Few bands did more than Nickelback to establish the force of slick, commercially minded post-grunge in the 2000s. Led by vocalist Chad Kroeger, the band initially emerged in the late ’90s as Canada’s answer to Creed, prizing a blend of gruff vocals and distorted (yet radio-friendly) guitars. After a handful of singles failed to gain much traction in Canada, “How You Remind Me” caught hold in 2001, eventually topping the charts in several countries while gathering four Grammy nominations and four Juno Awards. Creed imploded several years later, but Nickelback’s popularity only grew as the decade progressed, effectively eclipsing those acts that had once informed the band’s sound.
Chad Kroeger honed his frontman skills by performing with cover bands in Hanna, a small Canadian town 215 kilometers northeast of Calgary. After growing tired of playing other people’s songs, he borrowed money from his stepfather and relocated to Vancouver, where he recorded his first batch of original material. Mike Kroeger, Chad’s bass-playing sibling, decided to join his brother’s band, as did fellow Vancouver transplants Ryan Peake (a guitarist who had befriended the Kroegers in middle school) and Ryan Vikedal (a drummer from Peake’s hometown of Brooks, Alberta). Nickelback officially took shape in 1996 and quickly set to work, releasing two albums — the Hesher EP and full-length album Curb — before the year was up. By 1998, the bandmates were managing themselves; Chad courted radio stations, brother Mike handled distribution, Vikedal booked shows, and Peake maintained the band’s website.
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