Music Interviews

Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger: “I watched the video for How You Remind Me the other day and, oh my God, I look like I’m 40!” – Interview



Nickelback

Nickelback

In 2001, a song called How You Remind Me was ubiquitous and quite inescapable. The band responsible, Nickelback, are back with new album All The Right Reasons, a record that marks a change of line-up for the Canadian pop rockers. musicOMH caught up with recently shorn lead singer Chad Kroeger for a chat about their new band member, collaborations with ZZ Top, and a tribute to Damageplan axeman Dimebag Darrell…

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“I watched the video for How You Remind Me the other day and, oh my God, I look like I’m 40! I was 26 when we shot that video. I’m 30 now,” says Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger. He’s looking younger than ever, and all he did was pay a visit to the barber. His hair is a couple of inches shorter and his goatee barely there. At least he looks more like his brother and Nickelback bass player Mike than Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top.

Maybe the Great Bearded One from the legendary Texan band will soon shave too. After all, he is a self-proclaimed Nickelback fan, “a point of flattery” for the Canadian band. Gibbons is even featured on Nickelback’s latest opus, All the Right Reasons. After meeting at a state fair where both bands were playing, Kroeger asked his tour manager to get him Gibbons’ phone number.

“He took the initiative and got Billy to call me. And when he calls you, it’s the coolest feeling on the planet. You pick up the phone and say ‘Hello?’ And he goes (imitating deep Texan voice), ‘This is Billy Gibbons. How are ya?'” The one who Kroeger claims is “Jimi Hendrix‘s favourite guitar player” ended up playing a few riffs and adding some vocals on Follow You Home and Rockstar, a song about the perks of being, you guessed it, a multi-million selling rock act.

“A lot of people think we take ourselves really seriously and we’re this serious band…” – Chad Kroeger bemoans fun, frivolous Nickelback’s image.

“We had a lot of fun with that one. Just crazy nonsensical things that help paint this picture of someone dreaming about being a rock star. It’s what you would also do if you won the lottery. I hope it comes across as us having a lot of fun and even to some degree, making fun of ourselves.” He is all too aware that they’re viewed as a rather serious, brooding rock band.No parties then? “A lot of people think we take ourselves really seriously and we’re this serious band.” The thought is very amusing to him. “Like come on! For the longest time, I was calling us Jesus and the College Kids!”Maybe it was that beard.

Another notable guest – and fan – on their new album is a certain “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. A good friend of Nickelback’s, the Pantera and Damageplan guitarist’s signature solo riffs are included on the track Side Of A Bullet, a tribute to the late Dimebag, who was killed in an onstage shooting last year by a crazed fan. “That was one of the most senseless acts that somebody could possibly do,” Chad remembers.

The riffs are actually “bits and pieces that didn’t get used” on a recording Chad did of Elton John‘s Saturday Night’s Alright with Kid Rock and Darrell. “And as it should happen, I had this guitar riff and it was very, very aggressive. We started to piece together a solo and we simply didn’t have enough material.”

He figured Pantera may have leftover material they could use. “I called Vinny, Darrell’s brother, the drummer from Pantera, and he sent us tons of material. We went over all these great signature Dimebag Darrell guitar solos and pieced together this guitar solo that we’re very, very proud of.”

“I truly, honestly believe he’s one of the best rock drummers in the world today.” – Chad Kroeger on Nickelback’s new drummer Daniel Adair.

What about Vinny? “I played him the song and asked what he thought.” Vinny loved it but told Chad, “You know what I really want you to do, Chad? I want you to write a song for my brother,” not knowing that it was actually a song for Darrell. Chad still seems incredulous when Vinny “actually asked if he could play drums on it. We sent the song to him. He listened to the drums and said, ‘You know what Chad? I don’t think I can add anything or take the song in a different direction. I think your drummer did a fantastic job. You guys have my blessing.'”

The “fantastic job” is credited to former 3 Doors Down drummer Daniel Adair, who replaced Nickelback’s Ryan Vikedal. So what exactly happened? “We all wanted to go to the next level, and it just didn’t feel like his heart was in the same place,” says Chad. The decision to depart was mutual. “We decided that it was probably best to go our separate ways. And that’s really tough to do. It’s like losing your brother. But there’s no ill-will.”

Adair has apparently brought in more than his skills. “There’s a breath of fresh air. Not that Ryan wasn’t, it’s just that Danny takes us in a totally, completely different direction. He’s just so funny.” Cracking jokes at the crack of dawn, Danny is also a whole band rolled into one, claims Chad. “He’s probably a better guitar player than I am, a better bass player than Mike is, and he can sing like a bird.” So what’s he doing behind a drum kit? “He picks up those three-part harmonies and counter-melodies that we could never do before. I truly, honestly believe he’s one of the best rock drummers in the world today.” Like Nickelback is one of Canada’s hottest rock exports.

“It’s great that Canada is making a name for itself. Before, people would simply dismiss bands from Canada. Avril Lavigne, Sum 41, Nelly Furtado, Alanis Morrisette – all of these artists have definitely put Canada on the map.”


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