Nickelback epitomize the dichotomy of a band beloved by audiences but reviled by critics. Without question the most popular rock band of the early 21st century, Nickelback streamlined the aggression of 1990s' grunge, adding an arena-rock earnestness that's proved irresistible to millions of fans. Detractors rejected the band's heavy-handedly emotive style, personified by frontman Chad Kroeger's deep-throated groan, but a steady string of radio-friendly rockers and manly ballads kept Nickelback albums in the charts throughout the 2000s.
The group came together in the mid-'90s. Lead singer Chad Kroeger, bassist brother Mike and guitarist Ryan Peake were in a cover band called Village Idiot in Alberta, Canada. Deciding to take music seriously, they moved to Vancouver and recorded a series of self-released albums. The Kroegers and Peake have remained in Nickelback since the beginning, while original drummer Ryan Vikedal stayed with the band through 2004.
Finding a Record Label:
Nickelback signed to Roadrunner Records in 1999. The first thing Roadrunner did was reissue The State, which had initially been one of Nickelback's independent releases. The State eventually enjoyed gold sales in the United States, but these Canadian artists were just getting warmed up.
Blowing Up on Their Roadrunner Debut:
Nickelback's first new album for Roadrunner was released in 2001. Silver Side Up
announced the band's sonic strategy within its first two songs – the surging "Never Again," which addressed domestic abuse from the prospective of an observant child, and "How You Remind Me,"
an epic power ballad about a destructive relationship. Those hits, which both went to No. 1 on the mainstream rock charts, opened the door for Nickelback's brand of sincere musicianship. "How You Remind Me" topped the pop charts, Silver Side Up
went platinum six times over, and Nickelback were suddenly the biggest rock band in the land.
Playing It Safe but Getting Kinky on Follow-Up:
Two years later, Nickelback returned with The Long Road. Despite a lack of a "How You Remind Me"-style breakout smash, The Long Road still sold over 3 millions copies in the U.S. If Silver Side Up established Nickelback's sound, The Long Road simply followed the blueprint, resulting in a less exciting record. "Someday" was the mid-tempo hit, but the kinky "Figured You Out" proved to be more interesting: a dark rocker about an unhealthy sexual relationship built around debasement and drugs.
Full Speed Ahead:
By the time of 2005's All the Right Reasons, Nickelback were synonymous with soulless corporate rock in the minds of many hipsters. But if anything, All the Right Reasons proved that Nickelback – assisted by new drummer Daniel Adair – were even more popular than before. The lead single "Photograph," an affectingly nostalgic song about Chad Kroeger's teen years, went to No. 2 on the pop charts, and four singles hit the Top 10 of the mainstream rock charts. Nickelback weren't evolving musically, but their meat-and-potatoes hard rock was clearly still in high demand. All the Right Reasons sold 7 million copies.
Looking Ahead to 2008:
In 2008, Nickelback signed with Live Nation for concert promotion and album distribution. Additionally, the group announced that their next album, Dark Horse
, would hit shelves in November with first single "Gotta Be Somebody" coming to radio at the end of September.
Daniel Adair – drums
Chad Kroeger – vocals, guitar
Mike Kroeger – bass
Ryan Peake – guitar
Key Nickelback Songs:
"How You Remind Me" (Purchase/Download
"Too Bad" (Purchase/Download
"Figured You Out" (Purchase/Download
"Gotta Be Somebody" (Purchase/Download
Silver Side Up
The Long Road
All the Right Reasons
Here and Now
- Before they became superstars, Nickelback opened for acts like Creed and 3 Doors Down.
- Silver Side Up was released on September 11, 2001, the same day as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
- Chad Kroeger collaborated on Santana's 2002 album Shaman, singing on the song "Why Don't You & I."
- "Side of a Bullet" from All the Right Reasons was written in response to the 2004 onstage murder of Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, who was a friend of Nickelback.
- Before joining Nickelback, Daniel Adair was the drummer for 3 Doors Down.