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Bassist Mike Kroeger talks exclusively to The Record about Nickelback’s new album, their new band member and the tragic inspiration behind one of their new tracks.

It is the last week of 2005 and we have Nickelback bassist Mike Kroeger on the phone from Canada. It seems appropriate to ask him what his wish is for the coming year. “It’s not very rock and roll,” Kroeger laughs, “but my one wish for the new year is that the western world give the rest of the world the chance to trade fairly. Global trade is not fair and I hope that they will listen because there is a significant amount of pressure being delivered to them to do this and I hope they do it.”

Kroeger and his band mates may mull over politically heavy matters off stage but when it comes to their main avenue of interaction ~ their songs ~ the band prefers to keep it more personal. Photograph, the first single off their new album All The Right Reasons, takes a trip down memory lane and is good example of a personal yet universal experience. Explains Mike, “It’s easily understandable by anyone because everyone has a place they think of, where they remember their childhood and their time growing up. It’s very easy for people to relate to and as a result of that we’ve got a cool response [to the song]. People are connecting with it so well.” Well enough to have landed the album the # 1 spot on the Billboard charts.

Chart success is something that this Canadian band is familiar with ~ their 2001 release Silver Side Up sold over 6 million copies in the US and contained three # 1 hits, the biggest being their breakout single How You Remind Me which was officially the number one Most Played Song of 2002. It was only the second time in history since the Guess Who's American Woman that a Canadian band had been number one on both the Canadian and US rock charts at the same time. Their follow-up release The Long Road arrived in 2003 and spawned the hit single Someday, selling 5 million copies worldwide. For 2005’s All The Right Reasons, the band decided to crank it up a notch. Crunchy guitars and multi-layered vocals meet soaring strings and ~ in a first for Nickelback ~ lilting piano. Says Mike, “We wanted to sort of push the limits a little bit, go a little bit further and just see how far we can go. We tried some things that we had never done before. It is a risk when you move sort of outside of your ‘comfort zone’ ~ you move to something that might not be quite so familiar. There is a real risk of failure. So there was a little bit of concern that we might be going some place not that safe but I think the risk has paid off.”

The 11-track disc also features guest musicians including ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons and ex-Pantera members Vinnie Paul and the late Dimebag Darrell Abbott. Nickelback met Billy Gibbons backstage after one of their performances and roped him in for a guitar solo that was needed on their song Follow You Home. Gibbons not only nailed the solo perfectly but also sang the third verse on the song and backing vocals for another track called Rock Star. Legendary Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell’s inclusion is a more somber topic. Mike tells us, “Side of A Bullet is a song on the album about the night that we heard about our friend Dimebag being shot [and killed onstage] in Columbus, Ohio. It was a very hard song to do. But it was important to get that across. It was just a hard time for us because it’s not the kind of thing that you want to happen to you ~ you get that phone call that a friend of yours has been shot to death. It’s not something that… it’s hard to put into words honestly but it’s really close to our hearts, that’s all.”

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Nickelback in the January 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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