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RNW:  Are there plans for, maybe in your next project, taking some of the songs off of "Curb" and putting them in with something on a label?

Chad:  I hadn’t thought of doing that because that material is definitely old in Canada, so "Curb" is the result of a demo, so we took songs off a demo, put them on "Curb" and taking those songs and having them skip over "The State" and go onto the third record, I would much rather just release "Curb" to the States.

RNW:  On Roadrunner (Records)? 

Chad: Yeah, for the album where I can’t come up with any more songs . . .

RNW:  No hidden tracks like, you know, five minutes of silence and then throw something in there?

Chad:  Our whole next record is done. 

RNW:  Really?

Chad:  Yeah, it has been for a while.  We just need to record it.  We’ve got, you know, plenty of material and we play, even in our half hour set we play two new songs.

RNW:  What are they?

Chad:  The one song is called "Look What Your Money Bought" 

RNW:  I think you did that at Cane’s.

Chad:  Yep.

RNW:  And I liked it!  I remember that name.

Chad:  And the other one is called "Hang Nail."  "Hang Nail" is second from last in the show), right before "Leader of Men."

RNW:  ("Look What Your Money Bought") That’s a single I think, don’t you?

Chad:  A-huh.

RNW:  Yeah, I like that one.

Chad:  The record company and the publishing company and our record company in Canada, which is not Roadrunner, are all waiting.

RNW:  Well, when are you going to get a chance to go back to Vancouver and lay down tracks?

Chad:  When they are done working this record.

RNW:  Any more singles coming out from this one?

Chad:  Oh yeah.  "Breath" goes to radio on July 17th and then they’ll probably go to "Old Enough" and we’ll get to record, I don’t know when we’ll get to record but we need a new record soon.  This one is already a year old and our record company in Canada just sort of keeps grinding out singles, just waiting for us to get a new record because they’ve seen what’s going on in the US.

RNW:  What about videos?

Chad:  Just shot one for "Leader of Men."  Its on M2

RNW:  Okay, good.  I saw that you guys did a lot of self promotion on the "Curb" CD.

Chad:  We did a lot of self promotion on this CD.

RNW:  Did you?

Chad:  Yeah, that’s where we did most of it. 

RNW:  Back home or here?

Chad:  Back home. 

RNW:  What was that like?

Chad:  It was great.  It gave us all a chance to really get a good grasp on the business.

RNW:  How did you go about it?  How did you start?

Chad:  We fired our manager.  They were more or less glorified booking agents, but booking agents take 10% and managers take 20%, so why not take 20% and call yourself a manager?

RNW:  You know, so few  people figure that out.  Its very cool that you have.

Chad:  I can tell any band in five minutes how to break in Canada.  Its not difficult at all, as long as the music is there.  But there’s so many bands where the music is there, they just don’t understand how to do it.  Radio is everything.

RNW:  Don’t understand how to do it as far as bookings go, or getting radio spots?

Chad:  Gigs don’t get you . . . radio gets you everything.  You get played on the radio and instantly a club owner knows he can sell beer.  Because beer and the music industry are extremely intertwined.  If you can put asses in the seats and beers in their hands, you get to do that because you’re on the radio.  So you show up to a town that you’ve never played before, just like we’ve done all over the US, but we had all that radio implemented by our record company.  We did it on our own in Canada.  So, after touring across the country countless times, losing so much money and moral and the will to keep going, we figured okay, there’s got to be a better way to do this.  So . . .

RNW:  Did you like, hit rock bottom and say okay I’m not going to do this any more . . .

Chad:  No, we didn’t hit rock bottom, we struck gold and we knew we were sitting on it, and we just had to figure out what to do with it.  So, we did a mail out to radio stations in the first quarter, when any independent band that wants to do a release has to release because every other band is releasing in the third and fourth quarter to make it for the summer festivals or the Christmas rush.  And if you avoid that as far as you can, and come out in the first quarter, when nobody is releasing anything, and music directors in Canada have to find their 35% content from somewhere . . .

RNW:  BINGO!

Chad:  And a Nickelback disc shows up on their desk and a phone call shows up a week later . . . The only thing you need to start charting in Canada is 40 spins.  40 spins, you’re number 75 in Canada.  There’s only 40 radio stations, or something like that for rock to be played on.  Down here we get spun 25-2600 times in a week and that keeps us in the top ten.  Six, seven, eight, we fluctuate in there.  2600 spins.  In medium rotation, which is 10-15 times a week, you’re going to show up #75 in trade magazines that all the music directors get.  Once you have that ammunition in your pocket, you phone the rest of them, and that’s just like the Wall Street Journal to them.  Nobody wants to be the last one playing your song if you’re on the way up.  It makes it look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

RNW:  Like you don’t know how to pick em?

Chad:  Yeah, its like "How come everyone else in the country is starting to play this unknown song but we're not?"  "Oh okay, well let me get on that then."  It doesn’t look good, so . . . Not only that, but getting a station to commit, finding out which stations watch other stations and once you get those ones, then you get the calls in to the other one and go "These guys just picked it up, they just stuck it into medium rotation."  And then, "Okay, it’ll go into the medium rotation next week."  all right.  And just learning how to play the game.

RNW:  Sounds like you’ve got it wired.

Chad:  We got the song to - I was doing all the radio tracking - and every time I would get an add in a city, my brother would get on the horn and he would call all the local music stores and he would start sticking copies of the record in the stores and we were making $12.75 a record, minus $2 it cost us to have it printed, so on a $10 dollar profit, after we sold 10,000 copies, we had a lot of money to sit on.  But we had a lot of debt.

RNW:  A war chest there?  Actually, no, you’re right.  You would have a lot of debt.

Chad:  Yeah, we had operating loan that continually fluctuated.  We once moved a thousand records across the country in one week.  And two weeks later they want another 1,000 copies to go out across the country.  You’ve got to find out where to get another $2,000 when they don’t clear their accounts for 60-90 days.  You need another 1,000 records in the next two weeks to ship across the country, you know, that’s when you are like, okay, somebody please sign us.  Cause there’s a gold mind here and that’s what record companies start to think.  If these four kids can sell this many records on their own, imagine what we can do as a machine.

RNW:  Now you went with an indie label as apposed to one of the biggies here in the US.  Why is that?

Chad:  Because, the way that a major label works is, they will go and sign twenty acts and they throw them to radio and whatever sticks, sticks.  And those are the ones that get the priority and the focus and the attention.  And whatever doesn’t stick, they’ll be lucky if they get another shot because they’ve (the record label) got the money to go out and play the numbers.  If you could buy 60,000 lottery tickets, and play different numbers, the chances that you’re gonna win are probably pretty good.  If you can afford to buy 60,000 lottery tickets.

RNW:  How many bands have we seen die on the vine like that?

Chad:  Sure.  Because they won’t give them a shot.

RNW:  Excellent bands.

Chad:  Yeah, and they get shelved and they start over, you know?  They get a new band name, cause at that point they’re damaged goods, and all they can do is start another band and try and get signed again.  And try, but when you go with a large independent, see the thing that we had was we had those sales, and we had that money already.  We had, we made $100,000 in six months.  You’re gonna offer us $75,000?  Give me a break.  Yeah, so, its like, we could just keep selling records on our own, we don’t need you.  You’re the one that wants a piece of our pie. 

RNW:  Yeah!  We don’t need your recoupable expenses!

Chad:  Exactly!  Exactly.  So then, all we had to do is find a large independent that was willing to cough up major label money to secure us, and exclude Canada.  That was the next thing that we wanted, cause that was our backyard.  And they we got to go with another company there, take two advances every time we release a record, um, then we found a winner with Roadrunner (Records). 

RNW:  I have been really impressed with Roadrunner and the way they take care of their bands.

Chad:  Yeah.

RNW:  And conversely, I have seen and worked with large labels and with bands that I thought were fantastic, and they just feel so helpless.

Chad:  They are helpless.

RNW:  You know, they are just like, if I felt like I got my decent shot and nothing happened, then I’d just go home, but I don’t feel like I’m getting that. 

Chad:  See, we had this bus before we sold one record in the US.  We have all the control because we know that we are the priority there.  I know what Case wants to do with the label.  I know the intentions of the label.  I know everything.  They hired a radio team to break our record.  They brought Dave Lonco and everybody over there to start turning Roadrunner into a major.  Eventually, that’s what they want to do.  And knowing that you are the one that’s going to break it or people’s jobs are on the line, like go break this band.  I want a top ten hit with this band.  You know, when your job’s on the line, that makes me feel pretty good.

RNW:  It should.

Chad:  And knowing that I have that, that makes me feel even better that we didn’t sign to RCA, or whoever else happened to be at the table.  So, I mean, that’s why we went with an independent instead of a major.

RNW:  Makes a lot of sense and it seems like you really thought it out very well. 

Chad:  Not only that, but if this record bombs, Roadrunner is renown for building their artists, you know?  We know we’re going to get another record.  We’re guaranteed to get another record now with a top ten hit.  And they’ve already heard the next record.  They’ve heard songs like "Look What Your Money Bought" and they’re damn anxious to get to those ones.  So they know that we’re going to have a future there, and we know the same thing.

RNW:  For the record, I think so too.  I’m looking forward to hearing you guys perform tonight and seeing you on the big stage!  Have a great show.

Chad: Cool, thanks.


Visit the official Nickelback web site


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