Interview – Nickelback

Interview: 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…
“I watched the video for How You Remind Me the other day and, oh my God, Ilook like I’m 40! I was 26 when we shot that video. I’m 30 now,” says Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger. He’s lookingyounger than ever, and all he did was pay a visit to thebarber. 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 thanBilly Gibbons from ZZ Top.

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

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

“A lot of people think we take ourselves really seriouslyand 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 helppaint this picture of someone dreaming about being a rock star. It’s whatyou would also do if you won the lottery. I hope it comes across as ushaving a lot of fun and even to some degree, making fun of ourselves.” He isall 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 seriouslyand we’re this serious band.” The thought is very amusing to him. “Like comeon! 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 Damageplanguitarist’s signature solo riffs are included on the track Side of aBullet, a tribute to the late Dimebag, who was killed in an onstageshooting last year by a crazed fan. “That was one of the most senseless actsthat somebody could possibly do,” Chad remembers.

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

“That was one of the most senseless actsthat somebody could possibly do.”
– Chad Kroeger remembers the killing of Damageplan’s Dimebag Darrell.

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

What about Vinny? “I played him the song and asked what he thought.” Vinnyloved it but told Chad, “You know what I really want you to do, Chad? I wantyou to write a song for my brother,” not knowing that it was actually a songfor Darrell. Chad still seems incredulous when Vinny “actually asked if hecold play drums on it. We sent the song to him. He listened to the drums andsaid, ‘You know what Chad? I don’t think I can add anything or take the songin a different direction. I think your drummer did a fantastic job. You guyshave 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 allwanted to go to the next level, and it just didn’t feel like his heart wasin the same place,” says Chad. The decision to depart was mutual. “Wedecided that it was probably best to go our separate ways. And that’s reallytough to do. It’s like losing your brother. But there’s no ill-will.”

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

Adairhas apparently brought in more than his skills. “There’s a breath of freshair. 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 thecrack 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 thanMike 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 couldnever do before. I truly, honestly believe he’s one of the best rockdrummers in the world today.” Like Nickelback is one of Canada’s hottestrock exports.

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

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