Rock & roll loves a scapegoat. From the demonization of hair-metal bands in the early ‘90s upon the advent of grunge to current twentysomethings ashamed to admit how hard they rocked Limp Bizkit and Creed back in high school, the music world is littered with once-successful acts now relegated to eternal infamy for having the nerve to fall out of fashion.
Today, there is no rock band the world loves to hate more than Nickelback. Despite the rowdy Canadian rock band’s enormous success (they’ve sold more than 50 million albums worldwide since 2001), lead singer Chad Kroeger and crew’s no-nonsense brand of glossy, radio-ready hard rock has made them the target of a very pointed brand of entitled public scorn.
Detroit NFL fans famously mobilized 50,000 strong with an online petition when Nickelback was booked to perform the halftime show of the Detroit Lions’ annual Thanksgiving show in 2011, while a nearly 1.5 million Nickelback haters supported a 2010 Facebook group soliciting people who preferred a pickle to the band’s music.
Despite such ongoing vitriol, Bloomberg Businessweek points out that Kroeger and Nickelback are even more successful than they seem, generating millions in revenue through a variety of means, from Kroeger’s prolific songwriting career to a lucrative “360” deal with concert promoter Live Nation that netted the band anywhere from $50 to $70 million.
“There is a mathematical formula to why you got famous,” Kroeger told Bloomberg Businessweek. “It isn’t some magical thing that just started happening. And it’s going to move exponentially throughout your career as you grow, or can decline exponentially if you start to fail as an artist.”
Kroeger has grown his rock empire to include a record label, 604 Records, which released Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous mega-smash “Call Me Maybe,” and publishing, production and writing stakes in emerging bands like My Darkest Days as well as writing hits for a disparate stable of artists ranging from Tim McGraw to Timbaland.
Kroeger’s notoriety has crossed over into the world of gossip tabloids now that he’s engaged to another critically derided Canadian rock star, Avril Lavigne, with Kroeger telling Men’s Health that their ceremony “is going to be the most unique wedding that the planet has ever seen.”
“I’m always at the opposite end of the spectrum, the opposite of hipster culture, and I enjoy that,” Kroeger added to Men’s Health. “How do hipsters hang out with each other when all they do is just rip on everything? And do you have to have been ripped on your entire life to become a hipster, just so you know how it feels and can launch those verbal missiles at everyone else?”
–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local