A large contingent of Canada's music creative and attendant powerbrokers was in attendance for the annual SOCAN Awards that were staged in Toronto on April 1. Among the many celebrated and honoured was Nickelback's Chad Kroeger who was was named the Most Performed Songwriter in the history of the PRO. A colourful character not given to ornate speech, his time at the podium was...well, less than conventional. What follows in part is the lead-up to his arrival on the stage to accept his award and a slightly edited rewind on what he had to say that night.
CHAD KROEGER ACCEPTANCE SPEECH AT 30th ANNUAL SOCAN MUSIC AWARDS, INDUCTED BY RALPH JAMES
As a SOCAN member before there was a SOCAN, it’s an honour and a privilege to introduce one of the finest guys you’ll ever meet. Yeah, he’s my client, but more importantly, he’s a great friend. Obviously, the stats don’t lie: Chad writes hits. His amazing talent, but there’s more to it than just ability. He’s an incredibly humble guy, a tireless worker and a critic of his own work. He and Nickelback were relentless from the outset, to be clear, building a team that believed in them – many are here tonight – and doing whatever it takes – and I mean whatever – (audience laughter). The truth is, I passed on Nickelback the first time I saw them. They knew they could do better. Chad & the boys knew that they would do better. After the first couple years of completely thankless touring, I got a phone call.
“Ralphie, listen to this.” It was the first version of “How You Remind Me.” Even over the phone, I had goosebumps – and I knew everything was about to change. Then the really hard work began – and Chad, along with his brothers in Nickelback – made countless to radio stations, TV, media outlets all around the world and embarked on a dozen, absurdly-long worldwide tours. And it worked – over 50 million units sold. Slowly we celebrated – Diamond-certified, multiple No. 1’s – it worked! Not only does he have the songwriting and producing knack, he understands and embraces all the other aspects of the music business, truly. Please watch the screens.
NOTABLE VIDEO COMMENTARY QUOTES
“You can tell the guy – he’s one of those lucky fuckers who just kills it in everything he does. I love that whole thing when people are like, “It’s a formula that Nickelback uses.” Yeah, it’s a formula everyone uses – it’s A-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge. That doesn’t mean it’s good. He writes songs that are good.”
“Man, he’s good at it. Really good at it. Seems to have gotten it pretty good.”
“Can you believe we’re in our 25th year of working together? Time really flies when you’re making millions of dollars, I gotta say. Who would have thought that that cocky, young teenager I met all those years ago, that kid from Alberta who put his feet up on my desk the first time we ever met, would end up being the most performed writer in SOCAN history?
Well, I would have thought that, and I’m sure glad I did because it’s been an unbelievable ride. My involvement with you and Nickelback has been nothing short of a blessing – and it’s not just because of your talent as a songwriter, it’s because of your decency, your loyalty, and your fun-loving nature. We’ve really had a lot of fun over these years, and it’s something I’ll remember always. Thanks for the great adventure and I look forward to the next 25 years – and once again, congratulations on being the most performed writer in SOCAN history.
“First and foremost, I’m going to try not to cry. My Mom is like front and centre here, so like, if I start weeping – just throw those sunglasses up here. I’ll be a bawling baby up here.
“I gotta thank a bunch of people - I’d like to thank SOCAN for lending me a ton of money with zero interest every time I have to pay my taxes. SOCAN, I love you. They’re like, ‘why do you borrow money from us here, you’re rich?' “Because it’s at zero interest.” It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. Financial glory.
“The guy working the Teleprompter is going, ‘What the fuck do I do now? Scroll up or down – I’m not sure.” Start scrolling….there we go! Good spelling, too.
“I’m going to thank my whole band – Ryan Peake, Mike Kroeger, Daniel Adair – for putting up with my shit. And daily. It’s amazing.
“My Mom and Dad and family who have been supportive. My Mom’s right there. Hi Mom. Let’s make a lot of noise for my Mom, please!
“I’d like to thank Ralph James because he’s standing next to me. If it wasn’t for Ralph…Jesus Christ. Remember Kneale Mann? Jesus Christ – program director at 102 (sic) The Edge and he’s just like, ‘I hate this fucking band!’ I called Kneale Mann – and I’m just calling radio stations across the country relentlessly, and I would do this bit, and it was a good thing that I’m so full of shit and a fairly decent car salesman.
“I’d just be like (goes into an exaggerated FM DJ voice,) ‘Hey, this is Steve calling from the Nickelback camp. Did you get a chance to listen to the Nickelback CD that came across your desk probably…an hour ago?’ Kneale Mann goes, ‘I take my music calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays.’ I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t want to take up much of your time, Mr. Mann, I just wanted to see if you got the package.’ “TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS’ The guy hangs up on me. (Glances at Ralph) – Do you remember that? Fuckin’ guy. Did you know how many dicks I had to suck to make this fucking record? (audience laughter.) Line up! (more audience laughter).
“This isn’t televised, is it? We’re good – lock the doors.
“And by the way, everybody in here that walked outside that tried to get a fucking drink and all those little “bar closed” signs- take the fucking thing off there and let everybody have a drink, for Christ’s sake! (huge cheers and applause.) IT’S OUR EVENT! THEY’RE TELLING US WHEN WE CAN AND CAN’T DRINK! Fuck off!
“Um, I have to thank Charlotte Thompson. Where is my publicist? Did she run to the bathroom? That’s hilarious. Did she hide? She’s like, ‘Oh fuck, he’s gonna do a bit about me, isn’t he?” This morning, I was supposed to do press. I didn’t do the press I was supposed to do, because I was fucking drooling on myself and unconscious. Oh, Mr. Powers from the q – who I was supposed to do the interview with – I hear that you’re in the building. I’m sorry. I didn’t know I was supposed to do the interview. I’m super fucking sorry.
"I got super drunk last night. We went to The Brass Rail and got fucked up! Whoops. So, if anybody saw me on the red carpet holding like a ton of red roses, those were for Charlotte because I felt so bad. She sat in the lobby for two hours in my hotel, waiting for me to fucking come down and I just didn’t. And I’m just sorry, super fucking sorry. I’m an asshole.
“ I’d like to thank EMI, Roadrunner, Universal, BMG…I’d like to thank all my fans, everyone who sang along to my stupid songs in your cars, in the bars, weddings, wherever you were, hopefully at one of my shows – thank you for the $87.50 plus applicable taxes. I dig you.
“Then there’s a bunch of other stuff – you can read this (referring to the teleprompter), or I’m just gonna fucking free flow it.
“How high did Jonathan Simkin look in that fucking video? Holy fuck! Dude, you looked so stoned. I’m wasted right now – I’m super drunk. I’ve been going for three days. This is three-day hair. How am I doing? Yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re like, ‘You’re old. Get off the stage. We want to go drink ourselves.’
“The thing about songwriting is, when lightning strikes – and at the weirdest fucking moments too – it’d be like this crazy thing. You could be at a funeral going (a visual where he’s secretly speaking into a microphone) or maybe in the middle of the night with your girlfriend, wife, whatever, might be your boyfriend or a member of the LGBTQ. It’s just like, ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ “Nothing! Nothing! This is what’s happening right now.” And you listen to the shit in the morning and go, ‘Oh, that’s terrible.’ Don’t do that - it’s actually awful. But we don’t know when lightning’s going to strike. And it’s so important, but when it does, those things are like…fantastic!
“But we all do it differently – and you can start with the lyrics, or you can start with the melody, or you can start with like kind of whatever it is, but the thing is, and I say this all the time, I was like – a listener can hear bullshit from a mile away.
“By the way, thank you Dallas (Smith) for singing my song better than I do…and being better looking than me, you fucking dick. God, you’re good looking! (Dallas replies from the audience- but I couldn’t hear it. Back to Chad.) I’ve got a bigger dick, too. It’s just because I’m 6’2 and he’s 5’4. I’m kidding – he’s 5’6.
“Umm, but you never know when that moment’s going to happen, but when it does you get that crazy ice ball in your stomach, like, ‘This is good. This is really, really good. I can’t wait to play this for someone.’ And those things are just really fantastic and it doesn’t matter if you started with the lyric or the hook, or the tag or whatever, It doesn’t matter if you wrote professionally in Nashville, or wherever it was, or in L.A. It doesn’t matter, because when you play the first little bit back and you know it’s good, it’s so good, and it feels this way. And I don’t do coke – fuck you, I don’t do coke – but I’m assuming that’s like the dopamine rush that exists when you’re doing that, but it’s the same bed, because when that song, that melody, that thing comes in and you’re like, ‘God damn it, this is good! And I want someone else to feel the way that I’m feeling right now…so every SOCAN writer in the room knows exactly what I’m talking about…
“And I share this with you and thank you so much for allowing me to be the douchebag from Nickelback and come up here and for your support. Thank you so much.”