“We’ve become a meme of sorts, that’s just what people say. Frankly, I’m sure a lot of those people are buying tickets for the shows and the albums too, so who cares?”
Canadian rock band Nickelback are heading back this way for a show at Perth Arena on Tuesday, May 26. SHANE PINNEGAR speaks to bass player, Mike Kroeger, and finds a down-to-earth, regular sounding guy looking forward to the tour.
Despite having sold over 50 million records worldwide in their 20 year career to date, Nickelback remain the brunt of almost every music joke and hateful sentiment from one end of the internet to the other.
Bass player, Mike Kroeger, is philosophical about the negativity levelled at his band.
“Well, no-one likes to see a winner,” he sighs, “and that’s okay. Programming people is a very real thing. There was a guy who said once that if you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes true and people will believe it.
“People can be easily programmed to get kinda like Pavlov’s Dog on something. It’s like, ‘say the first word that comes to mind: Nickelback – sucks.’ Okay, Pavlov’s Dog, done. We’ve become a meme of sorts, that’s just what people say. Frankly, I’m sure a lot of those people are buying tickets for the shows and the albums too, so who cares? People just say things and I really just have a hard time with that vitriol and I think it’s all just these kinds of people saying what they think everybody else wants to hear.
“No-one wants to get challenged. The people that are left-wing politically, they go to the media that skew to the left. The people that are right-wing politically, they skew to the right-wing media. So they’re not going there to get challenged or to get any new information. They’re going someplace where everybody’s going to say things that they already agree with.
“Everybody wants to go somewhere where everybody’s saying the shit they already agree with. This is a very similar thing, it’s like the twisty moustache crowd say all the same things because that’s what they all believe and that’s cool too. It’s just normal, it’s just people. People don’t want to get challenged.”
According to Kroeger, this will be the band’s “fourth or fifth visit” to our shores, and he thinks he’s played some of his best shows ever in Australia.
“I feel Australia has got to be the most laid-back country,” he enthuses. “Everything just feels relaxed to me. I think that’s why I feel like we’ve had some of our best shows because we’re relaxed. I don’t know, we just like it.
“Everybody is cool. You use words that in Canada or in America we don’t use very much. There’s one word in particular that I really like that you guys use…”
What follows is a surreal exchange in which a member of one of the world’s biggest bands laughs loudly at our perceived use of a word too naughty to print in this esteemed publication.
“That’s what you call your best friend!! You call them a c***! You call all your best friends, ****s!!” he laughs excitedly, “When somebody calls you ‘mate’ and you don’t know them, then there’s a really good chance you might be in a fight. It’s really hard to explain to people that have never been to Australia how your best friends are all c***s and your mates are the guys that you might punch in the face. It’s difficult for people to understand!”
I might just go and give those Nickelback albums another go.