It’s 9:30 in the morning and I’m standing at the corner of 54th and Seventh in midtown Manhattan. People are tired, people are hangry, and no one is in the mood to have a camera shoved in their face.

An expertly coiffed head of blond hair is turning from side to side, analyzing street signs and making directional conclusions: “It’s fuckin’ this way, guys.” One of the handlers seems unsure, but I can see the confidence radiating from this gorgeous head of hair. “Follow Chad!” I announce and make my way toward him. “He doesn’t even live here,” someone quietly remarks. I don’t care. This guy looks like he knows where he’s going, and I’m hungry. It’s time for breakfast with Nickelback. So, how the hell’d we wind up like this?

When CREEM asked me to interview Nickelback, I couldn’t think of a more odd pairing than batshit me and these seemingly milquetoast Canadian rock stars. My investigative interest was immediately piqued: Who are these guys anyway, as human beings? All we knew was two decades of Nickelback radio domination and the subsequent ridicule and vitriol that followed them wherever they went. Sure, we’re all aware of the epic love story that was “Chavril” circa the 2010s—when frontman Chad Kroeger became engaged to (and eventually married) Canadian pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne after knowing her for only a month and six days. But beyond that I couldn’t think of a single factoid or anecdote about Nickelback that wasn’t centered on them being the most hated band in the world while simultaneously being one of the biggest, a uniquely Nickelbackian paradox (okay, okay, Coldplay).

Now I’m on my way to meet the Canadian stallions in question, and I have to admit, I’m afraid. Afraid I might be a bitch or have a panic attack. I get out of the car 12 blocks early so I can walk it off. I book it inside their hotel, take a piss, fix my eyeliner a bit, and head back to the lobby just as the band pulls up outside in a black Sprinter van. First one I see is the bassist, Mike Kroeger, bald-headed and smiling. He makes immediate eye contact and we start hamming it up while the other members of the Canadian royal family sort of breeze by with quick hellos. Game time!


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