Nickelback bassist Mike Kroeger began his interview with NHWeekend by giving props to a local band.
“I was just looking up one of my favorite bands, and I was pretty sure they’re from New Hampshire. There’s this group called Scissorfight. Totally awesome,” said Kroeger.
Nickelback does its homework on the Granite State. Kroeger said the band often researches what Nickelback songs are most favored in a particular area.
Nickelback — Kroeger, along with his brother, vocalist and guitarist Chad Kroeger, guitarist Ryan Peake and drummer Daniel Adair — continues its reign as one of rock’s most successful Canadian bands, with behemoth hits like “How You Remind Me,” “Rockstar” and “Photograph.”
The band will soon crisscross the United States on a summer tour, hitting the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford on Wednesday, July 17. Besides admiring New Hampshire’s home-grown sound, Mike Kroeger talked about the first time he heard Slayer, and what it feels like to settle down.
You like Scissorfight. Have you met them?
No. I’ve never seen them play live or met them, but I’m a huge fan. On one of my favorite records of theirs, there’s a song on it called “New Hampshire’s All Right If You Like Fighting.” That’s always left a real mark on me.
Maybe they’ll hear you like them, and you guys will hook up.
That’d be crazy. Yeah, that’d be cool.
What can fans expect from your show?
New Hampshire is going to be a down and dirty rock show. We’re going to get up there and crank it up and play everybody’s favorite song. That’s pretty much the plan at this point. We don’t do a whole lot of planning. I don’t even know exactly what’s going to happen.
How do you pick out the set list?
In each place we visit, we like to do research on what songs (go over well.) Just try to cater to people as best we can and then give the fans what they want. I know New Hampshire is known as a gritty place, and we intend to perform to that standard.
I read that Nickelback is interested in doing a Slayer covers album.
Yeah, this is a good one. As a journalist yourself, you realize the importance of context and how context can be manipulated. I can’t remember who I was talking to, but I know this got somewhat distorted, and then it was put on a wire and then everybody got it.
I said this in an interview with somebody in, I think, Australia, and then it got regurgitated and switched around and then reformatted it into this clickbait form. What I said was, “I would like to make a Slayer cover record or have a Slayer cover band or make a metal album.” I didn’t say (it involved) Nickelback … Like, ‘Hey, everybody, be outraged because Nickelback wants to make a heavy metal album.”
It’s surprising to hear you like metal.
I’m a metal head, love metal music, love Slayer in particular; they’re one of my favorites. And I would love to play that music, but I couldn’t speak for Nickelback in saying that we want to do a Slayer cover band or make a death-metal record.
That could be an awkward conversation with the band.
I know that the drummer, Daniel, he’s a big fan of metal. I don’t know if he wants to be in a metal band. He might. I know Chad and Ryan both like heavy metal, but I don’t know if they wanna make a record of it or play in a band that plays Slayer covers. I sincerely doubt it.
Was Slayer the first metal band you really got into?
I remember particular moments in my life when I heard a kind of music or a band for the first time, and I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. Slayer’s one of those.
I was skateboarding with friends and we had a little boombox with us. And I remember one of the guys put on a cassette tape … OK, here I go again dating myself … but anyway, (I) put on a cassette tape of the “Slayer, the Reign In Blood” album. I just sat down and I was like, “What on earth is that? What, what is this? I need to know what this is.” And it just got me. That’s one in particular that I remember distinctly socking me right between the eyes.
How do you like touring these days compared with Nickelback’s early career?
We’ve been spacing it out a little bit, as opposed to previous years when we would essentially live either on the road or in the studio, and never go home. But we also take some breaks. We have taken on a more civilized approach over the last couple of years.
Everybody’s got a home with their families and lives in whatever a normal life is. In about a week, we start rehearsals, and then we start doing some dartboard touring around North America.
You mentioned the band is a little more civilized these days. What do you consider “civilized?”
I don’t really like to go out much. I’m married, I got two kids, and I just like to be around them. And my children are getting to an age now where it’s looking like they’re getting ready to fly the nest. They’re 18 and 16, so I don’t know how much longer they’re going to be here. So I’m trying to enjoy that as much as I can and spend time with them. Just really being around is what it’s about. (To) wake up in the same place a few days in a row is cool, instead of waking up while I’m going 75 miles an hour on an interstate. I’ve been doing that for 20 years.
So that lifestyle gets old after a bit?
It starts to wear you out more as you get older. I remember fondly the days of drinking all night and getting up to play a rock show and drinking all night, playing a rock show, and so on. Just to pretty much repeat the cycle. I can’t get away with that anymore. I gotta sleep. I got to go to the gym, I got to eat right. I got to manage my stress.