CHAD KROEGER On Vocal-Cord Surgery: 'When I Woke Up, I Sounded Just Like The Loser From NICKELBACK'
June 17, 2017
Holland's FaceCulture recently conducted an interview with frontman Chad Kroeger of Canadian rockers NICKELBACK. You can watch the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he did any songwriting while recovering from surgery to remove a cyst on his vocal cords in 2015:
Chad: "No, I didn't. I need my voice to write melodies and so sometimes you're singing a melody and then it's the jigsaw puzzle of putting the lyrics into that melody. That would be really tough to do. I guess I could have done it on a piano if I sat down and did it that way. No, it's just so much easier just to sing. It was a nice break. Keep the mouth shut. There was a lot of jokes about that. My wife at the time, we laughed a lot about that one. I had this app on my phone that I would use and I would talk to her for two weeks when I couldn't even speak. When we got different kinds of food, I would change the accent. So when we got Chinese food, everything I would say would have a Chinese accent on it. [Laughs] Or if we got Indian food, it would have an East Indian accent. I got a kick out of that. I had her laughing for the full two weeks when I wasn't speaking, so that was good."
On when he started thinking about the band's new album, "Feed The Machine":
Chad: "I don't know…I think when you go and get surgery, there's a fear. You're afraid that you're pulling on a very thin thread and you have no idea how hard you can pull because it might snap. It's not really the case. It's not the case at all. Once you get a new set of tires, you've got a brand new set of tires. The trick I found is almost beating it up, hard, quickly to try to get it to sound like [how] 20 years of abuse sounded before you went and got surgery. I warm up and take good care of it. Now, I don't scream AC/DC at four o' clock, five o' clock when I'm drunk with my friends like I used to."
On whether he was scared during his vocal surgery:
Chad: "Sure, I was a little worried, but I was in really good hands. You never know how you're going to sound or what's going to happen or if you're never going to be able to sing again, but when I woke up, I sounded just like the loser from NICKELBACK. [Laughs] It was good. I was very happy when I first started speaking. Once I went through rehabilitation and was seeing this vocal coach, I remember the very first time he warmed me up really, really well. He had me singing for a long time, but at no point in time did I push it and get that grind going like the vocal distortion, the overdriven vocal sound sort of thing. I got in my car and I turned, I can't remember what song it was, but I turned it up a little bit and I was like 'I want to see what this sounds like.' My heart would be broken if I did that much warming up, like three and a half, four months after my surgery and I can't sing. That's a pretty good indicator, I should at least be able to see and have a glimpse. I went for one and it was all there. I was, like, 'Whoa!' I went for another one and I went really high, like really, really high. I had goosebumps. I almost had tears in my eyes. I started calling Mike [Kroeger, bass] and I called Ryan [Peake, guitar] and I was, like, 'Listen to this!' It was so high. I can't sing that high now because it's come back down; now it's back where it was. It was like I had a cape on; I felt like Superman. It was pretty cool."
On NICKELBACK's mindset for "Feed The Machine":
Chad: "The guys, they had said that they wanted the record to be a little bit more aggressive. There's some melodic stuff on the record, as there always will be. It would be boring if it was the same thing straight through. We like variance, we like some versatility in the record. I think overall it has more of an aggressive tone than we normally have. That was probably the only thing going in that all the guys…the one mindset 'Let's just make it a little bit heavier.'"
On why NICKELBACK went in a heavier direction:
Chad: "I think that the last record had maybe too many softer moments on it. I can't remember if that's what the guys were saying, but whatever it was, I think that might have been one point that was brought up. It was like, 'The last one was a little… maybe we need to switch gears, maybe we need to get back to our roots.' We definitely started off as a little bit of a heavier band, but we found fans in so many different places because we wanted to write different kinds of songs. We'd write a song that was way over here and the fans would accept it. Sometimes we'd write something really heavy and the fans would accept that too, which is nice. It's a wonderful luxury to have when you're a songwriter. I would get so sick of writing the same kind of music. Yeah, that was the only thing going in. There wasn't any common theme, per se, but the mindset was to try to make it a little bit heavier."
On whether the negative perception of NICKELBACK affects him creatively:
Chad: "No… I'm not influenced by… My songwriting is never influenced by what anyone else thinks. It's always the band. The band is… that is the voting group. Whatever the band allows. We had a ballad on this record that was going to be… that will probably make it on the next record. The chorus is this huge, soaring, big, love ballad, but we decided that it didn't really match with the album. It would stick out like a sore thumb if we put it on there. So, it's not like it's going anywhere. It's not like we're going to stop making music. We got it. It's sitting there. It will be on the next record, I'm sure. But for this one, we were, like, 'You know what? Not this one. We're going to leave it [off].'"
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