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Nickelback’s Mike Kroeger Talks Current Tour, ‘This Means War’ + More

Mike Kroeger of Nickelback
Timothy Hiatt, Getty Images

Nickelback bassist Mike Kroeger was the special guest with host Mike ‘Sandman’ Sanders on Loudwire Radio this past weekend. Kroeger talked about the band’s current tour with Bush, Seether and My Darkest Days, as well as a number of other topics. In case you missed the show, here’s Sandman’s full interview with Mike Kroeger below:

Alright, a special interview this week on Loudwire, I’m honored to have on the phone Mike Kroeger of Nickelback. He’s the bass player and brother of frontman Chad — I guess that’s something you get tired of hearing — “brother of Chad,” huh?

No. I’ve been hearing “brother of Chad” since long before all this started, its okay. He’s been hearing “brother of Mike,” too, so it’s okay. We don’t mind.

I can tell you this, I worked in a market back in 1999 were you guys came in and played a free radio show — I mean, you’ve come a long way since then—we charged $4.95 at the door and they got a ‘nickel back’ which was a wooden nickel, that had your logo on one side and the radio station’s logo on the other.

I remember that.

Do you really? Yeah? It’s been awhile.

Well, we haven’t dealt with a lot of wooden nickels, it hasn’t happened, believe it or not. You would think it would be something that happened a lot but it really hasn’t.

We were just overly creative at the time, I think, maybe.

Yeah, yeah, clearly.

That was 1999 when you guys had just released ‘The State’ and ‘Leader of Men’ and, you know, it’s been a long time since then. ‘Here and Now,’ the new album, appropriately titled, you guys are out on tour in support of that album. How’s the tour going so far?

So far, so great. Turns out there’s still fans out there and we’re having a good time, we’re having a really good time. We’ve been systematically working our way down the Eastern portion of the United States and then we’re going to finish that up and head to the middle and the West and pretty much just take over.

How much writing do you guys do while on the road? Or do you keep that kind of separate from the tours?

We do not. We keep it separate now. Yeah, we don’t write on the tour … I almost said ‘anymore’ but … at this time, you know. You never know, we could start writing on the road again, but we haven’t been lately, writing on the road.

Talking to Mike Kroeger of Nickelback and the tour includes Seether and also Bush and My Darkest Days. Got to be pretty cool having Bush on the tour, I mean, you guys probably were listening to them maybe around the time you guys were getting started too, I guess.

Even before, really. Yeah, it’s cool. It’s just a big rock festival, you know? We’re enjoying having a real solid rock package out there. I think it’s the tightest one on the road right now.

It’s go to be the biggest tour of the summer, I would think; especially having all four bands together. But you have My Darkest Days on a lot of those dates as well and Chad, your brother, appeared on their very first single ‘Porn Star Dancing.’ You guys have a relationship with that band beyond being just out on tour together. Are you guys buddies, or..?

M: Oh, yeah, we’re pals. We’ve worked with them before and we generally become friends with everybody we tour with. We’re also friends with Seether because we’ve worked with them before and now we’ll become friends with Bush as well, you know? We like to have a friendly relationship with everyone we work with.

You guys are so hugely successful and cross so many different radio formats. Anytime you’re that big, you’re bound to have some detractors. And I know you guys have a great sense of humor about the ‘haters.’ But, does it ever kind of get to you?

It’s pretty hard to take it seriously. Besides, we’re too busy having a good time doing what we do to really give that much attention. We’re pretty busy, actually. So that really doesn’t come into our lives for the most part.

Yeah, I was going to say, anytime anything is ‘so big’ it’s going to have critics. Anything that’s out in the public eye that’s that big. You guys do a good job of keeping a good sense of humor about it.

You’ve got to. You’ve got to.

I definitely commend you. You guys are — you know, I was reading up on you on Wikipedia, and I know those things aren’t always accurate but I noticed just how charitable the band is too. You guys gave, like, $50,000 to a children’s hospital in British Columbia last year, is that philanthropy part of the Nickelback philosophy?

Yeah, it is. You know, generally speaking, we try to keep that under the radar. We don’t really like to advertise that sort of stuff. I don’t know how that got on that Wiki page but we try to keep most of it under wraps just because it sort of feels like its private and we don’t generally prefer to use that as a marketing angle, as it were. But, yeah, we do help out. We help out all over the place.

I just think it’s great that you guys are willing to share the success and good fortune that you guys have experienced. That’s very commendable and in the world of rock, it seems like it’s rare.

Well maybe it may just be rare to hear about it. I guess it’s everybody’s own personal journey on that. When I see people jumping up and down talking about all the charity and philanthropy they do it kind of, to me, it cheapens it and makes me think it’s more of a PR stunt, you know. So, those people that you’re not hearing about, they may be doing it, you know, maybe they don’t want to be publicized as well.

Absolutely. Like I said, the album ‘Here and Now’ is doing really well along with the tour. The second single from the album, at rock radio, is a big hit, as was [first single] ‘Bottoms Up’. ‘This Means War’ — could you maybe give me a little back line story on that song?

Well, it’s that, we didn’t even realize it until we started talking to international publications but it is kind of an expression in the English language that we didn’t know that other languages didn’t have it. So, I was talking to Brazil a little while ago, somebody in Brazil, and they were like “So, is this about the Afghanistan war?” And I was like “Oh boy, okay, I’ve got to explain something to you, man…” Just so, you know, they don’t think that we’re super pro-war flag wavers, just to explain to them, I had to say, “This is about recognizing that you’re being challenged in some way and fully embracing the challenge and completely being willing to lock horns and roll.”

The song rocks hard and it’s a big hit and I think we should play it.

Alright.

It’s Mike Kroeger of Nickelback. Thank you so much for taking time out today to talk to the Loudwire audience. We got to crank up that new song ‘This Means War.’

Alright, thanks man. Let’s do it.

Catch Loudwire Rock Top 20 Countdown Sunday nights at 8pm on Q103.

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