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Hey, Mike. Thanks for chatting with me today! You guys must be super busy with your world tour coming up! You must have been around the word a few times now?
Hey! Haha, yes several times now!
I read that Nickelback's worldwide album sales exceed 50 million! That makes you the second best-selling foreign act of the 21st century in the U.S! Only The Beatles stand in the way of you and number one! Do you sometimes have to pinch yourself to check your life is actually real?
(Laughs). It's one of those statistics that is sort of you know, an obvious cherry-picking. Just because you know, it is The Beatles after all. I mean, if you take out the part about being in the 21st the century, ah, we obviously wouldn't even be close to being on the radar. But nevertheless, all cherry-picking aside - things have been pretty cool! It's been an amazing ride. And it continues to be.
To sell over 50 million albums, you have to have a ginormous fan base. Does it feel strange when you meet new people, and they think they know you because you are famous?
There are those situations like you described, not to necessarily repeat your question back to you. But it is a bit unusual when you meet people who know everything about you. You know, they know the names of your kids and where you live and everything, and you just don't know anything about them. It's just a weird situation to be in; I'd heard other people talk about it in the past, you know, other artists had told me about this phenomenon. I didn't fully understand it until things started to take really off, and we started to really do well. And that's when that kind of situations arise where, yes, people have done an agonising amount of research int you and you don't know a damn thing about them. It's a little weird. I think it's weird for everybody too. It's not just weird for me; it's weird for them too.
The new album; No Fixed Address features an unlikely collaboration featuring Flo Rider. How did that come about?
The collaboration with Flo Rider was something that was really interesting because we were working on this song, 'She's Got Me Runnin' Round' and out of nowhere Chad got introduced to Flo. And they were talking, and Flo said something like, 'we should work together on something.' And Chad said, well I got this half-written song if you want to take a listen to it and take a run at writing and maybe even rapping on it. And he heard the track and within three hours he had composed, written, recorded, everything. And he was done. He did about three times as much stuff as what's in the song. Regrettably, we had to cut some of it. There was just so much, he wrote so much material for this song that it wouldn't even be our song anymore, and it would have been like seven minutes long! He brought us a lot of quality material, and it was hard to decide, you know, what to keep and what to not keep. It was really tough.
I imagine that would be something you would find, just, in general; deciding what to keep and what should go on an album. It would be extremely hard, especially when you are coming with new material all the time.
It's an ongoing process, for sure.
This album explores your musical versatility. 'Edge of a Revolution' is a definite rock anthem, whereas, 'She Keeps Me Up' is much poppier than your audiences are used to. Was this variety spontaneous or was it a goal for the band when recording this album?
Um, you know, it's so awesome where you start to go down a path stylistically, that's a little bit different than your normal thing. And we all come from varying musical backgrounds, and it allows you the flexibility to kind of try on a new sort of style or a new genre of music. And we just have to check continuously in to make sure we're not getting too far a field with the new ideas. You know, if you are doing something that's completely not even what your band is, you got to be careful to not get too far out there. We wanted to stretch out a little bit, and we have explored different styles in the past, this may be pushing it even a little bit further. It's fun to do. It's fun to get out of your comfort zone a little bit.
There are many celebrities are using their fame to advocate change. Do you believe that politically driven songs like 'Edge of a Revolution,' have the potential to inspire people to stand up against injustice?
I don't know. We are not exactly Rage Against The Machine. So I didn't really feel like that by writing a song of this nature that it was necessarily going to foment those sorts of changes, but more an observation of those things. You know an observation of people standing up against whatever injustice or whatever wrong they were It's. So it's more of an observation song for us, rather than a rallying cry to make people protest and revolt. But I suppose it can. I just think that there is a lot of opinion in any kind of political action, and not everybody sees things the same way. So I think you have to tread carefully when you are talking about issues of freedom and democracy and injustice. It can be a rather slippery slope.
So being an observation, clearly the motivation for the song wasn't driven by a sense of rebellion? I saw some vision from the Occupy movement in the background of the film clip.
Yeah, in the video. Yeah, the Occupy thing was; ah, at that moment when we were writing it; it was at the forefront in many, many places in the world. And that was quite an inspiration.
I recently saw the film clip for 'What Are You Waiting For?' It has, a what would you say? Maybe karmic, what-goes-around-comes-around storyline. Who comes up with the themes for your videos?
Well, the way it typically works is, we send out the song to various different directors who do video for a living. And we ask them if they would write a treatment for that, and inevitably we don't like any of the treatment for that and we collaborate with the director and write our own. It is difficult to do when somebody is a director or a writer, you just throw a song at them and say, 'try to read my mind right now', you know. It's asking a lot to expect them to nail it. You know, because you obviously have an idea of what your song is about or what would visually go well with it. So it's better for us to get involved. It's easy to, just let someone write something. But it can come out rather half-baked if you don't get involved.
A lot of artists blame illegal downloads, etc. for dips in record sales. Now that piracy is so easy to pull off it's extremely encouraging to know that Nickelback is still selling albums! Do digital downloads dominate sales these days? Do you still a lot of physical records?
Well, we sell about 55 or 60 percent physical. Which is astounding!
There isn't much left in the physical realm of music anymore. I remember last time I was in New Zealand, which had to be seven years ago, you couldn't find CD's there then. The world is changing fast. There will be a time not far into the future, where the actual physical product of any kind, will all sort-of be of the variety of vinyl. It will be sort of like a novelty to have a product, and not just be a digital file.
Nickelback are sometimes, dubbed 'the most hated band in the world.' For a band who supposedly has haters, you guys sell an awful lot of music? Do comments like that affect you?
Well, what it is, that's sort of ah, I don't what you would call it, a paradigm, which is ah, you know, created. That people believe that everybody hates Nickleback, which is funny because, yeah, like you say, 60 million copies, how many millions in ticket sales. Like how many million people have we played in front of over the years. You know, the 30 something odd hit songs. I just feel there's a chance that somebody's lying.
I reckon they might be too!
Yeah, those haters might have more than few of our records and a few of our concert ticket stubs in their house.
I reckon. The Nickelback discography is mammoth. I reckon Australia's favourite Nickelback songs would have to be 'Animal', 'Photograph' and 'How You Remind Me.' Which of your songs do you get the biggest response from when you perform?
Those three that you just mentioned are sort of the big three. Especially 'Photograph' and 'How You Remind Me'. We get a very pronounced reaction from both of them. Some more than others, but you've identified the ones that we identified as being strong points for us in Australia.
Are they some of your favourites or do favour other songs that maybe haven't got as much attention?
Well, you know what? When it comes to playing in the live forum, it feels really good when you announce you are going to play a song ad the place goes crazy. Or if you begin the introduction of a song and the audience goes crazy. That feels good. How I feel about any given song is kind irrelevant. It's kind of more important that the audience is excited about it. That's the most important thing really. That's why we are up there, to play the things they want to hear and every once in a while the place goes crazy cause they know the song, and they want to hear it.
You guys have been here a few times now haven't you? What's your favourite thing about Australia?
Yes! I've said it before, so I apologise for repeating myself. But being from Canada, I find Australia is just like Canada with better weather. People are very polite and kind like Canadians are. And you get your pleases and thank yous and ah, to me it's like going to Canada. Only, like I say, nowhere near as cold.
Well, I hope you get some rest in between shows, looks like you have your schedule pretty well crammed for the rest of the year! Enjoy your day.
Thank you, Farley. You too.
' NO FIXED ADDRESS AUSTRALIA TOUR
MAY 15 ROD LAVER ARENA
MAY 16 ROD LAVER ARENA
MAY 18 ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
MAY 20 ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
MAY 22 ALLPHONES ARENA
MAY 23 ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
MAY 26 PERTH ARENA
Ticket Sales: premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=NICKELBA15
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