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Nickelback goes big on latest tour

Melissa Ruggieri
Nickelback hasn't exactly won over critics, but the band keeps gaining fans with its catchy songs.

ATLANTA Nickelback has never been a critical darling.

Singer Chad Kroeger even noted, with a self-effacing laugh, on a recent conference call with journalists that he doesn't ever expect to see the band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But face it, Nickelback writes radio-magnet tunes with arena-ready choruses; and the Canadian rockers, fronted by gravelly voiced Kroeger, have sold more than 21 million albums in the U.S. since "The State" album in 2000.

They might not win awards, but they're clearly doing something right in the court of public opinion.

After all, it would be a challenge not to have heard a Nickelback song in the past decade, whether sung by "American Idol" contestants ("Savin' Me," "Hero"), attached to a sports promo ("Burn It to the Ground") or perhaps in a strip club ("Bottoms Up," "Figured You Out").

Then there is the string of radio hits — "How You Remind Me," "Someday," "Rockstar," "Far Away," "If Today Was Your Last Day" and many more.

In April, the band — Kroeger, his bassist brother Mike, guitarist Ryan Peake and drummer Daniel Adair — launched a three-month tour behind "Here and Now," released in November. The tour comes to Dallas June 1 and Houston June 2, but not Austin.

During the chat with journalists, Chad Kroeger and Peake talked about their flying stage, opening acts and how they've adjusted to social media.

What has the crowd's reaction been to your new material?

Kroeger: The new material went over great. I think I realized how hard it is to sing some of the old stuff. So, we brought back "Never Again" from "Silver Side Up." We took out "Too Bad" and "Savin' Me." And we put in (from the new record) "This Means War." That one is no picnic to sing, either! "When We Stand Together," "Bottoms Up" and "Lullaby" off the new record seemed to go over really well.

How does this show compare to past runs that you've done?

Kroeger: This is so over the top. We've got this flying stage that comes down and picks us up and takes us across the arena and starts spinning ... it's just absolute insanity. We've got this massive screen that splits apart in six different sections, and we've got these ... conveyor belts that transport us from parts of the stage.

Do you feel like doing this kind of show is what's necessary in this day and age?

Kroeger: I guess the mind-set I've always had is (to say), come on guys, bigger, bigger, bigger, better, better, you know, more of everything. But it's served us well. We try to keep our tickets lower than everyone else and bring more of a show. In this day and age with everyone seeing everything on YouTube and everyone's been to Vegas before ... it's tough to bring something new, you know?

So you're OK with people putting stuff on YouTube, especially at the start of a tour?

Kroeger: I kind of have to be OK with it, I guess.