Five things we learned from our In Conversation video chat with Nickelback

The Canadian band dig into their new album ‘Get Rollin’, relive the highs of their 25-year career and tell NME why they don't take themselves too seriously

When Nickelback released their first album more than 25 years ago, they had to “beg, borrow, or steal enough money” just to rent studio time or find a decent engineer. “That was rough because we had to say ‘good enough’ so many times,” frontman Chad Kroeger tells NME in New York days before the release of the band’s tenth studio album ‘Get Rollin’. “With this last record, the pace was so lax: there was no hurry, no rush. That type of vibe lends itself to creativity.”

That creativity resulted in ‘Get Rollin’, which aims to inspire “wonderful emotions” because, as Kroeger says, “music’s supposed to be about escapism”. Recorded during lockdown at his home studio in Vancouver with his brother Mike (bass), Ryan Peake (guitar) and Daniel Adair (drums), the band say that for this LP they took a different approach to their 2017 record ‘Feed The Machine’ by instead focusing on “a good time vibe”.

‘Get Rollin’ is packed with the stadium-ready guitar riffs Nickelback fans have come to expect, with ‘San Quentin’, a driving track about Kroeger’s real life run-in with a prison warden, kicking off the album. But with tracks like ‘Tidal Wave’ the band also venture into melodic, indie-rock territory, with lyrics that compare love to a wave surge because “it’s something really exciting, and you better enjoy it while it lasts”.


For the latest instalment of NME’s In Conversation series, Nickelback discuss the highlights of their 25-year career, why they’ve never taken themselves too seriously, and how they took a different sonic route with ‘Get Rollin’.

‘Tidal Wave’ is “fantastic, because it doesn’t really sound like us”

The relaxed vibe of ‘Get Rollin’ is “a bit of a left turn for some fans,” Peake says. Despite that, the band feel that trusting their instincts and going in a new direction was the right call to make in the studio. “It’s one of those things where it’s nice to be able to trust your gut,” he adds. “Your gut can send you in a few different directions, and some people get a little apprehensive about following that, but it’s always served us.”

The band point to ‘Tidal Wave’, a track that made it onto the album at the eleventh hour, as a positive example of following their intuition. “That song’s fantastic, because it didn’t really sound like us. Anything that sounds not like us I love,” Peake jokes. The band also credit the loyalty of their fans as a reason for why they can be more imaginative with their music. “I don’t think other bands that are stuck in a genre can do that, [where] their fans go, ‘Oh that’s great’ or ‘I believe that’ or accept that it’s canon,” Peake says. “But I think it totally fits our repertoire.”

A “misrepresentation” of Nickelback has made them look like “shitheads”

According to Kroeger, Nickelback have never taken themselves seriously and “there has been some misrepresentation of the band”. Adair agrees, adding that the fans that go to their gigs can immediately see the levity of their music. “During the shows, people are truly entertained, and there’s always good reports after [about] Chad’s awesome banter on stage and how much fun we have,” he says. “They don’t walk away going, ‘Those guys just look like pricks.’”

“I’ve been saying this for a while,” Kroeger continues. “The four of us will do a photoshoot and we’ll take pictures for hours goofing off with big smiles, and it’s nothing but levity. Then right at the end, they go, ‘Alright guys, give us a little attitude’. We tighten up our faces, go a little stoic, and bang, that’s the one they use every single time.” He adds that the effect of that leads to people saying “look at these shitheads, they’re just taking themselves so seriously”.


The Canadian band also say that their lyrics clearly point to their sense of humour. “We’ve got songs that start off with, ‘I like your pants around your feet,’ and songs where the hook is, ‘You look so much cuter with something in your mouth,'” Kroeger jokes, referring to their tracks ‘Figured You Out’ and ‘Something In Your Mouth’. “We’re laughing to ourselves going, ‘Could you imagine if they play this on the radio?’ And both those songs went to Number One in the US. That’s hilarious.”

Nickelback on 9/3/01 in Chicago, Il (Picture: Paul Natkin/WireImage)

They have “imposter syndrome” over their upcoming Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction

Although Nickelback have spent 25 years topping the charts, the band were “gobsmacked” to learn that they will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame next year during the 2023 Juno Awards in Edmonton. “I didn’t believe it at first,” Peake says of the honour. “I thought they got the band name wrong.”

Though it feels “pretty great” to be honoured by their home country, Nickelback still have some self-doubt when it comes to such lofty recognition. “It feels like we have a bit of impostor syndrome, where you don’t feel like you have any business being among the people that are there,” Peake explains. “I don’t know if I feel deserving of it, but I’m very happy they decided that.”

Nickelback also say that they think the honour could’ve gone to “more seasoned artists”, with Kroeger adding: “I feel like we’re too young for this. We should be, like, another 15 years older before we get inducted into anything.” Peake jumps in, laughing: “I want to see somebody go, ‘It’s about damn time!'”

Nickelback will likely release a documentary in 2023

While on tour for ‘Feed The Machine’ in 2018, the band hinted that they were working on a documentary. Two years later, Peake told fans via Twitter that it was “very close to being released”. However, Nickelback say that the film, which they refer to as “Ryan’s baby”, isn’t quite ready for release yet.

“Well, it’s done,” Peake tells NME. “I feel a little sheepish about it, because at the beginning of the pandemic we were like, ‘Oh, tour’s cancelled, let’s get this documentary out as fast as possible.’” At the time, the guitarist thought that the process would only take a few months, before then realising: “Wow, was I off”. Peake has been polishing the project over the past two years, adding that his work on the documentary has the rest of the band thinking he’s a “perfectionist” (“That documentary is never coming out,” Kroeger jokes).

Peake disagrees, saying that the documentary should be out by “the beginning” of 2023, adding that first “we’ve got to make sure we’re all happy with how this is being portrayed… mark my word, it’s happening.”

‘Get Rollin’ is a “weird conglomeration” of all of their musical inspirations 

‘High Time’, a track that starts off with the sound of a van being started up before someone inhales deeply and then coughs, was another “left field” moment for Nickelback that sees them leaning into what Kroeger calls a “‘70s country sort-of-rock thing”. The track is one of a number of multiple moments on ‘Get Rollin’ where the band tap into their wealth of musical inspirations before then heading into new sonic territory.

“When I was growing up, [I listened to] everything from Michael Jackson to Def Leppard,” Kroeger says. “Once we started playing instruments in the late ‘80s, I was listening to a lot of Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax: think heavy, guitar-driven [music]. I think that’s what I was leading to.

“Everything we do [now] is this weird conglomeration. It’s a melting pot of music,” he adds. “You don’t know where you’re pulling it from, but it’s just everything you’ve listened to.”