Nickelback (1995-present): a Hard Rock band from Hanna, Alberta, Canada.
hey have been the butt of jokes and scorn in their homeland for various and inexplicable reasons and in some circles to say you like them is like saying you are a wife-beating child hater who molests puppies! The phrase, "I want my nickel back" (meaning: demand your money back if you see them) is common. This rage seems to come from those who believe Nickelback are boring formulaic sell-out hacks. OK, Groundbreaking? They are not. But they are a pure mainstream post-grunge hard rock band that knows how to deliver anthemic, party-on songs both on record and in concert to a global fanbase. Their fanbase has purchased over 50 million albums so far and the act is listed as one of the top act's of the early 2000's; they have also maintained a devout following both at home and internationally. The band ranked at 7 on the Billboard top artist of the decade list, with four albums among the publication's top albums of the decade.
OK, so now that everyone has finished sticking their tongues out at each other we can discuss the serious matter of the band's history. The band was formed in the early 1990s as a cover act called Village Idiot by brothers Mike (bass) and Chad Kroeger (lead vocals/lead guitar) with their cousin Brandon Kroeger (drums), along with Ryan Peake (rhythm guitar/backing vocals/keyboards). Soon later, they changed their name to Nickelback, a name originating from the nickel (5 cent coin in Canada) as change Mike Kroeger often gave customers during his job at coffee franchise Starbucks; he would frequently say, "Here's your nickel back." At this time, the band performed covers of songs from Led Zeppelin and Metallica. When Chad Kroeger then asked his step-father to give him $4,000 so that the band could record their first demo, a seven-track EP of original material, called Hesher (1996). The band reportedly spent half the money to record the EP, and the other half on magic mushrooms.
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In 1996, the band recorded and released their first full-length album, Curb. The song Fly was included on both Hesher and Curb and was the first single produced entirely by Nickelback. In 1997, Brandon Kroeger left; Mitch Guindon replaced him briefly, but he left in 1998. While initially reported he departure was due to him starting a new job, his departure was really due to him "not [being] meant for the road" and Chad Kroeger convinced him to leave. In Summer 1998, Ryan Vikedal assumed the position.
'Roadrunner' A&R man Ron Burman got wind of the act's sold out shows from one of his scouts and their next album, The State, was released in 2000 by 'Roadrunner Records' and 'EMI Canada'. The album spawned four singles in the form of Old Enough, Worthy to Say, Leader of Men and Breathe; the last two being top 10 rock hits. The album was the band's first to be certified gold and it later went to platinum status in 2008, after the success of their follow-up albums. The album entered the Billboard 200 at 130 but peaked at number 3 in the Billboard Top Heatseekers albums chart, and peaked 6 on the Billboard Top Independent albums chart.
Written before the release of The State, the follow-up album, Silver Side Up (2001), peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 with over 177,000 copies sold in its first week and peaked at number one at the Canadian albums chart, making it the band's first album to do so. The single How You Remind Me was a number one single on the Mainstream and Modern rock charts, as well as the pop charts. It also peaked at number two on Adult Top 40 and became the Billboard Hot 100 number one single of the year for 2002. The next single, Too Bad, also reached number one on the Mainstream Rock Chart. The final single from the album, Never Again, which also hit number one on Mainstream Rock.
In 2002, Chad Kroeger collaborated with Josey Scott on the Spider-Man movie theme song, Hero.
In August 19, 2002, an incident occurred while the band was performing at the Ilha do Ermal festival in Portugal. While performing the second song of their set, Chad Kroeger was sprayed with a full bottle of water hurled from somewhere within the audience. After finishing the song, Chad asked the crowd, "Do you want to hear some rock 'n' roll or do you want to go home?" A person in the audience then threw a rock at Chad's head. The band then left stage, with Chad and Vikedal giving the finger to the audience as they left. The entire incident was recorded by the record label and released on their website.
The next album, The Long Road (2003), went certified 3 times Platinum. It debuted at 6 on the Billboard 200. This was their first album produced by Joey Moi, a former classmate of the band's.
Just after New Year's Day 2005, Vikedal was replaced by 3 Doors Down drummer Daniel Adair. All the Right Reasons (2005) resulted to sell over 7 million units. The album yielded five US Hot 100 top 20 singles, Photograph, Savin' Me, Far Away, If Everyone Cared and Rockstar. The album also sold more than 12 million singles and over 9 million ringtones. The album also made Nickelback the first band in Nielsen BDS history to have 5 singles on the CHR charts. The album also included appearances by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, who played a guitar solo on the song Follow You Home and backing vocals on Rock Star, as well; as a posthumously sampled appearance by Chad Kroeger's friend Dimebag Darrell from Pantera, culled from guitar outtakes.
Although Dark Horse (2008) was certified two times platinum in April 2009, and had by April 2010, sold over 3 million copies in the US alone, critical reception of the album was mostly mixed to negative. Nonetheless they pressed on with Here and Now (2011) as well as promotional appearances at the halftime shows for both an NFL Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field in Detroit on November 24 of that year, and the 99th Grey Cup in Vancouver on November 27.
The next album, No Fixed Address would be released by 'Republic Records' in 2014 and featured as guest appearance by from American rapper Flo Rida. Some of the tracks marked a departure in style for the band. The album title was inspired by the fact that the album was recorded in many different places.
On August 19, 2016, Nickelback released a cover of Don Henley's classic 80s track Dirty Laundry to streaming services.
'BMG' would release the act's ninth album, Feed the Machine (2017). Get Rollin' would follow in 2022.
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Nickelback at AMAs 2011 Red Carpet.
Photo by: JKMusicGroup - Mika Newton, Troy Harley and Julia Kurbatova at American Music Awards 2011.
(CC BY 3.0)
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