I found myself admitting something the other day to a co-worker that I mostly keep to myself, so I thought I’d tell you guys too. It’s not that I’m embarrassed about this fact, nor is it even that much of a well kept secret. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth when spoken aloud. But here it is:
I have seen Nickelback play live 24 times and was once-upon-a-very-long-time-ago quite possibly their biggest fan.
Are you still reading this? Or, did you go <<*blech!*>> and stab frantically at the previous screen button while resisting the urge to blow rainbow chunks across the room at a speed rivaling that of light? Perhaps you dropped your personal device as though it had become the fabled hot potato and fled from the room while bemoaning the state of the music industry and humanity in general? No, you’re still here? Good, I’ll continue with a story that might put us both at ease.
Though spawned in the vast, bleary plains of Hanna, Alberta, the original members of the band migrated west in the mid-nineties. Their sound was much different then, but that’s the case for almost every band of that era still active today. Bands should be allowed to evolve. It’s necessary.
My first NB concert was in the classroom size space behind the sales floor of one of our local music stores. Such a loud, thrashing guitar noise in such a tiny room combined with the fact I was pressed up against one of the front speakers by the small-yet-happily-moshing crowd left me with permanent hearing damage. So that was cool! (Joking of course; not cool, very not cool!)
Around that time, shows of that type were incredibly common; pretty much a weekly occurrence if you one was willing to travel. This one took place nearly two hours from home for me, but only minutes away from the house my best friend had recently moved to. Convenient for this one thing, yes, but assuredly disastrous for everything else.
Did we get lost? Are you still with me? I tend to stumble around in my own personal darkness. When it comes to this space, my blog, I’m aiming for authenticity. It’s important to me to be more ME. I’ve been trying to be less for too long. I think that’s part of my reason for sharing this not-very-secret-and hopefully-not-horrendously-revolting secret here.
Yes, I liked Nickelback. I cannot say I do now. The last album I bought of theirs was in 2003 and the last time I saw them live roughly the same time. Although I remain firmly tethered to almost every single band I loved in high school, not so with these guys. Part of it is that I don’t enjoy bandwagons or the act of hopping on them… or finding your previously barren wagon clustering with people. Part of it is the disconnect between the music I fell in love with in the beginning and the pre-packaged, repetitive pop-alt-rock that came after.
Most of the rest comes down to this, a core question that has haunted me for nearly twenty years: why them? Why did success rocket towards them and not the others sharing their stages? Why did so many bands that I love from the Nineties perish and yet some unknown force took hold of NB’s trajectory and nudged it into outer space? I keep asking myself. But I have no answer.
I’m much better with questions.