Love them or hate them, Nickelback is one of the most popular and highest-selling rock bands today and their latest record, No Fixed Address has released to overwhelming critical and fan acclaim. Currently out on the road in support, they have The Pretty Reckless, Pop Evil and Lifehouse out on the road with them on various dates and they\’ll be out for most of the year.
Guitarist Ryan Peake took some time recently to talk to us about the new album and the tour. Check out the conversation here and make sure you get out to a show and support the music.
FRR: The new album, No Fixed Address has a few new elements on it. Was there a there a new approach to recording this time?
Ryan Peake: Nothing deliberate, necessarily. It just kind of happened. The last few albums we would kind of just hole up in a room studio, in Chad’s studio in the Vancouver area for 6-7 months and just wring the rag, the creative rag at least 12 hours days every day seven days a week. We could do it the first time and the second time was kind of tough, families evolve and you have kids and the next time Here and Now was the same kind of deal.
It’s just been a struggle to a degree and creatively it can be exhausting, I feel, and this time Chad had moved away and so did the studio and it just kind of happened organically, like, ‘What are we going to do?’ We’re not going to use our studio anymore, Chad’s spending time in LA, out of Vancouver, Mike’s overseas in Hawaii. So we started to say, ‘Hey, why don’t we do 5-10 days here.’ Cause it’s easier for my family- Daniel also is in Vancouver, ‘Okay let’s go to LA for a bit, let’s go to Hawaii to see Mike’ and it’s not really a tough decision to make either- let’s go to Hawaii to record. It’s pretty great!
We also have the recording gear out on our European tour two years ago when we were doing a European run. So we were just kind of picking away at stuff, and that was something we had done a lot. We used to kind of write on the road but not necessarily put things down and record, and these days the difference between a demo and a recording is very, very little if anything at all.
You use a lot of scratch tracks and ideas and ideas and whatnot that you originally put down and sometimes it’s makes the final cut. So all of a sudden we were just doing bits and pieces here and there and it felt like we didn’t really have a recording home base anymore and it kind of felt good. You can get in, and then you can get out and you can recharge the creative batteries and look objectively at what you’ve just finished, and that was a breath of fresh air. We actually really enjoyed that experience.
FRR: You also collaborated with Flo-Rida on this album. How did that come about?
Ryan Peake: As we normally do it was all masterminded. No, that’s a total lie- sorry!
It’s so ridiculous how some things happen. I think if you leave yourself open to opportunity in any kind of thing you do, in any kind of job or creative endeavor that you’re doing, leave yourself open to opportunity and you never know what can happen.
That song, Chad had pieces of that song before and we never really used any of the pieces he kind of brought it to Forefront again and I had left this one recording session in LA, and we were coming back, it must have been a week or two after so he had some time to kind of sit with the stuff by himself and he had a friend he was writing with who works with a lot of hip-hop artist, and rap artists, I’m not sure what the correct term for this is.
So he brought it to the session because he was listening to it and he was like hey check it out, my friend, he’s making this song Flo-Rida was at the session and was like oh I’d love to be on that thing, and he was like “really?! Oh that’s awesome”. Chad was like, yea that’s I never really thought of it, yea it’s really cool. We recorded it in a house, by the way. We had the odd studio, but most of them were in a home, a house. And we would just set up shop and make an impromptu studio sat on the couch again within an hour or two he was done! Like writing everything, doing it, doubling it, adding harmony I wasn’t there for the actual session but Chad was impressed he was a really, really sweet guy and it went well. So now we’ve got somebody rapping on one of our songs so I don’t know how people are going to take it, it’s definitely a bit of a left turn but it’s just music- it’s just creative music and it’s kind of fun. It was definitely a different flavor for Nickelback.
FRR: The lead single- “Edge of a Revolution, was used for WWE\’s Survior Series last year. You\’ve had a few songs used as theme songs by WWE. What\’s it been like working with them?
We’re very flattered that the people at WWE have been interested in the music at all. I don’t personally watch a lot of it, I used to watch it when I was younger, so I’m not necessarily a fan of it. We did Tribute to the Troops and we did a thing over there and we actually got a chance to actually meet some of the people from the WWE and they’re just amazing, kind people.
It’s so nice to see the people behind the character, it really is, and the stuff that they do, I’m so proud to be associated with people who give back a lot and do a lot of positive things. As much as it’s entertainment they do a lot of positive things outside of the wrestling community. I just thought it’s super cool to be associated with that. Flattered is what I would say.
FRR: We\’re at 20 years of Nickelback now. What does that mean to you and what stands out the most? Did you think you’d reach 20 years?
Ryan Peake: We’re old! We’re really old! It’s a bit strange. People have started mentioning this doing interviews and press and I’ve have be honest I don’t really think about how long it’s been. We always say “oh, we started the first show in ’96, January of ‘96” and then I just stopped doing math because But yea, I mean, it’s been a while. We’ve had some pretty good moments.
One of the best things for us is we’ve been to so many places which we never thought we’d ever go. When we started we were just like ‘Let’s try to be big in Vancouver’ and we moved from Alberta, a small town in Alberta, because that was never going to happen, essentially, so we moved. ‘Okay, let’s just start effecting the big giant city of Vancouver.’ And then it was let’s be big in Western Canada. It wasn’t like five-year goals or anything, it was like let’s just keep adding to the fan base if we can, and then things popped for us with “How You Remind Me” in 2001 and then all of a sudden we’re traveling to Europe, going to Australia, Japan, and the States even. We couldn’t get in the States initially. It’s just more than you can ever imagine.
I can appreciate all of it and I do try to keep quite a bit of perspective on that- I think you kind of have to, but I also don’t do a lot of reflecting at this point. I think when we truly retire or, I know I’m old but when I get super old is when I’ll actually look back on it and say, “this is really cool!” It’s kind of like a hurricane when you’re out here touring and we’re just focusing on “I want this show to be good and then I want the next show to be good we don’t sit back and look at all the things we’ve done and think that we’ve made it so we don’t have to do anything anymore. That’s just not our mentality. I want to do something better- I want to get better than the last time, and I think you have to think of it that way all the time.
FRR: Awesome! You\’re on the road right now, touring for the album. The support for the tour changes a few times, which is interesting. Is that something you like and do you get to choose your own support for the tour?
Ryan Peake: We’re out til December and we’ve actually got stuff booked ‘til almost Christmas, so yea, it’s gonna be a stretch!
It is interesting and we do hand pick these guys- we pine over it…The Pretty Reckless can only come for a certain time frame and then I think they’re going back in the studio and then Pop Evil and Lifehouse works with the timing of the bands. But I think it’s great, I love rotating it too, it kind of keeps it fresh and a newer band might want to come tour with us.
It definitely is a nice thing to have when people actually want to throw their hat in the ring and then we’ll finish with Lifehouse in the summer and we’ll go to Europe and I’ve been wanting to take these guys out for a while, we’re taking a band out called Monster Truck.
FRR: I love Monster Truck!
Ryan Peake: You know Monster Truck? They’re totally throwback, but they’re just good meat and potatoes rock and roll from Canada. We’re very excited to go with those guys as well, too. It’s gonna be a fun year it’s gonna be lots of varied bands but it’s gonna be fun!