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Nickelback for more By Anthony Charron, Up! Magazine

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Nickelback for More
By Anthony Charron
Oct 1, 2005
Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger

With their fifth album, All the Right Reasons, dropping worldwide this month, Canadas rock radio juggernauts hope to pick up where their previous releases Silver Side Up and The Long Road left off. Also likely to pick up is the critical backlash that seems to accompany any Canadian act that earns international status.
Regardless, its difficult not to respect a bunch of guys from the Alberta Badlands who, just a few years ago, were playing covers in small bars and clubs across the country. A relentless touring schedule lit the fuse for the international superstardom that followed. up! recently spoke with Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger about the new album, growing up in a town of 3,000 people, and why sleeping in is the best part of success.
Your new album features some new instrumentals for Nickelback, most notably piano and strings. Did you come into this album trying to take a new approach?
No, actually it was all an accident. We would come into the studio and there would be new textures just sitting there. Our guitar tech Tim Timmy Dawson laid down this piano part [for Savin Me] and said, What do you think of this, you guys?
We really try to promote and encourage that [experimentation] amongst everyone who is in the room. If youve got a part or an idea, please dont hesitate to bring it up. There is no keep your ideas to yourself.
[Dawson] came up with this piano part, and in the first couple notes I was like I dont know, and then all of a sudden it just hit me, it struck me and I loved the texture. I think it was the idea that scared me more than anything else piano in a Nickelback song but once we heard it I thought it was beautiful We did a lot of strings on the record as well, just experimenting with a lot of different textures. Thats a lot of fun. If youre just meat and potatoes all the time it can get a little stagnant and a little boring. It feels like this new life has been breathed into the band.
What was it like to return to your hometown of Hanna, Alberta, to do a video shoot for Photograph, the albums first single?
Thats an incredible trip down memory lane. I mean, the feelings of nostalgia are just overwhelming when you go back there and you see these faces that you havent seen in 10 years, and you get to catch up with your friends and find out what theyve been doing. Just to see the places that you havent seen and the memories just come flooding back. It was really, really cool.
How do you think growing up in a small town like Hanna influenced you personally?
I think that it helps keep you grounded and to keep perspective. When you come from a small town, youre not really as faceless and lacking identity as you can sometimes be when you grow up in a city. It can seem like youre just one of a thousand kids in a high school. There were 160 kids at my high school, so everybody knows everybody and everybody knows what everybody is doing. Its like having this big family.
In Photograph, you sing, I wonder if its too late, should I go back and try and graduate? Did you actually graduate from high school?
No, I didnt. I finished Grade 12, but I was a couple credits short and I just thought, You know what, Ive got this band waiting for me that wants to get out on the road and start singing songs.
We already had gigs booked and everything. We learned 50 tunes, 50 cover songs and went out there and started playing all these clubs and bars. Anybody we could get in front of we would play. I just thought I learned far more valuable life lessons in the year and a half that we were on the road playing cover songs than I could ever learn going to college or university. Its an amazing opportunity.
Youve worked as a producer for bands like Default and Theory of a Deadman, and also co-founded the record label 604 Records. Why the desire to delve deeper into the music industry?
Its not like it just happens to me. It happens to any band that gets out there and gets a little bit of a name. You just start getting inundated with other bands saying, Help us. I thought that there were good bands that werent getting enough attention. I wanted to help.
Default went on to sell a million records in the U.S. so I wasnt wrong. They were a good band that needed to get out there.
I really want to work with a female artist production-wise. It would just be very interesting to have no concerns about vocal range, due to the fact that most women have a more versatile range than men. Just to develop this artist, try and take them from nobody knowing their first name to absolute stardom, I think that would be the coolest ridehave nothing to do with being in the limelight and just watch somebody else go through the whole thing.
You began playing guitar at 13. When did you know that being a musician was what you wanted to do with your life?
I think fifteen minutes after I got that guitar I knew what I wanted to do. It is one of the greatest feelings ever when you hit your first power chord on a guitar and you instantly feel like every one of your guitar heroes. Whether youre good or not, it doesnt stop you from feeling that way. You try and emulate other people and thats where the bug starts. From the first minute you play a song for somebody and they look at you and say, Hey that wasnt half bad, thats the bug right there. If you can entertain someone with your instrument.
Youve done a ton of touring and travelling all over the world. What are some of the places that stand out in your mind?
Australia, hands down. We love touring Australia. The Southern States, too, because it really has that CCR, born-on-the-bayou kind of vibe to it. Thats always a lot of fun. Playing Scandinavian countries and Japan. There are a lot of great places on the planet that a lot of people dont get to go to in their lifetime, and we feel very fortunate to see them and perform in a lot of those places.
What about here in Canada?
Well, Alberta always has that soft spot. There is a bit of a debate going on as to where Nickelback is from and I always say the same thing. Three of the band members are from Alberta and one of the band members is from Surrey [B.C.], but Nickelback started in Vancouver. Edmonton likes to try and claim us. Calgary tries to claim us. Vancouver tries to claim us. Thats a great feeling when everybody is trying to lay claim to the band. I mean, Winnipeg for a while tried to claim us [laughs].
With your success, youve probably had ample opportunity to relocate anywhere in the world. Why stay in Vancouver?
Vancouver is a great place. We did kind of want to get away from the snow, and the West Coast is a beautiful place to live. When the sun is shining in Vancouver, it is heaven on earth. Not only dont you have to shovel rain, a little rain never hurt anybody and 40-below weather can sting once in a while.
What do you do on the road to keep from getting road-weary with all the travelling you do?
I buy toys when Im on the road anything with a motor and either handlebars or a steering wheel that can fit underneath the bus in one of the loading bays. Thats always a great way to keep your mind off stuff. I buy quads or little mini-bikes or go-carts and stuff like that. When were playing these big festivals and weve got five hours to kill out in the middle of nowhere and you go ripping around all the hills, its a lot of fun.
What advice do you have for anyone living in a place like Hanna or smaller communities all over the world with dreams of making music?
Well, unfortunately, the first thing you have to do is move away from those small communities because there are so many opportunities that exist in the large cities due to population alone, obviously. If you play in a band or if youre a model or want to be an Olympic athlete you should probably move to the nearest large center preferably the nearest large centre that supports what you want to do and make as many contacts as you possibly can. Learn as much as you can about the field and then never give up. Dont let anybody ever tell you that you are not good enough. Just follow your heart and work really hard. Dreams do come true.
What do you think is the best part about being a rock star?
The opportunity to sleep in once in a while. I never take it for granted. Ive worked as a roofer, a telemarketer, in a warehouse. Ive done just about every job on the planet and I hated getting up early in the morningIts not just a rock star thing. Anybody who is their own boss that actually gets to sleep in until 10 oclock or 11 oclock is very, very fortunate.
Every job has its downside. Whats yours?
It can sometimes be the hours. They are not set and you dont get paid for overtime [laughs]. Ive been at video shoots for 18 hours at a time. It can be very difficult and really thats about it. Its just the long days and travelling on days when you really dont want to be travelling. One of our tours was 18 months and towards the end of that I really didnt want to see another airport.

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