For Nickelback, Success Rocks

Excerpted from the magazine for

It's OK with Nickelback if you want to call them a pop group.

In fact, pop doesn't begin to describe the Canadian quartet's third album, "The Long Road." It's the most-anticipated global rock release of the year. The Roadrunner album is due Sept. 23 in North America and a day earlier in the rest of the world.

"Somewhere along the line, people turned pop -- as in 'popular' -- into a dirty word," says Chad Kroeger, leader of the hard-rocking band.

"We want to reach the widest audience possible and let everyone know who we are. Korn, Tool and Slipknot are among the heaviest bands out there, and they're all popular. So come on, I take that as a compliment."

Adds brother and bassist Mike Kroeger: "The Christina Aguileras of the world have a good grip on what's pleasing to the ear; I don't consider that a curse."

The new set grinds harder than ever, but it is also gloriously and accessibly melodic, with seductive choruses that punch through the speakers like the impassioned mantras of a holy healer.

"The Long Road" follows 2001's breakthrough "Silver Side Up," which was certified either gold or platinum in 10 countries. In the U.S., the album has sold more than 4.7 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and spawned the Billboard Hot 100 song of the year for 2001, "How You Remind Me."

"Silver Side Up" also was honored with a Juno Award in Canada; it earned four Grammy Award nominations.

"I think it's becoming more difficult to pick Nickelback fans out of a lineup," Chad Kroeger says of the mainstream popularity of the band, which also includes Ryan Peake on guitars and Ryan Vikedal on drums.

"We have songs on the new album that are more appealing to 13-year-old girls than 45-year-old businessmen; some that 35-year-old housewives are going to prefer over 15-year-old guys," Kroeger says.

New single "Someday," which was produced by the band with Joey Moi. The song is No. 2 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, No. 6 on the Modern Rock Tracks tally and No. 68 on the Hot 100.

"Someday" is a relationship song, but don't necessarily read too much into it.

"There's no central theme here," Chad Kroeger says. "'Silver Side Up' was very personal. This one doesn't draw on the experiences of my life; it could be anybody's story."

Sonically, he says its his goal to make the album a singular experience, "where you can listen to the whole thing and enjoy it, without skipping songs. I feel like a lot of bands pay really close attention to three singles. I wanted every second of every song to get the same amount of love and attention so that we have a great album and not just a couple of great songs."

The first pressing of "The Long Road" will be in the form of a deluxe Digipak featuring exclusive band photos and three bonus tracks, including a cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)."

On the album's release date, VH1 will broadcast a segment of its Concert Series, featuring Nickelback performing at the Experience Music Project's Sky Church Theater in Seattle. In November, the band will appear on MTV's "Hard Rock Live," in a performance taped Aug. 19 in Orlando, Fla.

The group also touched down in the U.K. at the beginning of September for prerelease promotion and a taping for "Top of the Pops."

The first leg of Nickelback's U.S. tour starts Oct. 14 in Texas, wrapping Nov. 11. Trapt is confirmed for support, and Three Days Grace will open all shows.

Excerpted from the Sept. 20, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Premium Services section.

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