Thanks for logging onto Ultimate-Guitar, your home for the best in (fictional) music reviews. I am (not) sitting here with Chad Kroeger, lead singer for the world-famous hard rock band Nickelback, for a special feature called "inteREview". This is where we talk to artists for a collaborative reviewing process and let them share some of thoughts on their past work. This week, we're looking at the album that gave Nickelback their breakthrough into the mainstream, "Silver Side Up". Chad, it's good to have you here.
Chad Kroeger: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Ultimate-Guitar: Now, "Silver Side Up" was no doubt a defining moment in your career. It certainly broadened your audience, and with that, allowed for many future successes. But it also opened the floodgates to detractors who felt that you had gotten too big too fast. One critic said that you went "from relative obscurity to radio leeches in less time than it takes to shave a pubic mane".
What did you think when you first heard these types of criticisms?
Chad: Well, actually, I'd never heard that particular one. And I think the term "radio leeches" is totally unfair. We didn't go to the radio, the radio came to us. But as far as becoming one of the top-tier rock acts of this decade - everyone in the band knew it was just a matter of time. We worked hard and played even harder, so it wasn't a huge surprise when we climbed to the top of the charts.
UG: When the radio "came to you", some critics said they also "came all over the ears of the listening public" by making you guys the Most Played Rock Artist of 2002. Tell me, in your opinion, do you think that title was a blessing or a curse?
Chad: It opened all the doors for us, so it wasn't a curse. It gave us a lot of exposure. People got to see our faces, which made them go out and buy our records.
UG: Speaking of the people who went out and bought your first album, let's talk about "Never Again", the first track on the album.
Chad: This is one of our heaviest songs to date. We start with these crunching power chords and then I rip in through the chorus with this howl that just sets your ears on fire.
UG: That's a stunningly accurate description. Did you actively try for a harder sound or did it just kind of happen like that?
Chad: We never try to be hard, it just happens. We're a hard group of guys.
Ya know, I've heard trying too much can make it more difficult to be hard. But then again, staying hard can be just as difficult sometimes. How long do guys plan on staying hard? Because I've heard some say that once the hardness goes away it can be a very long time before it comes back.
Chad: ...This is making me uncomfortable. Can we talk about something else?
UG: Next on the album is the uber-mega-super-smash hit, "How You Remind Me". Was the intention there to create a radio-ready single?
Chad: People ask us that a lot, but I always have the same response: if we knew beforehand how huge that song was going to be, we would have made an entire album full of songs like it.
UG: Mm. And... You... You didn't... Do that.
Chad: Every song on "Silver Side Up" represents a unique side of Nickelback. If we want to play fast, we do it. If we want to scream loud, we do it. And if we want to do both at the same time, all we have to do is check with the label to see if that's all right, and then we do it. And we do it our way.
UG: How did your label, Roadrunner, feel about this next song, "Woke Up This Morning"? You drop a few curse words in that one. Did they ever put up a fight?
Chad: No way man, this album was raw Nickelback, and the label got that.
UG: Can you speak a little more about the "raw" sound? What does that mean to you?
Chad: It's just unrefined, razor-edged rock and roll! You know? Like shards of glass in your whiskey! Fuzzy, heavy, distorted rock with a small bit of tweaking once it came time to mix the album. Then a little bit of layering with the guitars, some spicing up on the drum track, a little overdubbing on the vocals. And of course, we eventually had to teach my brother how to play bass guitar so we could add that in when it was all said and done.
Ha! That last part was a joke.
UG: The whole album was...
[Clearing throat] Your second hit single, Too Bad gets my vote for the least awful... Best song off the album. I uh... I really almost love that chorus. It screams "we have an aggressive male vocalist and know about rhythmic syncopation!"
Chad: I get the feeling you're mocking me.
UG: I wouldn't dream of it.
...I heard you asked Eddie Vedder to come in and do a few guest spots on the album. How did that work out?
Chad: That never happened. What... What are you talking about, man?
UG: No, I just heard he turned you down and that's why you chose to impersonate him throughout the album, just to get his goat a little.
Chad: All right, this is bullsh-t. I'm done.
[Stands up and marches out of the room.]
UG: Didn't see that coming. Who knew the lead singer of Nickelback would leave when he realized no one wanted to listen to him?
[Long pause] Hey, does anybody know the lead singer from Fuel's phone number? I've got a few questions for him...