by Steve Haruch
So, Nickelback play the Sommet Center tonight at 7 p.m. Also tonight, starting at 7:30 p.m., there will apparently be a Nickelback Sucks Candlelight Vigil outside our local arena to protest the band's "defiling our beloved Music City."
What is it about Nickelback that enflames such passions? I don't know, though I have some ideas.
Nevertheless, I am not a combatant in this round of point-counterpoint (also known as sukz/rulz). Instead, I will let Scene music listings editor Adam Gold and writer William R. Robinson trade blows over this most divisive of bands.
Regular readers of Nashville Cream will likely not be surprised that Gold does not particularly care for the music of Nickelback. He had this to say about them:
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!
Robinson, for his part, does not agree. Here is an excerpt from an email he sent to me:
I've got to tell you, that I took extreme exception to Adam Gold's harsh, nasty, vituperative and totally baseless attack on Nickelback recently. Entitled "Blame Canada!" it made me wonder who the hell he is and what bands he does like ... Milli Vanilli perhaps? As he opined in the "slam piece," he clearly doesn't like Creed either ... so what kind of appalling wimp rock does he like anyway?
I think the teaser he wrote--and as I understand it, a teaser should tease people to attend an event not turn them away as his did--was atrocious and I'm going to show it to my friends Chad and Mike Kroger of Nickelback when I see them backstage Wednesday night. I mean, how would you react Steve, if some local writer called you "poodle-haired" and "rat-faced??" That's beyond insulting ... it's mean-spirited and singularly stupid, particularly as Chad, it is well-known, has absolutely no problem in the ladies department, quite the contrary.
Since I've been in Nashville, in the last year I've seen AC/DC; Kid Rock; Korn/Hellyeah; ZZ Top; Garth Brooks; Keith Richards; Peter Frampton; Roger McGuinn; Mary Wells; Vince Gill & Amy Grant; UFO; REO Speedwagon; Blues Traveller; Chris Cornell; Robert Cray; Charlie Daniels; BB King; Buddy Guy; Alice in Chains; and many, many more fine acts perform fantastic concerts. I can tell you with total objectivity and real journalistic integrity, that nobody ... not AC/DC ... not ZZ Top at The Ryman ... nobody put on a better show than Nickelback does. You can believe that.
It's blisteringly obvious Mr. Gold had never taken the time to actually see the band perform live or do any responsible research and yet was still assigned the writing of this small piece on a subject he was without knowledge about and worrisomely, would not take the time to educate himself about before committing pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
I sense that perhaps you share Adam's disdain for Nickelback and perhaps will not cover the concert. This would be a terrible mistake Steve, because when you get right down to it, as journalists and editors, our job is to objectively report on occurrences, events and situations we witness or have knowledge about with a total lack of bias, personal opinion or the application of our own personal tastes. This was far from the case with Gold's "Blame Canada!" piece and there can be no doubts that Nickleback's tour-opening performance at the Sommet is a significant event which must be covered.
I wish you both would come to actually see them perform tomorrow night. This would be as opposed to inviting Mr. Gold for a fist-fight, as I suspect might be Chad's first reaction. I'd like to speak to Chad and Mike from Nickleback by phone today and believe that in spite of the terrible piece you ran on them--being the class-act people they are--they'll want to invite you both backstage so they might introduce themselves properly to you both and give you a great first-hand experience of what their band and music is really all about. Would you please let me know if you and Mr. Gold would like to take me up on this offer? Cheers ...