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Vox online interviews Nickelback
VOX: Lets start at the beginning…how did you guys come together?
Ryan Vikedal: You want to take this?
Mike Kroeger: Well, Chad's my brother, so we go back a long time. [Laughing] With Ryan [Vikedal], it was sort of the "three degrees of separation" thing. We knew each other through other people. Our cousin was in the band before - it was a real family affair then. But he wanted to have a life - a home, a wife, children, so he had to bow out. So we ended up with the four of us. It hasn't blown up yet.
VOX: What is the music scene like in Vancouver for a band just starting out?
MK: Home is actually southern Alberta. We went to Vancouver B.C., because there isn't an abundance of opportunities to play back home. There's not a lot of recording studios or anything like that.
We really just made our name by never turning down the opportunity to play a show. It didn't matter where it was or what the weather was like - we were there. I mean, we would go out in weather that was just nasty, load up the gear and go play. We missed one show - and it's kind of a funny story - it was a horrible snowstorm, but we got our stuff together and headed up to this place.
RV: Nobody was on the road. It was bad, eh.
MK: But we headed out to this club, showed up, and the place was closed! [Laughing] We made it, but no one else did.
RV: It was in Banff. We got all the way there, and the owners had closed up because of the bad weather.
VOX: What do you think of the American music scene?
RV: It's wicked cool, eh.
MK: There is nothing like it. It really kicks your ass. It works out people - you find out what you're made of. It's just on another level here. The arena tours are even harder. But, hey, it's the rock and roll dream, right?
VOX: What's behind the title of the new record, "the state"?
MK: That was mine - I wanted something that was very open to interpretation, could be very personal and detached at the same time…
VOX: There isn't any punctuation or capitalization…
MK: Right! You can put something after it or before it and interpret it the way you want. The title isn't really meant to tie in with the cover photo either. You can come away from it with whatever you want to.
VOX: "Breathe" is a powerful song - tell us about it.
MK: Again, like the record title, it about what you make of it. It's very detached…
VOX: "Leader of Men" is an awesome song. What is the story behind it?
RV: That one's a little easier to figure out.
MK: That's closely based on the boy's experience with hallucinogens, mushrooms to be specific. That's what came out. It's really pretty easy to figure out once you know what's behind it.
VOX: I've noticed that many of the lyrics are rather positive. You sure don't seem like an angry group of guys.
RV: Maybe it's because we're Canadian. We just aren't that upset.
MK: Yeah, we're just not that pissed off. Maybe it's just not having to live in the cities of America. I don't know. There are plenty of other bands that are doing that stuff anyway. I'm sure you've noticed that Canadians just aren't that angry, as a general rule…
VOX: Any video plans?
RV: We're still planning…we just got the treatments.
MK: They just came in. We've gotten the various ideas from directors, and we'll go through them and see…who directed that new [Red Hot] Chili Peppers video? That was awesome.
VOX: Any good stories from the Creed/Sevendust tour?
MK: Oh, man. What a great tour. Those guys are very inspiring and extremely cool. It was almost like Spinal Tap it was so much fun. It was the big road show that you dream about. Those guys are larger than life. You stand out there and watch them and just seem like they're a hundred feet tall. Mark [Tremonti] would just hang out on stage before sound check, and he would call Chad up and ask him to jam with him. They made us feel really good.
VOX: Are you all into the Internet - do you see it as an important medium for the band?
RV: There is no way to underestimate it.
MK: Right. It's critical now. It's one of the first places fans look, and it allows us to get closer to them and know what's going on. We're in the process of re-doing our site right now. We felt like it didn't have enough options, and it didn't allow the fans to interact with us as much as we would like. We want the fans to be able to keep in touch with us. It'll be more interactive.
RV: We want people to know if we shoot up to Toronto to play a show at the last minute or something important like that.
VOX: What can we expect from you in a live show?
RV: If you're going to be in the pit, wear something you don't mind getting messed up.
MK: And watch your head.
RV: If you're going to sit in the back and watch the scene, wear your earplugs.
MK: Get ready for a good time. We hope you enjoy the show.