There’s always been a division in liking Nickelback; that’s common knowledge.
With their hard-hitting anthemic bangers and their dirty rock odes to debauchery and the good times, you might argue that since the release of 2017’s 'Feed The Machine', and indeed to some degree 'No Fixed Address' and 'Here And Now', the universal themes of socio-political discontent could be cause for unity for anyone that hears their music.
“I don’t know if that’s what it is or people just got tired of saying the same stuff about us over and over again,” laughs bassist Mike Kroeger.
“It looks exhausting, just so hard to hate all the time – they might have to change targets to take a break. I don’t entirely understand all of that, we’re just doing what we’ve always done.”
Mike attests that Nickelback have always maintained they write songs in a style of music they like which luckily, is what their fans like too. Aside from keeping the fans happy, there’s not a great deal of deliberation or consideration when it comes to penning new music – Nickelback are just being themselves.
Despite the “controversy” surrounding the more X-rated thematic input of some of their songs, Nickelback have given people a free pass and said it’s okay to like music about getting down and dirty – and they’ve been rather clever in sneaking in tracks that say there’s something up with the world.
Of course, a response from Mike on such mature observations isn’t without its boyish charm. “It’s okay to write songs about strippers and getting drunk and things like that when you’re a little younger," he says.
“When you’re a little older it starts to not look so good on ya. You try and evolve passed that – poor Chad has to sing all those songs still! Live, when we’re on tour, he has to sing songs he wrote when he was a youngest ne’er-do-well – now he’s an older ne’er-do-well.
“You know, you try to evolve and there have been a number of social commentaries that have been really easy to weigh in on musically, especially things like when we wrote 'Here And Now'.
"There was the period of these numerous despots being overthrown or at least challenged – people in the streets making their voices heard so it made songs like ‘Edge Of A Revolution’ kind of fit well.”
While Mike’s brother, vocalist Chad Kroeger, may not relate to those more heinous songs he penned in his youth, Nickelback’s audience certainly do, that free pass valid and enjoyed by fans of all ages.
From teens to the mid-50s, there’s something about Nickelback that people love and it gives Nickelback a regenerative essence in their performances. “Well, the thing about it is,” Mike says giggling, “we learned early on that when people feel like they’re consuming something that’s perceived as inappropriate, it makes them love it all the more.
“Our demographic of people, you can’t nail our fans down to one type or age of person – you’ll see everyone, kids in the single digit years up to our legions of senior citizen fans that are out there too.
“There’s no way to pigeonhole our people as Nickelback fans, which we’re very grateful that many people from different walks of life are tuning in and coming to our rock shows.”
As Mike adds, you can’t really tell a Nickelback fan from a non-Nickelback fan, save the online trolling, and that’s very much a credit to their music. “I’d say it has a wide appeal. It’s not so exclusive that people hear it and go ‘ugh, that’s not for me’. It’s acceptable. People can listen to it no matter who you are.
“It’s also a gift that my brother can write songs that way, that so many people can relate to, it’s a tremendous gift.”
Billboard magazine said it best: 'Nickelback provide affordable fun that promises good returns', and that rings true whether they’re singing about consequence-less sex, drugs and rock & roll or taking their stand on the state of the world. “I would humbly accept that as a compliment,” Mike laughs.
Nickelback Australia Tour 2019Wed 13 Feb - Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Fri 15 Feb - Qudos Bank Arena (Sydney)
Sat 16 Feb - Rod Laver Arena (Melbourne)