Nickelback is one of the most successful — and also derided — rock bands of the modern era, and the band poignantly opens up about the years-long mockery they've endured for over two decades.
"Nobody picks up a guitar to be the most hated band in the world," member Ryan Peake says of widespread audience criticism in the new documentary Hate to Love: Nickelback, which world-premiered Friday at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. "It doesn't feel great."
Peake's children agree, as they make a brief appearance in the film to talk about how the band's reception impacted them. "Everyone hated the band," Peake's son, Dax, notes. "So, everyone hated us."
Mike Kroeger, brother of lead singer Chad Kroeger, recalls that "it really sucked in the beginning," with the film detailing harsh realities for the Canadian band, including countless internet memes making light of everything from the band's music to Chad's hair. Mike also notes that his sibling has "thin skin," and that the ridicule took a heavy toll on him when it began.
Drummer Daniel Adair says he remembers Chad "blowing up" in a dressing room over the pushback while the band was on a prior tour, and that he experienced people rolling down car windows and shouting "f--- you" at him as they drove by.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Nickelback at the TIFF world premiere of 'Hate to Love: Nickelback' documentary.
Mike speculates that a lot of that flak comes from the band's sometimes featherweight lyrics, though he stands by their discography because "sometimes people want to hear vacuous, dumb s---" on the radio.
"I play Nickelback songs for Nickelback fans," Chad ultimately concludes in the movie. "I don't have to try to win anybody over."
Directed by Leigh Brooks, Hate to Love: Nickelback also charts the band's rise to prominence as they move from playing small-town venues in Canada to sold-out arenas around the world. It also touches on several emotional low points for the band, including the departure of former band member Ryan Vikedal, Mike's nearly fatal stroke, as well as Adair almost quitting the group over struggles with a frightening neurological condition.
Hate to Love: Nickelback does not yet have distribution, but screenings continue this weekend at TIFF. Watch the full conversation above.
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