Nickelback joining Walk Of Fame

DAVID SCHMEICHEL -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

They must be doing something right.

After little more than a decade together -- much of it spent dodging the slings and arrows of critics and other self-styled musical purists -- the members of Alberta hard-rock act Nickelback are being honoured with a spot on Canada's Walk of Fame.

This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, really. Over the past six years or so, the band has racked up a truly impressive array of awards and chart designations, including several Juno, Billboard, and American Music Awards, as well as four Grammy nominations and a cool 21 million in record sales.

They've also managed to give new meaning to the term "fan favourite," with their last album spawning five No. 1 singles, all despite the steady stream of critical derision that has turned Nickelback into something of a whipping boy on both sides of the border.

But don't expect to see frontman Chad Kroeger gloating about it.

"No, it's not like that at all," Kroeger tells Sun Media from his home in Vancouver. "It's just an absolute pleasure and an honour to be recognized this way. Trying to justify to myself that we belong there is hard, because I don't think we do. We just play rock 'n' roll ... Maybe if we saved lives or rescued people."

But with all those records sold, a strong argument could be made that Kroeger and his bandmates -- buddies Ryan Peake and Daniel Adair, and half-brother Mike Kroeger -- have struck a universal chord, maintaining a devoted fanbase with their trademark blend of anthemic bar-rock and macho post-grunge.

"Well, I guess that's a wonderful way to look at it, that we've touched people's lives," Kroeger says. "I remember listening to my own favourite bands during my formative years, knowing that if it weren't for those bands, things would have gone a lot differently.

The Nickelback crew, whose members first gained attention with the smash 2001 hit How You Remind Me, have always been cognizant of the role fans have played in their success, Kroeger says. It's the main reason they've become pickier in recent years about the material they're releasing to the airwaves.

"A lot of bands show up, record their records, get a lot of people into them ... and they just automatically think those people will be around for the next record," he says. "But it just doesn't work that way. I know it doesn't work that way for me."

A heightened commitment to that mindset is one of the primary differences between the Nickelback of the past and the Nickelback of today, Kroeger says, though it has a tendency to manifest itself in prolonged recording sessions, with bandmates fretting over a track until it sounds perfect to everyone involved.

"Yeah, now there's this whole level of anal-retentiveness," Kroeger says, laughing. "But also now, when we go back and listen to those songs, nobody says, 'Dammit -- I wish we'd changed that.' "

After the Walk of Fame ceremony in Toronto on Saturday and a trip to the MuchMusic Video Awards (they're up for five) on June 17, the band will wrap up some 17 months of touring with another North American leg that is almost certain to go into extra innings.

Not that Kroeger -- who can still remember the humbling details of Nickelback's climb from smalltown Hanna, Alta., to the world stage -- is complaining,

"We are four lucky bastards," he says. "Not a day goes by that I don't wake up and think, 'I'm thankful to be able to play music for a living. And to be heard.' "

Nickelback joins six other Canadians being inducted into the Walk of Fame this year: Catherine O'Hara, Lloyd Robertson, Rick Hansen, Jill Hennessy, Gordon Pinsent, Johnny Bower and Ivan Reitman.


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