Long before Starbucks became an unlikely force in the music industry, it impressed itself upon pop music by employing a bass player named Mike Kroeger. "Here's your nickel back," Kroeger would tell his customers when dispensing change for cups of coffee; thus the name of his post-grunge outfit, which has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide.
Originally featuring three Kroeger brothers — singer-guitarist Chad, bassist Mike and drummer Brandon — as well as second guitarist Ryan Peake, Nickelback formed in the small town of Hanna, Alberta, though they have since relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia. After self-releasing a pair of albums (the second of which, Curb, was later rereleased) in 1996, they signed to Roadrunner in 1999 and put out The State, which did moderately well. Two years later, however, was a different story. Silver Side Up (Number Two, 2001) was a monster hit, thanks in large part to the hit "How You Remind Me" (Number One, 2001), a song whose combination of Nirvana dynamics and early Pearl Jam sludge made it official that early-Nineties alt-rock was the new classic rock. "Too Bad" became a minor hit as well, hitting Number 42 in 2002.
Kroeger contributed "Hero" (Number Three, 2002), a collaboration with Josey Scott (Saliva), to the soundtrack of the movie Spider-Man. The Long Road (Number Six, 2003) followed, with the hit "Someday" (Number Seven, 2003), a song whose similarities to "How You Remind Me" were so profound that some Internet wag made a comparison track with each song on a different stereo channel (they synched up almost exactly). All the Right Reasons (Number One, 2005) offered more of the same, to the tune of further multiplatinum sales and Modern Rock hits such as "Photograph" (Number Two, 2005), "Savin' Me" (Number 19, 2006), "Far Away" (Number Eight, 2006), and "Rockstar" (Number Six, 2007). The "Rockstar" video was notable for featuring a plethora of unlikely stars mouthing along to the song's lyrics, including Kid Rock, Gene Simmons, Ted Nugent, John Rich, Nelly Furtado and Lupe Fiasco.
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies