Chad Kroeger’s skin hasn’t always been this thick. If you crossed the Nickelback frontman in 2003, he’d challenge you to a public boxing match and preemptively send flowers for your funeral. But as they say, time—and selling more than 50 million records—heals all wounds.
Although Kroeger, or whichever bandmate mans the Nickelback Twitter handle, has gotten better at tuning out the mob of derision over the years, we caught a tiny glimpse of the old machismo yesterday. Kroeger recently sat down with Metal Convent to promote Nickelback’s latest album, Feed the Machine, and praised what he perceives as their fearless artistry. “I can’t think of another band that’s as diverse as we are. I can’t. And I don’t think that’s me talking from pride or ego,” he said. Once Kroeger prompted him to name another band you could say the same for, the interviewer mentioned Stone Sour—Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor’s other band. Big mistake.
Way back in 2002, Taylor called Nickelback “fucking pretty boys” and likened Kroeger to “Shaggy from Scooby Doo.” Fifteen years later, and Kroeger hasn’t forgotten the “really nasty things” Taylor said about his band. Dismissing Stone Sour as “Nickelback-lite,” Kroeger claims that they aren’t as good as Nickelback and questioned Taylor’s ability to write a hit song. Then, he shifted his focus to Slipknot and went for the TKO:
They had to put on masks and jump around. How good can your music be if you’ve gotta beat each other up onstage, throw up in your own mask every night? Music shouldn’t come with a gimmick.
Kroeger, who’s become a surprisingly good sport about the band’s detractors (and even argues that the dissent has kept them going for so long), has also mastered the art of the clap-back. Since Nickelback understands better than anyone how boring it is to hate Nickelback, they’ve made it their thing to come up with better rebuttals than you might think. If you’re an artist, music writer, or Major League relief pitcher who levels a boring joke that essentially boils down to “haha Nickelback,” they’ll probably respond. Here are a few cases that prove why it’s wise to steer clear of the Nickelbeef.
Professional baseball players aren’t very good at Twitter, with few exceptions. Peter Moylan, who currently pitches for the Kansas City Royals, injects more personality than the average athlete account—but he wasn’t immune to the Nickeltrap. After having a grand time at a Foo Fighters concert in 2011, Moylan thought a Nickelback joke would be the easiest way to rake in some RTs:
Nickelback, not mad and actually laughing, busted out a multi-part response for Moylan. At the time, Moylan had just appeared in 13 games for the Atlanta Braves while closer Craig Kimbrel wrapped a Rookie of the Year season and began his campaign for the Hall of Fame. Even if it was a bit disjointed, this tweet laid the groundwork for some even sharper comebacks.
Former UK buzz band Royal Blood tried to weigh in on our nightmare 2016 election last October, and settled on this mess:
I have no idea what incoherent ideology this formula would represent, but Nickelback diagnosed a more likely explanation for Royal Blood’s dumb tweet—and leveled a self-aware diss of their own.
Nickelback have never been much of a political act, and that’s probably for the best. Although the cover art for Feed the Machine evokes overblown Muse-esque paranoia, their lyrics rarely go to those places. The title track kicks off the album with vague platitudes that are apparently not about Donald Trump, or much of anything at all. (“Why must the blind always lead the blind? ... Why must the weakest be sacrificed?”). The next song’s about getting high with his buddy Brad.
But when former California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger compared Congress’ rock bottom approval rating to herpes and Nickelback in an anti-gerrymandering post, Kroeger and co. reminded him of his own career nadir:
Who knows if our fucked-up redistricting policy ever crossed their Canadian minds before this, but they seem opposed enough for it to inspire an urgent Feed the Machine sequel.
Earlier this year, Esquire decided that The Chainsmokers are EDM’s answer to Nickelback. It made sense, based on thier popularity, aesthetic choices, relationship within their genre, and occasional sexism. In one of their first endearing moments since reaching superstardom, the Chainsmoker bros mashed up “Paris” with “How You Remind Me” in a response to Esquire’s original tweet. Two days later, guitarist (and potential NickelTwitter mastermind) Ryan Peake did the same thing with “Closer,” but seemed to take more offense with The Chainsmokers than Esquire. Keep your eye on the ball, Peake!
The Black Keys
Patrick Carney, drummer for The Black Keys, has cooled off along with his band in recent years. But when they were at the height of their commercial power, right after releasing El Camino in 2011, abrasive statements just poured out of Carney. Here’s a bit from an interview with Rolling Stone:
Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world... So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit—therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world. Fuck that! Rock & roll is the music I feel the most passionately about, and I don’t like to see it fucking ruined and spoon-fed down our throats in this watered-down, post-grunge crap, horrendous shit. When people start lumping us into that kind of shit, it’s like, ‘Fuck you,’ honestly.
Instead of getting riled up, Nickelback essentially owned up to laughing their way to the bank.
Meanwhile, leave it to this century’s actual biggest rock band in the world for a more measured stance on Nickelhate: