We didn’t tell our story very well at the time: Nickleback at RDE24

The members of Canadian heavy metal rock band Nickleback, Chad Kroeger, Ryan Peake, Mike Kroeger and Brandon Kroeger grew up in a small town with only AM radio.

“The station we listened to was great for introducing new music to kids like us, but unfortunately we had no money, so it wasn’t very good for the advertisers. They played  Medadeath, Anthrax and other heavy bands…  that format ultimately went broke and it became a classic hits station or something,” Ryan Peake and Mike Kroeger explained.

Peak told the story of hearing the band’s first original song on radio. “I was at a work party when our first song was going to be played on the radio, so I convinced the restaurant to turn on that station, Fox. I was so excited, but when my colleagues heard it, they hated it. That dead-end job didn’t last long after that… then the music and song writing started to take off.”

Timing plays as much a part in success as the quality of the song. “It’s not just about the song, it’s  about having the right song at the right time,” said Kroeger

The song How You Remind Me, was played on the radio every 3 seconds somewhere in world during the naughties. “When you’re young and aim to take your rock music to the world, that’s everything you want.”

Radio airplay is still important to Nickleback, but air play is changing now with music streaming services and other new ways available to find music. Many young people are finding Nickleback’s music and discovering it because it is new music to them.

Generating publicity through outrage was another factor in the band’s success. “England is particularly good at outrage, it happened for Alice Cooper when he was naked in a poster with a snake. We had a marketing team that created some controversy around us and the songs leapt to the top. Metal fans bagged us for selling out, being vacuous… I’m really glad for all those people who bagged us, it contributed to our success.”

Making the film was an “interesting experiment” according to Kroeger. He feels the band “didn’t tell our story very well at the time, so no wonder many people formed opinions about us because we didn’t give them anything…

“We didn’t share enough of ourselves and create our own narrative, so it’s not unexpected that others created a narrative about us.

“Now it’s a good time to be Nickleback again. The longer we stay away it seems the better it gets. It’s still fun so we are touring again… when it stops being fun we will stop doing this.”

The band has now been convinced to show more of themselves in the upcoming film to reveal more about themselves than had been known in the past. “We have feelings and hearts, in this movie you get to see the human beings that we haven’t shown in the past. Unlike now, where music personalities share everything about themselves on line, at that time we didn’t want to give so much of ourselves over to engage with the fans.”

The  Nickleback film, Love To Hate, produced by Ben Sugar, will have limited release soon


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