NICKELBACK guitarist Ryan Peake says that he never expected his band's popularity to be so polarizing.
Arguably the most disliked band in America, NICKELBACK has earned a type of hatred so potent it's hard to fathom what they did that was so terrible to the public consciousness. It's gotten to the point that people who enjoy NICKELBACK are denying their fandom and hiding their CDs like criminal contraband.
Speaking to "Talk Is Jericho" about how he feels about the attention NICKELBACK has gotten because of this, Ryan said (hear audio below): "Everybody lives in their own miscrocosm. It's always worse for you, it seems. But everybody gets their degree of hate and degree of detractors and vitriol on the Internet. So you understand it more when you're in the eye of the hurricane and think of your own hurricane. You think you're the only one it's happening to sometimes…
"I didn't realize we would be so polarizing," he admitted. "That's the one thing that's kind of shocking to me. I wasn't really hyper aware, in any sense, in the '70s when the disco polarization was really going on. That was the first time I'd heard of people [going] crazy about disco hate — people getting mad about some kind of music. I was just, like, 'Just don't listen to it.' You listen to what you like and you with what you like, and I don't get too wound up about it. So when that happens, I try to get inside their heads as to why people get so wound up about it. There's a choice — why do you get wound up about this thing?
"I think people like to commiserate — they do. They love to just talk about what itches their ass, so to speak. 'Oh, you too.' 'Yeah.'"
Four years ago, a student named Salli Anttonen at the University of Eastern Finland conducted a study to find out why there is so much hate directed towards NICKELBACK. Anttonen analyzed Finnish reviews of the band from 2000 through 2014 for her paper, which was titled "Hypocritical Bullshit Performed Through Gritted Teeth: Authenticity Discourses In Nickelback's Album Reviews In Finnish Media".
Anttonen found that critiques of the band became harsher as they became more popular, noting: "It became a phenomenon where the journalists were using the same (reasons) to bash them, and almost making an art out of ridiculing them."
Even though the study was based solely upon Finnish reviews of the band, the critics' animosity toward the group has been a global phenomenon.
NICKELBACK frontman Chad Kroeger admitted a while back that the group has never been a critical favorite. "I think we actually used to pay a little bit of attention to that, and we just kind of accepted it's, like, nope, we are never going to be one of those bands, we are never going to be the critic's darlings, and we're okay with that," he said. "Even a lot of critics are kind of, like, 'We've done our best to try and get the word out there that as many people as possible should hate this band because we hate this band.' And they've just sort of gone, 'You know what? We can't do it. We cannot convince anybody else to hate this band as much as we do.'"
Anttonen concluded: "NICKELBACK is too much of everything to be enough of something. They follow genre expectations too well, which is seen as empty imitation, but also not well enough, which is read as commercial tactics and as a lack of a stable and sincere identity."
NICKELBACK has spent much of the last three years touring in support of its ninth album, "Feed The Machine", which was released in June 2017 via BMG.