After surprising fans with an announcement on Twitter, Nickelback dropped a new cover track on Friday.
Covering the late Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, the band’s Mike Kroeger tells ET Canada why put a new spin on the song.
“Charlie Daniels was obviously a massive talent,” Kroeger says from his home in Los Angeles. “I thought it was a really cool story with some amazing fiddle playing and an interesting mythical topic.”
“Chad [Kroeger] brought this a while ago. We’ve had this sitting around for a really long time,” Kroeger says of the idea behind the new cover. “The idea was what we want to do is make it ours.” The band recruited Canadian guitarist Dave Martone to help give the song and the band a little extra edge when it came to their moody spin on the track.
“A lot of people think that we’re just a band that plays the gushy love song things but all of us have a metal-head streak so what we decided is, we’re gonna make it heavy and actually make it sound a little more evil,” he explains of the track. “Give it a little bit more of a darker kind of tone.”
FRIDAY 8/14 pic.twitter.com/R1NusrG7nc
— Nickelback (@Nickelback) August 12, 2020
Nickelback trended on Twitter after they posted a teaser of the song’s cover art, but Kroeger admits he wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for his kids. Occasionally he will hop on Twitter and respond to “keyboard comedians” making Nickelback jokes.
One of the last times the Canadian rockers were trending on Twitter was after Donald Trump shared a meme video set to “Photograph”. Admitting they are not Trump fans, Kroeger says the band are one of the many artists who have signed the Artists’ Rights Alliance petition, which calls for music to not be used in any political campaign — on either side of the political spectrum or border.
“I don’t care if you’re a Trump hater, a Never Trumper, an Always Trumper, Joe Biden supporter, I don’t care. We’re not political, that’s not what we do,” Kroeger tells ET Canada. “I think it’s really important to stay out of politics.”
“It’s saying, ‘Please remove me from your political messaging,'” he says of the Artists’ Rights Alliance. “We don’t want to be used that way.”
Nickelback joins Elton John, Mick Jagger, Sia, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Green Day, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, and many more artists, songwriters, music managers, and publishers who have signed the petition to end unauthorized use of music in political campaigns. Despite selling more than 50 million albums, Kroeger is still a humble Canadian, being a part of the petition along with some “artists with a higher profile than us.”
“We do humility in Canada, right? We’re self-deprecating,” he says with a smile. “We don’t want to overstate our importance ever.”
Despite scrapping plans for a massive tour, Nickelback are still ready to celebrate in 2020 as the band mark the 15th anniversary of their colossal All The Right Reasons album, which sold more than 10 million copies. Now, an anniversary edition will be released this October, which Kroeger tells ET Canada, is filled with new bonus materials for fans.
The two-disc set will include remastered tracks, B-sides, and a live recording of the band’s 2006 performance in Sturgis, South Dakota.
“It was something that we were really planning on doing a tour of. We were gonna go out and play All The Right Reasons from the beginning to the end but the tour got scrubbed and we decided to do the re-release anyway,” he says. “Our fans are looking for it, they want something.”
Kroeger says the band have changed a lot since the original release of All The Right Reasons.
“Professionally we have just gone a lot of places, done a lot of things, played thousands and thousands of shows and been in front of all these great fans that we have. Our people are the greatest,” he says of the past 15 years of Nickelback. “It’s just a continuation of the great ride we started in 1995. We’re just having a great time doing it and enjoying it. Still love playing, still love making music, still don’t mind getting our picture taken occasionally.”
When it comes to personal changes, Kroeger jokes, “I don’t know who I was then, I have changed a ton.”