by Debbie Seagle
I caught my first glimpse of Nickelback
by accident when they were playing on a bill with another band that I was
covering earlier this year and was immediately impressed by their aggressive
and confident vibe. When I am reviewing a band I am always aware
of their audience response as they change tempo or interact with them and
what I saw on that night was what made me telephone their label and the
Rock N World editor to let them know we had another "Best of
the New Breed" band on our hands. This assessment was based on
their musical ability and stage presence alone, but once I spoke with lead
singer Chad Kroeger, I realized they had even more to bring to the table
than their edgy, heavy rocking songs.
If there are any budding musicians listening
out there in the Rock N World, get a paper and pencil, because you
will want to take some notes here. Canadian musicians, your success
could depend on Chad's tips! His business savvy and the band's
superior chops are what landed them the record deal they wanted and the
attention that they deserve.
So it all began in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Chad (vocals, guitar), brother Mike (bass) and friends Ryan (drums) and
Ryan (guitar, vox) developed their style of energetic, hard biting rock
that is somewhat reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's mastery. Chad's "HEAR
ME!" vocals make him the consummate front man. He has no problem
getting your attention, whether he is testing the limits of his microphone
or maniacally whispering his invitation to join them in the world of Nickelback.
The guitars are heavy and distorted, the rhythms are clean head-bangers
and their latest CD, "The State" is a tasty and diverse selection
of songs you will automatically sing along to. This band is
headed for big things and it has nothing to do with luck. Their course
is charted and they have no intention of wavering. Get to know them
here and be very impressive at parties when people ask you if you've ever
heard of Nickelback and you give them the insider's word . . .
You’ve enjoyed a lot of commercial success in Canada, obviously.
You were named "Best New Rock Group, Canadian Radio Music Awards" how long
ago? About a year ago?
Chad: Yeah, about that.
RNW: That’s pretty cool.
Are you headed for a Juno (Canadian equivalent of a Grammy), do you think?
Chad: I have no idea.
There’s actually seven people I think that decide whether or not you get
RNW: Only seven?
Chad: Its a small committee.
A lot of people think that it goes to a poll and they might poll ten or
a hundred people from every city.
RNW: That’s kind of what I
Chad: No, its seven people,
I think, that decide whether or not you get a Juno.
RNW: Okay. And Sarah
McLachlin has it all sewn up and . . .
Chad: I’m sure. Whether
or not those seven people like Nickelback, I have no idea and it
doesn’t really, you know. Its not of great importance to me.
RNW: I actually caught like,
a couple minutes of your set when you were with Three Doors Down.
RNW: At Cane’s in San Diego.
That little beach venue. I think I recall hearing you say something
like "I’ve got 45 minutes to make you love this band, " or something like
Chad: No, I think I said something
like "I have 45 minutes for me to drill the name of my band into your head."
Chad: Whether they like us
or not, I can’t do anything about that.
RNW: I think you did a good
job of doing it on that night.
Chad: Cool, then I did my
RNW: There ya go. You
pretty much rocked. Do you enjoy being a front man?
Chad: Yes! Yep, I like
the ability, I like getting the chance to
sway people, you know? A lot of people don’t use that. They
don’t utilize it, they just play their songs and get off the stage and
RNW: Yeah, you have to have
people buying into your music and what it’s about. Not just hearing
a song on the radio, don’t you think? A live performance is really
key to building a fan base.
Chad: It can be. I think,
I know the Spice Girls sold a lot of records and I don’t think anyone ever
said that they were amazing live. So, its just one more thing on
top. You can sell a lot of records without even touring if you can
get radio stations across the country to play you enough, but if you’ve
got both, if you’ve got good songs that stick in people’s heads and they
come to see you play and they see that you can pull it off live, then you’ve
got two chunks of ammunition instead of just one.
RNW: You need everything in
your arsenal these days, don’t you?