderstorm, and then the piano intro plays. The edited version removes the thunderstorm sound and the piano intro.

The single was not successful in the United States, although it had minor success in the UK, peaking at No. 36 - their first single to appear in the United Kingdom's top 40.

The song is recorded in the glam metal style prevalent on the album, although Extreme's usual style was funk metal.

Extreme (band)

Extreme is an American rock band, currently headed by frontman Gary Cherone and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. The band reached the height of their popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s with original line-up Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Paul Geary and Patrick Badger.

Among some of Extreme's musical influences are Van Halen, Queen, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. The band played at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992. Geary left the group in 1994 to form an artist management company, and Cherone joined Van Halen in 1996. The band has described their music as "funky metal" in the early days, but it would evolve much more in the mid-1990s by blending classic rock influences with post-grunge and alternative rock.

They have released five studio albums, two EPs (in Japan) and two compilation albums since their formation. The band was one of the most successful rock acts of the early 1990s, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. Extreme achieved their greatest success with their 1990 album Pornograffitti, which peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200, and was certified gold in May 1991 and double platinum in October 1992. That album featured the acoustic ballad single "More Than Words", which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

Get the Funk Out

"Get the Funk Out" is the fourth track and second single from Extreme's second studio album Pornograffitti. It features rock artist Pat Travers. The official music video for the song was directed by Andy Morahan.

Hip Today

Hip Today is the second and last single from Extreme's fourth studio album Waiting for the Punchline, released in 1995. It is the last single the band released before breaking up and reforming in 2007.

As the band tried to fit into the grunge scene by changing their musical style, the album and the two singles released from it were commercial failures. After the song proved to be a failure in the charts as well, they disbanded. To date, it is their last single to chart in the UK, peaking at #44 In Australia, "Hip Today" peaked at #99.

Hole Hearted

"Hole Hearted" is a song by the American hard rock group Extreme. The song was released as the fourth and final single and closing track from their successful Pornograffitti album in 1991 and reached #4 on the Billboard Top 100. It also charted at #12 in the UK Singles Chart. The song ends with the sound of a thunderstorm, which closes Pornograffiti, similar to how "Decadence Dance" (the lead single and opening track on Pornograffiti) begins with the same sounds and starts the album.

Although the song's chart position was lower compared to the band's previous hit, "More Than Words" (#1 in the US, #2 in the UK), it remains their second-highest charting song overall. Like "More Than Words", the style of this song is different from the majority of its parent album. The song's videoclip was shot outside the Boston Centre for the Arts at 551 Tremont Street in Boston (street number clearly seen on many of the pans around the band). The song is excluded from the vinyl LP version of the album.


Hurtsmile is a band fronted by Extreme singer Gary Cherone.

Cherone started the project in 2007 with his brother Mark and Joe Pessia. Some demos were released on the internet, but plans for an album were put on hold once plans for the eventual Extreme reunion emerged. After the release of Saudades de Rock and the subsequent 2009 tour, Extreme member Nuno Bettencourt went on tour with Rihanna, putting Extreme on hiatus and giving time for Cherone to return to the Hurtsmile project. The album was then recorded and released January 2011 in Europe and February 2011 in the US.Besides brothers Gary and Mark Cherone, who also play together in Slip Kid, a The Who tribute band, the band features Joe Pessia, who plays with Tantric and was the bassist for Bettencourt's DramaGods and drummer Dana Spellman, who was a student of Extreme's former drummer Mike Mangini.

III Sides to Every Story

III Sides To Every Story (pronounced 3 Sides To Every Story) is the third album by the Boston funk-metal band Extreme, released in 1992. It was the follow-up to the very successful Pornograffitti album. It was the last album with the band's original line-up: Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger and Paul Geary; Geary later left, and was replaced by Mike Mangini.

More Than Words

"More Than Words" is the fifth track and third single from Extreme's 1990 LP Pornograffitti. It is a ballad built around acoustic guitar work by Nuno Bettencourt and the vocals of Gary Cherone (with harmony vocals from Bettencourt). The song is a detour from the funk metal style that permeates the band's records. As such, it has often been described as "a blessing and a curse" due to its overwhelming success and recognition worldwide, but the band ultimately embraced it and plays it on every show.

Play with Me (song)

"Play with Me" is Extreme's first single from their self-titled debut album. It is one of the band's best known songs as well as a popular list song. It includes a fast and complex guitar solo by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, and takes its intro riffs from Mozart's Alla turca.

The lyrics list a wide variety of children's games, toys, and playground songs, and includes backing vocals from The Lollipop Kids. The bridge consists of K-I-S-S-I-N-G, sung by the band with their voices altered to make them sound like children. It includes the line, "Then comes Adam in a baby carriage," which is immediately followed by a fast guitar lick that ends with "Shave and a Haircut", segueing into the guitar solo.

The song was featured in the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure during the mall-chase scene, as well as in Jury Duty as Pauly Shore's stripping song.

A cover of the song appeared on the PlayStation 2 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s as the final track in the game. It is claimed that the high popularity the song gained by its inclusion in Guitar Hero was the reason the band decided to reunite in 2007, as it sparked their popularity once again. A master version of the track appears in the video game Guitar Hero: Smash Hits.

The song was released to radio stations but not on a CD single or vinyl. It was released on the Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure soundtrack.

Rest in Peace (song)

"Rest in Peace" is the first single from Extreme's third studio album III Sides to Every Story. The single was released in 1992.

Toward the end of the guitar solo, the main riff to Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" is played.

The lyrics are targeted at those who banalize peace when "pretending our hearts are in the right place", or those whose "face shows a trace of hipocrisy". It is then suggested "we can't afford to say these words lightly", "or else our world will truly rest in peace".

Star (Extreme song)

"Star" was the first single off Extreme's fifth studio album Saudades de Rock. It was the band's first single after the reunion of the band in 2007 after a thirteen-year hiatus. The song was first released to the band's Myspace page and then on a single promo CD.

The song features a return to the band's classic hard rock style from their first three albums, before the departure to a more grunge driven music. The song has a very upbeat funk metal riff from guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and harmony vocals done by Bettencourt and Cherone in the chorus.

The single features two versions of the song "Ghost" (also from the new album) as a B-side.

Stop the World (Extreme song)

Stop the World is the second single from Extreme's third studio album III Sides to Every Story.

It was the first power ballad released from the album. Although it tried to match the success of the band's previous successful ballads "More Than Words" and "Hole Hearted", it proved to be a commercial failure in the US. However, it did chart in the UK at #22.

Tragic Comic

"Tragic Comic" is the third and last single from Extreme's third studio album III Sides to Every Story.

The song was done in an acoustic style, as Extreme tried to reprise the success of their acoustic hit "Hole Hearted". The song proved to be a commercial failure, just like the album and the first two singles, and the band had to cancel their plans to release another single from the album. It did chart in the UK at #15, but it would be their last single to crack the UK Top 40.

The artwork for the single is Charlie Chaplin-based.

Van Halen

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony.The band went on to become major stars, and by the early 1980s they were one of the most successful rock acts of the time. 1984 was their most successful album. The lead single, "Jump", became an international hit and their only single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The following singles, "Panama" and "I'll Wait", both hit number 13 on the U.S. charts. The album went on to sell over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone. In 1985, the band replaced lead singer David Lee Roth with former Montrose lead vocalist Sammy Hagar. With Hagar, the group would release four U.S. number-one albums over the course of 11 years. Hagar left the band in 1996 shortly before the release of the band's first greatest hits collection, Best Of – Volume I. Former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone was quickly recruited as lead singer to replace Hagar, and Van Halen III was released in 1998. Cherone left the band in frustration in 1999 after the tour due to the poor commercial performance of the album.

Van Halen went on hiatus until 2003 when they reunited with Hagar for a worldwide tour. The reunited band released a second greatest hits collection the following year, The Best of Both Worlds. Like Volume I before it, The Best of Both Worlds included material from both the Roth and Hagar eras but omitted any Cherone era tracks. The album featured three brand new tracks recorded by the reunited band, two of which were released as singles. Hagar again left Van Halen in 2005, and in 2006 Roth returned as lead vocalist for their highest-grossing tour, and one of the highest-grossing tours of that year. Anthony was not invited to participate in the tour and was essentially fired from the band, replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son. In 2012, the band released the commercially and critically successful, A Different Kind of Truth, with Roth as lead vocalist. According to the RIAA, Van Halen is the 19th-best-selling band/artist in United States history, selling 56 million albums in the U.S. They were also revealed at number 4 on the Billboard's top moneymakers list in 2013. Van Halen is one of only five rock bands that have had two studio albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. Additionally, Van Halen charted 13 number-one hits in the history of Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart and they are one of the world's best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 80 million records.Van Halen achieved worldwide fame for their many popular songs and larger-than-life stage performances; they also became known for the drama surrounding the departures of former members. Controversy surrounded the band following the exits of Roth, Hagar, and Anthony; this controversy often included numerous conflicting press statements between the former members and the band. In 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. VH1 ranked them 7th on their list of the top 100 hard rock artists of all time.

Van Halen III

Van Halen III is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Van Halen, released on March 17, 1998 by Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Mike Post and Eddie Van Halen, it is the band's only studio album to feature Extreme lead vocalist Gary Cherone, and the last to feature bassist Michael Anthony before he was replaced in the band by Eddie's son Wolfgang in 2006. Work on a follow-up album with Cherone commenced in 1999, but never advanced past a few demos.Van Halen III was the band's last album for fourteen years, and their final album of the 20th century. It was also the final album the band released on Warner Bros. When they returned in 2012 with A Different Kind of Truth, it was with Interscope Records. It is their longest studio album to date, clocking in at slightly over 65 minutes.

Van Halen concert tours

A list of concert tours by hard rock band Van Halen.

That on all tours, the band's line-up has featured Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen. Michael Anthony has played bass on all tours through 2004. Since 2007 Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen has played bass for the band. The vocalist has changed numerous times, hence the inclusion of a vocalist column in the table. The vocalist column gives dates for the span they toured with the band for – not how long they were in the band for.

Information on early concerts is less reliable, as is to be expected.

All tours undertaken by Van Halen went through the USA, with the exception of the Monsters of Rock Tour 1984. Hawaiian dates have been counted as American, due to its official position as a state of the USA.

The Heavyweight Champs Of Rock 'N Roll Tour of the USA in 2002 was not a Van Halen tour. It was a co-headlining tour by the two former Van Halen vocalists David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. The tour has a connection to Van Halen, featuring numerous guest appearances by Van Halen's then-bassist Michael Anthony with Hagar on many dates on bass and backing vocals (and occasionally lead vocals), and one date where former Van Halen vocalist Gary Cherone joined the pair for a duet. Nor are Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony's tours as The Other Half (a play on them being "half" of the Van Halen line-up) where the two former members of the band would play Hagar-era Van Halen tunes together with a backing band.

Waiting for the Punchline

Waiting for the Punchline is Extreme's fourth album, which was released in 1995. It is known by fans as a distinctively raw sounding record - especially when compared to the big production of the two previous albums - with a significant influence from grunge, while still showcasing guitarist Nuno Bettencourt's talents. Due to its lyrics focused heavily on social matters (ranging from religion to fame) it is often cited as a concept album. It is also the only Extreme record to feature drummer Mike Mangini (on 3 tracks).

After the album's tour, the band subsequently disbanded in 1996 when Bettencourt informed Extreme that he was leaving the band to pursue a solo career. After the breakup, singer Gary Cherone also joined Van Halen in the same year as their new singer, but left three years later.

When It's Love

"When It's Love" is a power ballad by the American rock band Van Halen. It was released as a single from their album OU812. It was the most popular song from that album, hitting #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song has been a live performance staple since it was released in 1988. The song was also included in the set list for the band's ill-fated 1998 tour with Gary Cherone. Eddie has stated that this particular guitar solo is a nod to Eric Clapton.

It was featured on a VH1 special, "The Greatest: 25 Greatest Power Ballads," where it was ranked as the 24th greatest power ballad of all time.

Without You (Van Halen song)

"Without You" is a rock song written by the group Van Halen for their 1998 album Van Halen III. It was the first of three singles from the album. The track debuted at number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, a first in the magazine's history. To date, it is the band's last single to reach the peak position.

The "Without You" music video cost over $1,000,000 to make. The band footage for the music video was shot in Los Angeles, California, over January 28–29, 1998. The remaining footage was shot inside the Ice Hotel in Sweden. The video premiered on MTV on March 2, 1998.

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