Multi-platinum, chart-topping rock band, NICKELBACK, has announced their massive Feed The Machine Tour will land in Australia this summer, bringing their biggest production yet for three shows only.
Touring in support of their ARIA #3 album, Feed The Machine (out now through BMG), these will be Nickelback’s first Australian shows since May 2015. The multi-platinum-selling powerhouse will hit the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on February 13, Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on February 15 and Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on February 16 – with very special guests Bad Wolves.
Nickelback return to Australia with their biggest and loudest production yet, a high octane show of tracks from the band’s enduring nine-album body of work such as all-time classics, How You Remind Me, Far Away, Burn it To the Ground, Gotta Be Somebody and more recent hits from their current album, Feed The Machine, such as Song On Fire and Must be Nice. Mike Kroeger spoke to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles about the tour.
Not long until Australia now?
Absolutely, we’ve never had a bad time in Australia to be honest with you and we’re excited to be getting back and doing it all again and enjoy your wonderful place.
Were there plans to come to Adelaide and Perth?
This time around we’re not able to come to Adelaide and Perth. It was a matter of availability unfortunately with the venues that we would normally play. So we had to book in an abbreviated trip.
Is this tour mostly focused on the relatively new album Feed The Machine or is it the best and the greatest?
We feel a great responsibility to people to remember to play the songs that brought them in. We want to represent the new album but also having to play the songs that got us where we are. It is a little bit of a balancing act, it is difficult to write a set list because we want to play the new material and in order to play the new material we would have to throw in a lot of songs people consider hits or their favourites. We’re already careful not to kick those out of the set otherwise we’ll be up there like Bruce Springsteen for five hours or something.
Does it still amaze you how much bigger it continues to get for Nickelback and how did you see 2018 for the band?
We take it day to day really, we’ve never really gotten organised enough to make a plan too far in advance. The tour we are talking about right now is kind of an anomaly for us, to know what are going to do or this many months ahead of time is really unusual for us. We don’t want to look to far ahead, we just our heads down and go to work then everything will be fine.
Given the success of Feed The Machine is there a humbling feeling of proving the critics wrong again?
The critics do what they do, very few of them are that passionate and are just trying to make a living. You know? That’s OK, they don’t really affect what we do or what we think or how we move forward and definitely not with those voices in mind. The people who we work for is the fans and we have to get out there and play for them. We’re not going to compromise what we deliver to them by worrying about people we can never please.
Here in Australia tours always sell out, the band is always on the radio and you sell truckloads of records but people still hang shit on Nickelback. Do you get confused by all of that?
It isn’t that confusing, we come from Canada and we get that there to. They do the exact same thing in Canada as well. I don’t know if you use the same expression there tall poppy syndrome, everyone wants the poppy to grow and once it gets too tall we got to cut it back down to size, that’s very much English, Australian and Canadian thing to do. It is something to do that when you have the Queen on the money everyone needs to get cut back down to size. We got used to that really early and every wants you when you’re the new shiny thing, love you in the high times then at some point they decide you should be dispensed with.
Was Feed The Machine one of the more challenging albums that the band has ever made?
It was a fair bit of work, anything worth doing is going to take up a lot of your efforts and we’ve never done an easy album. I don’t think anyone ever does an easy album, it’s like a good divorce, I don’t think easy albums exist. An easy album isn’t something I don’t think you would want to listen to. If it was easy you probably didn’t put in enough. I felt like that if you weren’t losing your mind making an album you weren’t digging deep enough.
Being nine albums in was it a challenge to do something a little bit different but nothing to radically different to alienate the fans?
Preciously! With Feed The Machine the purpose we wanted was to make a rock record that stands up as a body of work that is predominantly rock music. That was our goal, we don’t want to be that band that quote unquote reinvents itself constantly. I know a lot of artists do it that I love and it’s great for them to do it but I feel like you have to win back your fans every album, you have to win again because they are your fans because what you did before then you go and do something different. I think you’re in the business of converting people constantly. There is no flow, you’re sending out a different thing every time which your fans may not even like, for us that’s not the right move we’re about keeping it in a way people like ‘keep doing that’ not unlike that Australian band AC/DC. Those guys wrote the same album for years and it turned out great for them and they had a great time doing it and their fans love it. There is a method to that sort of madness in being consistent with what you’re putting out there.
Is that the most satisfying feeling being in the studio watching these songs take shape?
It is pretty amazing, being in a band with a prolific song writer like Chad it is unreal to watch that happen, watch that creativity spill out. I call him the rainmaker because he is one of those people who is so utterly creative they can take nothing and turn it something. That’s as simple as you can get, a sculptor takes a piece of stone and can make beautiful art out of it or a painter can take a canvas, paints and brushes and turn it in to beautiful art. If I did that it wouldn’t! It wouldn’t look like that but he has this wonderful gift he has developed over the years learning how to be the prolific songwriter that he is and he has got better and better at it. It is that creative ability to make something out of absolutely nothing. The most minuscule idea can turn in to this wonderful creative work. I do enjoy seeing that happen.
With some of those singles were there plenty of high fives knowing that you created something great?
No, never! In the beginning you learn really fast when you’re writing these songs that there’s ones you feel that are really strong and this is really great, that it would be an excellent song for a single and it doesn’t get what you thought it was going to get. People don’t go to it like you thought and sometimes there’s that one where everyone goes that’s another song, nothing special about that, sometimes that’s the one that everyone goes crazy about. The high fives come after the people have spoken!
Has there been much thought about album number ten?
Funnily enough there is this little talk about it, I got a text message from Chad and he’s saying he’s ready to get back out there. No one really wanted to push him, like hurry up and get in there and write another album, everyone is waiting for him if he was going to do it again then we wait for it, if not that’s OK. He’s already written so much, done so much and if one day he decides he’s not going to write another song again then so be it, that’s how it goes. By the same token when Chad decides it’s time to start writing some songs again we’re all about supporting that.
Do you revisit some of those songs that don’t make the album or do they get confined to the archives?
They really do, we have what Chad calls the vault and it is full of song fragments, sometimes there is a whole song or two in there but mostly it’s song parts, a chorus, a verse or a guitar riff or whatever. We’ll go to that vault and pick through there, sometimes it’s a song that came together about halfway then it got stopped some place, then you bring it out of the vault a couple years later and sometimes it turns in to a song. It turns out to be very prominent, Feed The Machine came out of the vault and it had been written once the rewritten again before we even decided to open it again. Feed The Machine was the product of a long time of visits where we would go through and try to inject some creativity to it and it would just stop at a certain place and then just put it away. All the other times it would get put away and stay put away, this time we were able to take the pieces and put them all together and come up with what we thought was a good song.
Will there ever be a Nickelback live album?
We have talked about a Nickelback live album so many times, we have talked about a Nickelback acoustic album so many times and a Nickelback covers album so many times but we’re not there just yet.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Nickelback on the following dates. Tickets from livenation.com.au…