That Time Chad Kroeger Bought Me a Beer, Dave Grohl Loves Creed, and Why I’m Now Reconsidering Everything
At least week’s Dimebash in Santa Ana, CA (part of the annual NAMM Show festivities in nearby Anaheim), I had a life-changing experience involving Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger that made me reconsider my existence, this earth, everything on it, the stars and the universe, both known and unknown.
Kroeger, you see, was milling about in the backstage VIP area. Despite the cognitive dissonance such a scenario might conjure up in your head, he had every business being there: Chad was friends with the Abbott brothers before their untimely passing, and an early Nickelback song, “Side of a Bullet,” was written about Dimebag’s murder. The tune even featured some of his guitar outtakes from the Vulgar Display of Power sessions.
“LOL iT’s cHaD kROeGEr!” we laughed, before snapping a covert selfie with him in the background. I mentally prepared myself for meeting him; I’d ask a question about working with Devin Townsend on the latter’s latest album, I decided, then run for cover if I needed to once he sleuthed out who I am.
But I never got the chance to do that. As my friends and I inched closer to the front of the line at the bar, Kroeger stepped forward from the side and asked the bartender as earnestly and politely as could be if he could give her $100 in exchange for two beers, arm extended her direction with a Benjamin in hand. At once shocked and grateful, she accepted (duh!). After taking two beers for himself out of the makeshift cooler behind the bar, he said “Wait, actually, can I get four?” Obviously she obliged. Chad returned to his posse while the bartender, flushed in the face and reeling from the experience, took our orders. While we were still processing the exchange that had just unfolded in front of our faces, Kroeger turned back around and said to the bartender, “Oh, and buy those guys a round, too, I cut them in line!”
Let it never be said that Chad Kroeger isn’t insanely generous! Naturally we tipped the bartender extra to make up for our drinks cutting into Chad’s massive donation. Chad won, the bartender won, we won; it was quite a moment for all, although I concede Chad probably didn’t think much of it at the time. In that moment I pledged to myself and to my friends never to make fun of Kroeger or Nickelback ever again!
That night and the next morning we jammed Nickelback in our hotel room… non-fucking stop. Turns out a lot of that stuff isn’t so bad — there’s some good tunes in that catalogue, some solid riffs, and a whole lot of excellent songwriting and stellar production. Some real tripe, too — and I gotta be honest, I find Chad’s voice hard to swallow at least half of the time — but plenty that’s decent through any lens other than “LOL iT’s cHaD kROeGEr!” and the cultural connotations that have come to define him and the band. It’s weird how when you know someone (“know” being a generous term here, sure) your assessment of their art completely changes.
Anyhoo, I bring all this up today because Dave Grohl told Variety in an interview conducted at that very same Dimebash that he considers Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” to be “one of the most amazing songs of all time,” saying it would be the perfect song for a Dimebash closer with all the participating musicians up on stage (that’s, like, 100 people). I find Grohl to be one of the raddest dudes of all time, I love his music, and I ate his delicious BBQ that night… but I hate Creed. What to do??
Surely you can see where this is going: I’m reconsidering everything!
I certainly understand what Grohl means: “With Arms Wide Open” is truly a songwriting marvel, a total pro product, Exhibit A for How To Write a Song. There’s a reason it was so popular. Plus, we all know by now that guitarist Mark Tremonti has serious metal cred and is a top-notch player. It’s just friggin’ Scott Stapp we can’t stand and, like Nickelback, we got tired of hearing those songs endlessly and endlessly and endlessly and endlessly and
I’ve been saying for years that Creed are due for an ironic revival among today’s youth that were too young to experience their music the first time, the same way Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” came back from the dead decades later as the go-to drunken scream-along songs to close down your night (it wasn’t always that way, people!). Maybe that time is now! Can you take me higher, Scott? I’m ready.
Nickelback will be on tour this summer with Stone Temple Pilots, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and Switchfoot. Dates:
06/19 – Raleigh, NC @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek * [Tickets]
06/20 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater * [Tickets]
06/23 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion * [Tickets]
06/26 – Noblesville, IN @ Ruoff Music Center * [Tickets]
06/27 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center * [Tickets]
06/30 – Burgettstown, PA @ S&T Bank Music Park * [Tickets]
07/02 – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre * [Tickets]
07/03 – Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Amphitheater * [Tickets]
07/05 – Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts * [Tickets]
07/08 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage * [Tickets]
07/10 – Hartford, CT @ XFINITY Theatre * [Tickets]
07/11 – Hershey, PA @ Hersheypark Stadium * [Tickets]
07/17 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live * [Tickets]
07/19 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion * [Tickets]
07/22 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center * [Tickets]
07/25 – Bangor, ME @ Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion * [Tickets]
07/26 – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center * [Tickets]
07/29 – Syracuse, NY @ St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview * [Tickets]
07/31 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center * [Tickets]
08/01 – Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater * [Tickets]
08/04 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center * [Tickets]
08/06 – St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center * [Tickets]
08/08 – Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP * [Tickets]
08/09 – Omaha, NE @ CHI Health Center Omaha * [Tickets]
08/15 – West Palm Beach, FL @ iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
08/16 – Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
08/19 – Alpharetta, GA @ Ameris Bank Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
08/21 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena ^ [Tickets]
08/22 – Maryland Heights, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
08/25 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center ^ [Tickets]
08/27 – Milwaukee, WI @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater ^ [Tickets]
08/29 – Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
09/01 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
09/03 – Dallas, TX @ Dos Equis Pavilion ^ [Tickets]
09/04 – Woodlands, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion ^ [Tickets]
09/11 – Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
09/12 – Ridgefield, WA @ Sunlight Supply Amphitheater ^ [Tickets]
09/15 – Spokane, WA @ Spokane Arena ^ [Tickets]
09/18 – Boise, ID @ Ford Idaho Center Arena ^ [Tickets]
09/19 – West Valley City, UT@ USANA Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
09/22 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater ^ [Tickets]
09/25 – Irvine, CA @ FivePoint Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
09/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion ^ [Tickets]
09/29 – Chula Vista, CA@ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
10/02 – Wheatland, CA @ Toyota Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
10/03 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre ^ [Tickets]
* = with Stone Temple Pilots and Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown
^ = with Stone Temple Pilots and Switchfoot