Who knew working at Starbucks could start a multi-platinum music career?
Originally a cover band hailing from Hanna, Alberta, the core of Nickelback started in 1995 with vocalist/rhythm guitarist Chad Kroeger and his brother, bassist Michael Kroeger. Their cousin Brandon on drums and good friend Ryan Peake as guitarist/backing vocalist rounded out the group.
The name of Nickelback was based on Mike’s experience as a cashier in Starbucks where he frequently gave a nickel back in change to customers.
After putting together a collection of original songs, they borrowed money from Chad‘s stepfather and went to Vancouver to record the band in a friend’s studio. Liking what they heard, the group relocated to Vancouver in 1996. Once there, they recorded and released their seven song demo “Hesher,” and started to play live gigs.
However, during the process to record their material for their debut CD, Brandon decided to leave the band and pursue other career paths.
The rest members managed to launch “Curb” independently despite the loss in September 1996. Curb experienced heavy radio airplay nationwide; and the track, “Fly,” was made into a music video and also saw heavy rotation. Nickelback was helped by a Canadian law requiring a certain percentage of music played on Canadian radio to be from Canadian musical artists.
Nickelback tried out Mitch Guindon as Brandon’s replacement to fill the empty drummers spot before they settled on an old friend of Ryan’s, Ryan “Nik” Vikedal, and began touring.
With their sophomore effort, the band took over all the management duties, such as the distribution, radio tracking, and bookings. “The State,” was recorded at Vancouver’s Green House and later certified Platinum in Canada after its release in January 1999. Their success led the band to secure a major recording deal contract with EMI in Canada and Roadrunner Records in the U.S. “The State” was later re-released in America in March 2000, and reached Gold status in the U.S. with its two breakthrough songs “Breathe” and Leader of Men,” entered the top ten of Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks.
To record ”Silver Side Up, their third album, Nickelback worked with producer Rick Parashar at the same studio they used for “The State” The disc was released on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
The disc would garner three number one hits including “Too Bad,” “Never Again” and the standout hit single “How You Remind Me.” Nickelback collected four Billboard Music Awards of the year, in the category of Hot 100 Singles Group/Duo of the Year.
“Remind Me” made Nickelback only the second Canadian band to be number one on both the Canadian and U.S. rock charts at the same time. The song also went on to become the number one Most Played Song of 2002, and was nominated for Record of the Year at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards.
“The Long Road” arrived in 2003 and went triple platinum in the U.S. and included the radio hits “Someday,” “Figured You Out” and “Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good.” The single “Someday” went to number seven on the Billboard charts, and the album sold five million copies worldwide and was supported by an international tour. The band once more was nominated at the Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song for “Someday” as well as Best Rock Album in 2004, and Best Hard Rock Performance for “Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good” at the 2005 awards. Nickelback was nominated for a 2005 Juno Award for producer of the year.
Taking a break from touring, the group spent most of 2004 preparing their new album. In January 2005, Nickelback shockingly announced the withdrawal of Nik from the group. A release from the band stated, “At this time, no replacement for Vikedal has been named and the band wishes Ryan all the best in his future endeavors.”
Later in an interview, Nik’s claims that he was forced to quit. A month later it was announced that former 3 Doors Down drummer Daniel Adair was his replacement.
The new album included help from the late Dimebag Darrell formerly of Pantera and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, and was released in October of 2005.
It seemed the tensions between the band and the displaced Vikedal were not ready to end. In November of 2005, Nickelback lead vocalist and songwriter Chad Kroeger asked that Vikedal and his production company Ladekiv Music, Inc., sign over all financial interest in future royalties for the songs created by the group when Vikedal was drummer and return any public performance royalties earned since January 2005.
Nickelback has received 6 Juno Awards and were nominated for 5 more in 2006. Their single “Photograph” was nominated for best single. Nickelback won two of the awards for group of the year, and rock album of the year for “All the Right Reasons.”
The group supported “All the Right Reasons” in 2006 as the main act on their own international tour and as the opening act on the European leg and the US stadium leg for Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day” tour.