NICKELBACK Bassist Says Band Uses Radio Data As A 'Barometer For What People Want To Hear' During Its Concerts

October 20, 2018

NICKELBACK bassist Mike Kroeger recently spoke with Australia's Heavy magazine. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On planning the band's live production:

Mike: "It's pretty much an open creative process, and it's not unlike writing songs, because it is creative as well. It is more of a visual creation for the most part, but we're also always trying to find ways to involve the crowd, bring the crowd into the show, and maybe even bring people out of the audience onto the stage."

On the difficulties of assembling a setlist:

Mike: "It is one of those challenges. It is not easy. It's been really, really hard to do that, because we have had songs that have done very well. That's a really great problem to have when you have a whole bunch of songs that people want to hear you play every night. Inevitably, we end up throwing out at least one or two No. 1 singles that we just don't have time to play, but the way that we do it, and the way that we've been figuring it out, is by using data from radio, et cetera about what played well and what charted well — using that as a barometer for what people want to hear. When you go to Europe is when it's really interesting, because very often, you're playing a different country every night. They all have different radio proclivities that you really have to research. We'll be in one country like Germany where the single 'What Are You Waiting For?' went over huge, and then we'll drive to some place like France where it didn't, and something else did well there, so we do a lot of swapping based on what data we can gather of what works."

On his favorite songs to perform live:

Mike: "The real thing that kind of spices it up for me is the ones that are a little bit harder to play, that are just a little bit more up, a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more metal — things like 'Feed The Machine', the song itself. You really have to be on your game to play that tightly and make it impactful and effective. That's one I like, just because it's a good challenge. I like it when the challenge is set in front of you."

On whether the group writes on the road:

Mike: "It has happened, but you never know. It is a writing bug, and it comes and goes. Sometimes on tour, it comes, and other times on tour, it just doesn't. It's momentary — you never know. Being the way that technology is now, you can write pretty much anywhere you can make a sound, [and] you can record that sound and save that idea. That has been used many, many times in the past by us."

On why the group asked BAD WOLVES to support their February Australian tour:

Mike: "They were brought to us by our agent when we were looking for support. That's always the hardest part — finding support that's going to work, that we're going to like, that's going to also leave a mark and bring in some more people. That's what these guys [offer]. Apparently, they're on their way to something, and they're getting things going and looking really good. That cover [of THE CRANBERRIES' 'Zombie']... I think it's a fantastic choice. I kind of regret that we didn't get to it first, but good on 'em for doing that. It's a fantastic song."

Kroeger co-founded NICKELBACK in 1995 in Alberta, Canada with his brother Chad, who fronts the band. They have released nine albums, six of which have gone platinum. With more than 50 million units sold, NICKELBACK is the 11th best-selling music act and second best-selling foreign act in the U.S. in the 21st century behind THE BEATLES. "How You Remind Me" was named Billboard's top rock song of the decade and reached No. 4 on the Top 10 songs of the 2000s list.

Besides nine Grammy Award nominations, the band has received three American Music Awards, a World Music Award, a People's Choice Award, twelve JUNO Awards, seven MuchMusic Video Awards and induction into Canada's Walk Of Fame.

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