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Nickelback: The right moves for the right reasons

There are two types of people in the world: those who enjoyed at least one of the several singles unearthed by Nickelback’s 2005 chart topping monster All The Right Reasons, and those who are completely lying to themselves that they didn’t.

And if that was the last Nickelback album you heard before hitching your wagon to the meme of hate, well you played yourself, with every album after debuting at the pointy end of charts around the world. If album sales count for anything – which we damn well know they do – Nickelback are yet to lose a step.

Bookend that with their habit of selling out stadiums, particularly in Australia where they enjoy one of their strongest markets, these Nickelback tidbits dovetail nicely into the conclusion that since their inception, this Canadian titan has made all the right moves.

2020 marks fifteen years since the release of All The Right Reasons, and the band have given it the sweet fifteenth it deserves, with a re-release stacked with curiosities, out Friday, 2nd October. To mark the release, we caught up with bassist Mike Kroeger where we learned these right moves were all made for the right reasons.

If you had the DeLorean in your garage, and you could go back in time to fifteen years ago, what kind of forewarning would you give yourself about what was to come with All The Right Reasons?

It’s the same advice that I would give my kids. And that is just: “Get ready and enjoy it. Enjoy the ride.” And we were ready, and we did enjoy the ride. So I was lucky. I wasn’t wrong-headed on the way into this thing. We were well-ready, and we’ve worked hard. And we had a great time with it, and continue to have a great time with it really.

This was the third consecutive number one for you guys. How does that manifest itself? Do you walk into that studio with a level of confidence because you’ve been reaffirmed in your decision-making? Or is it crushing, insurmountable pressure to do it a third time?

It’s both. It’s both because you feel that confidence of what’s behind you. So you’re confident that you can do it because you did it. But you’re right, there is also the pressure of the future. So you’re confident in the past, and you’re motivated by the future, that you’ve got to deliver again.

There’s this joke that we all in our band laugh about, this long-running joke that every time we were in production of an album, no matter whether it was the first or the most recent, there’s always somebody, usually a record company person saying, “This is the most important album of your career.” It’s like, “Come on. We already know that they’re all important.” But it was every time. It was, “This is the most important.”

The first time you hear it is like, “Okay, wow, guys.” And then when you hear it eight more times, it’s sort of like, “Okay. Right. And so what you’re really saying is they’re all important.” You take that for what it’s worth, which is it’s worth a lot.

When you look back at the record, does anything stand out for you as one of those moments, perhaps, when you found yourself looking around the room thinking, “Holy shit. I’m in an awesome band!”

Every record we make, there’s moments where something happens. Chad’ll write something, and we’ll just all be like, “Oh my God. That’s great.” Or you have a happy accident in the studio, again, like you said, you just looked around, and you’re like, “This is just the best job in the world.”

Basically, ‘Rockstar’ is just one big happy accident. I think there might’ve been moments when we didn’t even think we were going to release it for sure. It was really a lark. It was really fun. We had a really nice time writing it, and we had a few drinks and got laughy and wrote some ridiculous lyrics, and just came up with these hilarious images. And we were just laughing our heads off the whole time we wrote that song. And not taking it seriously at all. And it was just fun. That was probably one of the most fun songs ever recorded.

It was the same lineup for All the Right Reasons as it is today. Now, that’s incredibly rare for bands at your level. What’s the trick?

Oh boy. I wish I could tell you there’s a trick, or a secret. It’s the same trick and secret that it is to be a good husband or a good father. It’s a choice. And it’s work. You’ve got to be serious about these relationships and work on them. They don’t just happen. And if you don’t take care of them, they don’t survive. So you’ve got to take care of them.

I imagine that means some really healthy storming out of the studio and stomping around the block and coming back with a clean mind.

Oh shit, yeah. Yeah. Lots of that. Absolutely. definitely.

Where does the release of the expanded version put the band? I imagine you guys must be incredibly keen to get back on stage, but that’s not so easy these days.

Well, right now, we’re seeing some of these livestreams and things happen. And it does give your fans something. Not to disparage anybody doing livestreams or virtual concerts or whatever. I get it. It gives your fans something, but it’s definitely not a substitute for a live show.

And that’s really what we built this thing on, is live shows. So it’s hard for us to think that we can provide over a computer screen, or a phone screen, what we want to get out there…It’s difficult. Our live shows, we really like to blow things up. We really like it to be big. And big isn’t really something you can do through the screen of an iPhone, coming out of that little one centimetre speaker.

That’s not going to work. So it’s difficult. We’ve learned that sometimes what you don’t do is as important as what you do.

We may, or we may not. But I can tell you one thing, when it comes time to get back on the road, we’re going to come out shooting, man. We’re going to get out there and leave a mark.