Band of the Month: Nickelback – In defense of the Dark Horse

For the latest rock music news “Like” The Rock Riff on Facebook:

You can follow The Rock Riff on Twitter here:


Nickelback in concert
Photo credit: Barry Brecheisen Photography

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this blog post has been years in the making. I’ve been a Nickelback fan since about 2006 and I have always had a strong opinion about their position in the rock/ music industry. Over the past few years I have read countless reviews and articles concerning Nickelback which are almost always negative or are written from a positive point of view, but still cops out towards the end of the article by saying something nasty or negative about the band. Just in case that writer gets some heat from so-called haters. I’m here to comment on what I have witnessed on social media and to give my opinion on the band.

Nickelback has proven time and time again that they don’t take themselves too seriously for example in the video they made in response to the Detroit petition that was started as an attempt to have Nickelback replaced as the halftime act for the Thanksgiving game. Many interviews of the band support this statement, because they are always joking around.

You can view Nickelback’s response to the petition here:

I will be honest, musically I can’t really comment on the structure of their songs, because I don’t have the necessary knowledge (music-related qualification) to form an objective opinion.

Being labelled mainstream in the rock music industry is like admitting that you have swine flu at a party. Everyone tries to stay away from you and you will eventually be teased/taunted about it. I support Nickelback as a mainstream rock band, because they are the only rock band that have managed to top the charts on a regular basis. Do rock fans rather want pop/tween acts topping the charts? Through their efforts they are almost single-handedly waving the flag for rock music. Even David Draiman from Disturbed admits to this fact:

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter

Nickelback and David Draiman on Twitter

As for those who have said that “How You Remind Me” and “Leader of Men” was pretty decent, but they haven’t made good music since then. I beg to differ, obviously these people forgot to listen to The Long Road Nickelback’s fourth album released September 23, 2003. Its one of my all-time favourite albums, because it covers a wide variety of topics and included on the album is their awesome cover of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting featuring Kid Rock and Dimebag Darrell. My favourites off of that album are “Should’ve Listened” which is a pleasant surprise when you listen to the album for the first time and “Yanking Out My Heart” is another fave with its angry lyrics and fantastic chorus. Listen to “Should’ve Listened” here:

I just want to make clear that I’m not a Nickelback fan who only like the tracks that they release as singles. I love their whole discography and I especially like the tracks that aren’t released as singles. I believe there are two types of Nickelback fans those who like them for the ballads/popular singles and then there are the rock music fans that love all of their songs.

There are some rare jewels to be discovered when you listen to their entire music catalogue, for example “Worthy To Say“, “Woke Up This Morning”, “Midnight Queen”, “Just To Get High”, “Fly”, “Follow You Home” and “Next Contestant” to name just a few. Then there are some hard rock tracks which I always look forward to with every album they release like “Side of a Bullet” dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell from Pantera which just proves what Nickelback are capable of.The song includes a guitar solo by Dimebag from his Pantera days, and was used with the blessing and cooperation of Dimebag’s brother and Pantera/Damageplan drummer, Vinnie Paul. “This Means War” is another crowd pleaser and its best played extremely loud, the same goes for “Burn It To The Ground”. “Figure You Out” is another solid rocker with slightly different subject matter and I think its just one of those songs that will never get old. In my opinion their most meaningful ballads on one album was from All The Right Reasons. Those songs might have entered the U.S. Hot 100 top 20 singles, but they still carried so much meaning especially “If Everyone Cared” and “Savin’ Me” which was rumoured to be about a childhood friend of Chad’s who was incarcerated and died in prison. I heard about this rumour a few years ago, but I’m not sure if its true.

Nickelback have never been subtle in their choices for supporting acts such as Seether (from South Africa!), Bush, Three Days Grace, Buckcherry, Daughtry and Shinedown. You have to be pretty famous and confident to take these massively successful bands on tour with you. Nickelback have always managed to cultivate friendships with the bands they tour with, so as people they are pretty likeable if you ask me. On numerous occasions I have witnessed (on the internet) their tour mates only having nice things to say about them. It takes a lot of confidence in your own abilities as a band to keep such famous company.

Aside from all the success that Nickelback has had, Chad Kroeger started his own record label 604 Records in 2002 and holds the position of Executive Producer. Here are the list of artists signed to the label:

Official website of 604 Records:

Nickelback was discovered by Roadrunner’s Artists and repertoire (A&R) Ron Burman who travelled to Vancouver to see the band perform live, the then unknown venue was packed. It took Ron Burman three months to convince his label bosses’ to approve the signing that would mark Roadrunner’s first move into mainstream rock. They have never looked back since, even though Roadrunner fans are constantly complaining about the fact that Nickelback are included in their list of signed artists.

Many a rock band has covered Metallica at some point in their career, but no one has done it quite like Nickelback. I just wish I could hear the song in its entirety. Nickelback started out as a Led Zeppelin and Metallica cover band called “Village Idiots”.

Watch it here:

At the start of their career Nickelback’s sound was a little ruff around the edges and gritty, but I suppose that is what made them so appealing back in 1995 and since then their sound has become more polished and controlled. I believe this change occured due to years of experience and adapting to what the fans wanted. The earlier Nickelback albums are more acceptable to rock music lovers, because it wasn’t as polished and that was the appeal. In my opinion The Long Road was the best combination of both worlds and after that album was when Nickelback departed from the minds of hard rock lovers and entered the mainstream music industry. I listen to and support both sides of the coin(/nickel) and I will always remain grateful to Nickelback for introducing me to rock music. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t know who most of the modern rock bands are, my love for rock music started with Nickelback and branched out to the bands that supported them on tour. I looked up bands like Shinedown on the internet just because they started touring with Nickelback.

The band has sometimes been critiscised over their use of themes such as strippers, sex, prostitutes, drugs and drinking. People will drink, regardless of the fact that Nickelback is singing about it and the same goes for the rest of the content for their songs. Most rock bands cover these subjects at one point or another in their career, I also believe that its Nickelback’s way of being risque and not remaining safe in their subject matter.

Here are some great photos of each band member:


Daniel Adair

Daniel Adair
Source:Marcus Chacona Photography

Mike Kroeger

Mike Kroeger

Ryan Peake

Ryan Peake

Chad Kroeger

Chad Kroeger

Nickelback in concert

Nickelback in concert

Follow Nickelback on Twitter here:

If you would like to connect with fellow Nickelback fans you can follow Nickelbackers here:

Nickelback just finished the European leg of their Here & Now tour with Daughtry. You can check out the rest of their tour dates here:

Thank you for reading!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K


4 thoughts on “Band of the Month: Nickelback – In defense of the Dark Horse

  1. Fiji Bandinitus says:

    ” ..because I don’t have the necessary knowledge to form an objective opinion. I do believe though that I hear music slightly differently than some of my peers..”

    So basically what you said was
    “I don’t know anything about genres/sound/production.I think I am special.”
    The fact that you don’t know anything about music makes music sound different to you.
    IE. “I listen to nickelback because I don’t know anything about music”
    More or less that’s how I interpreted it.


    • You are free to interpret my post in any way you like.
      What I meant was that I don’t have any music-related qualification therefore I’m not “qualified” to form a professional opinion. I have read articles where the writer wasn’t musically qualified to give their professional opinion and they still did, so I too believe that I have the right to my own opinion.
      I know when I hear bad music and when I hear good music and I have heard music that is ten times worse than Nickelback.
      That is basically what I was saying.


      • Fiji Bandinitus says:

        So I’m assuming that your judgement of “Bad” Music or “Good” music would be limited to personal pleasure since you have no other way of basing it correct? Not arguing just having a friendly discussion.


        • candymonkey14 says:

          I base my opinion on what I hear, but I can’t always explain it, thats what I was originally trying to say. Not all of their songs are groundbreaking stuff, but based on those you can’t discount their whole music catalogue. There are some great songs that are not produced for mainstream consumption and that was what my article was about.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s