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NICKELBACK The Line Between Love And Hate

Nickelback
Nickelback

“You have to have a sense of humour and be able to laugh at yourself. If someone’s trying to be rude to us, but it’s done in a creative and clever way, then it’s hilarious. You can tell when people are just being gratuitous and trying to make fun of you. But hey, if you can make it funny, then I’m all for it.”

Nickelback return our way with a show at Perth Arena on Tuesday, May 26. TYSON WRAY looks at one of the world’s most despised yet loved bands.

I fucking love Nickelback. I think they are, quite simply, one of the most incredible bands of all-time – and I say this with no jest.
​They are truly one of the greatest inspirations in my life. The reasoning for this adoration is not because I feel that they write meticulously complex musical motifs, that their lyricism reaches emotional poignancy deeper than Marianas Trench, or that their own ardour for their artistic endeavours is unyielding in spite of an ever-challenging global climate.
​No, my love for Nickelback comes not from any adherence to the concept that personal illumination can be reached via a spiritual connection with music. I find Nickelback inspiring because they are quintessential proof that you can be successful by taking people that hate you and manipulating them to your advantage by simply just not giving a fuck.
​Alongside socioeconomics and politics, Nickelback are one of the greatest representatives of the divide between the cross-cultures of contemporary society. In my own social circles (and those adjoined) not a single person would consider themself a fan. In fact, the only person I know of that genuinely loves Nickelback is Joe Hockey, because the cigar-smoking entitled dickhead constantly tweets about them.
​However, Nickelback’s popularity is undeniable – and it is gargantuan. Over the course of 12 world tours they have sold more than eight million tickets. Their 2005 record, All the Right Reasons, spent 112 consecutive weeks in Billboard’s Top 200 and sold more than 11 million copies. In fact, with their overall worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million, their status as the best-selling foreign act of the 21st century in the US is edged out by only The Beatles.
​To put it in layman’s terms: if you hate Nickelback, everyone around you hates Nickelback. If you love Nickelback, everyone around you loves Nickelback. It’s in this segregated sense that they are a fascinating anomaly.
​”If your name is ubiquitous, well then, it’s a double-edged sword,” laughs Ryan Peake, guitarist and backing vocalist for the group. “If your name is out there all of the time, then people see you and they hear about you. Whether it’s good or bad. It all goes back to that old saying, ‘There’s no such thing as bad press.’”
​According to this ideology, Nickelback are unrivalled. For whatever reason, since their formation in 1995, the group have found themselves at the butt of every joke that any meandering music journalist could muster. Yet, it’s this constant compulsion to allude to their supposed lack of artistic merit that has led to the continuation of their global success. A reply to a tweet, a comment on a Facebook status, any form of self-publication of your distaste for this band will expose them to people who, unbeknownst to you, enjoy their music, thus perpetuating their status and allowing them to reach a new fan base. You – the hater – fuel their success. Try to get your head around that fucker of a paradox.
​”I can’t exactly say that this is how I envisioned my career would go,” chuckles Peake. “But, you are what you are, you can’t control how people perceive you. If people like you, that’s great, but if they don’t then they just don’t. You’ve just got to get ready for whatever they have to throw at you.”
​Peake and the rest of the band are incredibly self-aware, which allows them to jovially take any e-abuse in their stride. “We make fun of ourselves pretty badly backstage,” he laughs. “We’re always making fun of Chad’s (Kroeger, lead vocalist and guitarist) various haircuts. You have to have a sense of humour and be able to laugh at yourself. If someone’s trying to be rude to us, but it’s done in a creative and clever way, then it’s hilarious. You can tell when people are just being gratuitous and trying to make fun of you. But hey, if you can make it funny, then I’m all for it. I truly am. I’m a huge fan of comedy. Just, if you’re going to screw with us, make sure you get it right.
​”People think that we care,” notes Peake when detailing their intake of hate mail via various channels. “But really, we just truly, truly don’t care. We know where we sit. We know about the sentiments that people have about our band. But we know how to use this to our advantage. I’m living extremely well. Surely that’s the best revenge for anything? I see hateful comments and they just bounce off me. I’ve got a great life, I’ve got a great family and I get to go and play music for a living. That’s it. There’s really nothing that can knock me off that high.”