Slash, Nuno, Rihanna and Fortus: Rock Spat Intensifies

Published on 26 July 2023


Battle lines are being drawn in the world of rock this week, as several guitar giants have seemingly engaged in a back-and-forth hissy fit over…playing for Rihanna.

It seems that Extreme guitar wizard Nuno Bettencourt is using his newly refreshed status (after THAT solo on Extreme’s comeback single Rise) to issue a few somewhat contentious comments regarding his gig with pop megastar Rihanna.

So, what’s actually happening here?

Initially, Bettencourt spoke to Music Radar about his ongoing (since 2009) services to Ri-Ri, implying that the genre-leaping required in her live set was beyond the skillset of a great deal of his peers:

“I’m sorry, most of the guitar players who I admire could not in their lifetime play that gig”. 

Nuno decided to use his friend Slash as a reference during this conversation, saying the following: 

“I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Slash is one of the greatest rock guitar players of all time but I guarantee – and he’d be the first to tell you – that if he jumps up and he’s got to play a clean intro to Rude Boy from Rihanna, it ain’t happening.”

This is perhaps what moved Slash’s fellow Guns ‘r’ Roses bandmate - and former Rihanna guitarist - Richard Fortus to leap to the defence of the top-hatted one. On an Instagram post on Nuno’s official account, Fortus left the following comment:

“I have to respectfully disagree. @nunobettencourtofficial is one of the greats, for sure. However, there is very little @slash couldn’t do on guitar (if he wanted to). I toured with Rihanna prior to Nuno and I’ve spent a lot of time playing with Slash. This gig wouldn’t be a struggle for him.”

Sounds like a pretty fair assessment to us, but something in that statement must’ve irked Nuno, who has since posted a wordy response. Rather than paraphrase or select some quotes, here’s the full post:


So far, Slash himself hasn’t had too much to say on the matter. Perhaps that is the best move? We’ll see soon enough!



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