Nickelback are, for all intents and purposes, a hometown band. Sure, Chad Kroeger and pals spent their youths rolling around in Hanna, AB, but the group’s biggest success came after releasing its second album, recorded in Burnaby. Since then, Kroeger has gone on to found local label 604 Records—home of Carly Rae Jepsen and Marianas Trench—build his dream rockstar house in Langley, and even put the Gastown steam clock on the cover of Nickelback’s 2011 album Here and Now. The group will doubtless receive a hometown welcome on Sunday (October 1) when they'll be lighting up Rogers Arena.
“Burn It to the Ground”. Singer Chad Kroeger had a tough upbringing. Abandoned by his father when he was only two years old and raised in semi-poverty by his single mom, the artist racked up a significant a rap sheet that would fuel lyrics like “criminal record says I broke in twice” and “cops hated us hanging out” on hit “Photograph”. As a bored teenager in rural Alberta, Kroeger was picked up for truancy, trespassing, and the theft of a small truck—and those were only the crimes where he was caught. "I honestly think if Nickelback hadn't worked out, I'd be in jail, on a charge of grand theft auto or trafficking," he told Classic Rock magazine. And on that note…
Turn it up. The police still hate Chad Kroeger. Or, more accurately, the Mounties of Prince Edward Island still hate Chad Kroeger. In November 2016, the Kensington Police Service threatened drunk drivers with the punishment of being trapped in a police cruiser with 2001’s Silver Side Up on the stereo. "When we catch you, and we will catch you, on top of a hefty fine, a criminal charge and a year's driving suspension we will also provide you with a bonus gift of playing the office's copy of Nickelback in the cruiser on the way to jail," their Facebook post read, alongside a photo of the record. "So please, let's not ruin a perfectly good unopened copy of Nickelback. You don't drink and drive and we won't make you listen to it." The band, however, doubtless took the jibe in its stride. "I don't think that all the haters and the critics know how many favours that they've done for us,” Kroeger told The Canadian Press two years earlier, addressing the creative backlash against the group. “Otherwise we would just be this just whatever band."
Unbreakable. It turns out decades of dealing with online insults helps you develop some pretty thick skin. So it was only natural the rockers offered some sage words to The Chainsmokers earlier this year, when Esquire dubbed the DJ duo the “Nickelback of EDM”. “You can’t please everyone, guys,” Nickelback guitarist Ryan Peake said in a video posted to Twitter after playing a “Nickelback-Chainsmokers mash-up that no one wanted to hear”. (His words, not ours.) Chad Kroeger even went on to advise the boys, during an interview with People, not to Google themselves.
Not ticked off. Despite his rockstar image, Kroeger is a genuinely nice guy—nice enough, in fact, to call off a number of engagements to help nurse his then-wife, Avril Lavigne, through Lyme disease. Between recording a new album and touring around the world, Kroeger spent as much time as possible with the “Boyfriend” singer, even when her symptoms were so bad that she couldn’t stand up to shower. The pair split after two years of marriage, but remain on good terms, spending Valentine’s Day together in 2016 and working on new music in March of that year.
Making the cut. Over the course of the band’s career, Chad Kroeger’s hair has stood out to critics and fans as much as the music itself. Variously compared to everything from Mr. Noodles to Jesus, and, as Straight music editor Mike Usinger suggested in 2008, a one-man tribute to the Cowardly Lion, the singer’s locks have inspired countless memes. (We’re talking everything from a child eating a bowl of Chad’s hair to the uncanny resemblance between his ‘do and the ears of a cocker spaniel.) In news to the haters, though, Kroeger isn’t a fan of his curly style either. “I was watching the ‘How You Remind Me’ video, and even I was disgusted,” he told Hello magazine. “My hair was terrible. It made me look so old. I was 26 and looked 37." Ironically, he dated a salon owner between 2002 and 2009.
*Addendum: an earlier version of this story reported that Rebecca Black was signed to 604 Records. That inaccuracy has been corrected.More