Women in Music 2016

Nickelback's Chad Kroeger on Their New World Tour and Why the Stars Have Aligned for Them

Michael Muller
Nickelback

As he and his bandmates prep for the start of a new world tour on Valentine's Day in Allentown, Pa., Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger admits that he's a little worried about one aspect -- known to the Canadian quartet and its crew as "the circle of doom."

"We have this monstrous screen; it's like the biggest thing we've ever brought out screen-wise, ever," Kroeger tells Billboard. "It's huge and it's circular and everything in this show gravitates towards this screen and all the things we're putting on it are swirling and doing all these crazy things. I think we're going to have to dial some of this back because I'm starting to get a little worried no one's going to be interested in anything the band is doing and they're just going be mesmerized by this ginormous screen behind us."

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Then again, Kroeger says he's used to having audience gazes averted to his rear -- usually in the direction of drummer Daniel Adair. "Oh yeah, there'll be a girl in the front row and she'll be leaning to the left or to the right so she can see around my legs and look at Daniel, which I think is just humorous --- really," Kroeger says.

The group wraps up its first North American leg of the tour -- in support of 2014's No Fixed Address -- on April 7, then travels to Australia in mid-May before coming back to the western hemisphere on June 19 in Ridgefield, Wash., for the bulk of the summer. Europe beckons at the end of September, and there's more ahead into 2016, according to Kroeger.

"I've pretty much taken a picture of my bed and my wife (who happens to be Avril Lavigne) and kissed them goodbye," he says. "I won't be seeing them for a long time."

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Kroeger anticipates that Nickelback will be playing "a minimum" of four songs from No Fixed Address initially -- "What Are You Waiting For," "Edge of a Revolution," "Million Miles An Hour" and the upcoming single "She Keeps Me Up," the latter of which he says represents a change of pace for the group. "Up 'til now we've always just tried to be heavier with the rock songs and more melodic with the melodic songs, and now it's, 'OK, not everything has to be left and right. Why can't we go forward and back a little bit?' " Kroeger explains. "So we tried to get a little funky, and everything that we've heard coming back from 'She Keeps Me Up' is very positive. We look at iTunes and it's not a single yet but it's generating a lot of interest, so we're saying to ourselves, 'Maybe we should make this thing a single,' and the next thing you know we're shooting a video for it and now it's in the set and it's a lot of fun to play live."

The tour ostensibly coincides with the 20th anniversary of Nickelback's foundation, though Kroeger says it's a fuzzy date. "We kind of got together in '95, but I don't think we played our first show until somewhere in '96 -- so it's 19 years," he says with a laugh. "It's been a whirlwind. It's been a rollercoaster ride. You can sit there at the inception of any band and go, 'Alright, we're gonna be around for 30 years,' but, really, you can only make music for as long as somebody wants to listen to it and tour on this scale as long as somebody wants to show up to see you play it. There's a lot of external factors that play into how long you're gonna be around, and we've just been incredibly lucky. We've worked hard, but the longer we're around the more I realize that the stars truly do have to align in order for this to happen the way it's happened to us, which we all really appreciate."