[INTERVIEW] Mike Kroeger of Nickelback

Nickelback. They’re the coriander of the music scene, you either love them or you hate them. People who don’t like Nickelback don’t like Nickelback fans and vice versa. Nickelback tour in Japan and Australia in 2019 through Live Nation, returning from their arena tour in 2016. Fortunately for me, a young Nickelback fan, I had an opportunity to have a chat with Mike Kroger, bassist of one of the biggest bands in the world. Listen to Nickelback’s new album Feed the Machine on all music streaming platforms or be cool and buy it on CD when you see them live.

Tell us about the new album Feed The Machine, are you excited to take it all around the world? What separates this one to your other records and what’s different about it?
It should definitely be linked with what we have done in the past to a degree. It was part of our intent to make it into a rock effort, and that was the biggest goal we had, just really focus on making a rock album. That was the goal and the aim and so far so good, we’ve heard that’s what other people interpret what we did so that’s nice.

What do you reckon the reaction from your fans was like compared to your other albums?
I’m glad that the people realise that we’re trying to make them a rock record. They appear to be happy about it and they appear to be good with us making a rock record. It’s a lot better response than we really expected – I don’t know why we would expect less – but after a while you wonder when you’re gonna put up some music and no one’s gonna care. So far we haven’t had that so thank goodness.

I remember seeing you guys at Qudos Bank Arena few years ago and remember you saying that you actually wrote and recorded a few of your songs in Sydney. How does it feel coming back and performing those same songs and even throwing a few cheeky new ones into the setlist?
It’s pretty interesting that is. There are certain times that we go on tour and we have written songs, and when you’re in those dressing rooms again and it’s like a repeating episode over and over and over again and you start to think; “oh I wrote this song in this dressing room” and it is really crazy to think about. We’re super excited to get back to Aus, we have a lot of love for Australia and it seems like Australia has a lot of love for us too. We really enjoyed there and tell me from Canada It’s not that much different really. I think that it’s like Canada with better weather and that’s pretty much my interpretation. We just love Australia and the people are so fantastic

You guys are one of the most loved and unfortunately one of the most despised bands of all time, how do you personally and as a band deal with the ‘haters’ and the bandwagoners that you come into contact with?
It’s one of those things that for the most part isn’t too bad, but there is the odd example of someone totally anonymous or as I call “the old keyboard tough guy” who nobody really knows who they are as a person or what they do. So it’s sort of one of those things where you want to say to this anonymous person “Wow why don’t you create something and then I’ll comment on that.” I believe that critics never create and creators never criticize.

Nickelback has been around quite a while now, how do you reckon your band and the scene has changed since you started?
See when we first started there wasn’t a big rock scene in the world. The later on in the 90s and closer towards the 2000s was the beginning of the time where if you weren’t a female singer or songwriter, you didn’t get anything or anywhere. We went through that and it took quite a few years for that to kind of break loose and then we had a time when it was cool to be in a rock band again. Then it kind of retreated again into a sort of urban or R&B world. It’ll be back and I’m not too worried about it as long as we keep going it will come back really quick. Truly the experience and the scene is like the weather, in that you know if you don’t like the weather one day, just wait a day because better weather is coming and it’s the same thing with music scenes. There’s seasons when you’re doing something that nobody wants and then there’s times where you’re doing your thing and everybody wants it. All you can do is do your best because people will come back around.

Excited and ready to continue the world tour and bring the new record to Australia, Mike closed off the conversation with some parting words for his fans down under:

“We can’t wait to get back. We’re going to be passing through Japan quickly on our tour so hello to any people in Japan reading this. We’ve been to Australia a number of times when we had a little vacation and saw the beautiful sights of Australia. This time unfortunately is going to be very business like, I don’t even think we’re in Australia for a week this time and it’s horrible to me. Bring us some love. It’s not our farewell tour but we’d really love to see all of your beautiful faces again.”

Interview – Robert Tannous