Nickelback talks Music Hall of Fame, and laughing off the hate

The iconic, the best-selling, the Juno award-winning, the Grammy nominated, and the made-fun-of. Since the release of their third album, Silver Side Up, in 2001, Nickelback have made an international career out of the thick, chuggy guitar chords indicative of their style.

And now that contribution is becoming official. The band will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2023, for remaining “at the forefront of the music scene in Canada and around the world,” over the past two decades, organizers said in a release. 

Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger performs during Fire Aid for Fort McMurray in Edmonton on Wednesday June 29, 2016. The band will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2023 — despite the hate they sometimes receive. (Amber Bracken/Canadian Press)

Lasting this long, let alone receiving that honour, isn’t something they expected. 

“We didn’t see any of this coming,” Chad Kroeger said in a recent interview with CBC. “I don’t know whose idea this was; I don’t know how this got pushed through. But it’s just, it just doesn’t feel real.”

“When you’re being honoured by your peers in your home country, that’s a hell of an award. That’s not something we take lightly at all”

WATCH | Nickelback still just ‘4 goofballs’ despite Hall of Fame induction: 

But while selling out concerts around the world, and creating one of the best-selling music catalogues ever to come from the country, the band has been the butt of a longstanding joke. From Rolling Stone readers once naming them the second worst band of the 1990s, to Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney proclaiming “rock and roll is dying because people became okay with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world,” everyone seems to have an opinion on whether they’re really any good.

“We just sit and kind of watch that,” said member Ryan Peake. “You’re like, you’re watching it kind of take off. And then we always find when we meet people, we get this reaction of like, ‘Oh, it’s not really [this] serious rock band.”

“Just four goofballs,” Kroeger added. 

To them, it’s that attitude that’s led to their longevity. Over the span of their 21-year journey in the limelight, the group has pulled in a generation of fans, and now their kids. Alongside drummer Daniel Adair hearing their songs at every one of his kid’s hockey games (though Kroeger quickly added in “Wait, isn’t your wife the DJ?”), they recently shot back into the limelight when their track She Keeps Me Up went viral on TikTok.

Whether you agree with Carney or not, their connection to listeners is what’s led them get this far. They regularly sell out concerts around the world. When they put out an open call to appear in a new music video in Vancouver, they saw fans fly in from as far as Edmonton. Those same fans will defend them against the unending criticism and loudly proclaim their love for the band — in an interview with Pitchfork, even indie folk star Father John Misty went so far as to say “I want that on the record. ‘Farmer John Misery: I ride for Nickelback.'”

And with their first new album (Get Rollin’) in five years out this week, and the band currently embarking on their first tour in over three years, they say that’s what it’s all about. 

“If we’ve recorded anything that enhances your day, your week, your life in any way,” said Peake, “if we have brought joy in any way, shape or form to anyone’s life — then mission accomplished.”

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