Averaging about one spin every three minutes across the country, Nickelback's breakthrough single "How You Remind Me" was the most played song of 2002. This meant that the song, with a duration of 3:43, was on the radio somewhere in the United States at any given moment—and that Scott Stapp had successfully passed the torch of unmitigated mediocrity to poodle-haired, rat-faced NB frontman Chad Kroeger. As this decade comes to a close, it's grievously safe to say that Nickelback are THE biggest band of the Aughts. Fittingly, they're about as good a band as George W. Bush was president, the unfortunate difference between the two being that the Constitution can't prevent the former from continuing to release records. Considering the utter ubiquity of last year's "Rockstar," it's hard to see the Nickelback train derailing any time soon. Their success is a relentlessly malignant phenomenon tantamount to any abject artistic travesty, a blight on rock music so horrible, that their live show must be seen and remembered to ensure that no one is condemned to repeat it. Bear witness!
As you may recall, of all the unfortunate Kroeger defenders who emerged from the woodwork, one in particular — a supposed music critic named William R. Robinson, who claimed to be tight with the band — especially took issue with my musings, not just because Scene music editor Steve Haruch turned down his pitch to write about the band, but because he thought my characterization of active-rock’s definitive band was a “harsh, nasty, vituperative and totally baseless ... slam piece” that made him wonder “who the hell [I am] and what bands [I do] like ... Milli Vanilli perhaps?” Because, as everyone, knows it’s utterly inconceivable that someone could like rock music, yet dislike Nickelback. To Robinson, it was “blisteringly obvious [I] had never taken the time to actually see the band perform live or do any responsible research … before committing pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.”
Since Robinson saw Nickelback’s tour-opening performance at Sommet Center as “a significant event which must be covered,” he personally tried to broker a meeting between the band and me, "as opposed ... to a fist-fight," as he suspected would be Kroeger's preference. Robinson assured me that in spite of the preview I wrote, the band would welcome me and give me "a great first-hand experience of what their band and music is really all about.”
I accepted the offer in hopes of either an unlikely conversion, an awkward encounter with Canadians or the chance to end up like Noah Christian Morse — the heckler who sued Kroeger last year after the “singer” punched him in face outside a Vancouver nightclub. Regrettably, Robinson failed to facilitate a face-to-face.
Come this fall, he will have a second shot at success when the band returns to the now re-named Bridgestone Arena to kick off the fourth leg — yes, you read that right — of the seemingly never-ending Dark Horse Tour on Sept. 14. Tickets are $59.67-$95.73. If Google happened to alert you to this post, then you can buy your Nickelback tickets here. Opening for the band are Three Days Grace and Buckcherry. While my opinions on Nickelback have yet to be informed by seeing their live show, I did manage to catch Buckcherry when they opened for KISS last fall. Under the cloak of Spin-itude, I described their set as follows:
Buckcherry. What an atrocious band. [I was] hoping [I’d] get into the arena late enough to miss these clowns, but the KISS-related festivities on Lower Broad had already wrapped up, leaving [me] with little option other than to go inside and drink to the tale of the "Crazy Bitch"—a song [I’m] now unequivocally dumber for having heard in its extended live arrangement, which included a verse of Billy Squire's "The Stroke." There are scores of bands like this on the Sunset Strip—why did this one have to get famous? Like Poison without the hooks or Firehouse without the balls, they are musically hopeless, generic and predictable. Moreover, singer Josh Todd thinks that the 79 tattoos on his torso suffice for a shirt, and his squealing high-pitched caterwauling makes him sound like a feral cat succumbing to an industrial strength vacuum cleaner. Fuck this band and their Chuck Berry reference.
Until further notice, I’ll renew those sentiments as well as those concerning Nickelback.