This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.
Earlier this month, Royal Blood decided they should tweet a joke. What would be funny? They asked each other, feeling lost. After thinking hard, they decided to do something satirical, but not too controversial, maybe with a pop culture reference thrown in. They eventually plumped for "@realDonaldTrump + @HillaryClinton = @Nickelback", and then they stood back, sniggering, and waited for the retweets to roll in.
Except Nickelback have been the butt of so many jokes, that over the years they've trained themselves in swift comebacks. "Nickelback jokes are like @royalblooduk," they replied immediately, "they were a lot cooler a couple years ago." As far as some Lite shade goes, not bad at all. Royal Blood emerged looking like floundering playground bullies, whereas Nickelback carried on being Nickelback – the band who can only move upwards.
But Nickelback are right: jokes about them are old, and they're also way too easy. This is a band who have yellow noodle bobs, and eyebrow piercings, and goatees that look like they've been painted onto their faces in watercolour. They have songs like "Rockstar" with lines like, "We'll hang out in the coolest bars, in the VIP with the movie stars". They make devil signs with their hands. Their band name is a personal joke about Starbucks. I think they polish each other's leather jackets. Saying Nickelback are lame is like saying Sketchers are ugly. Why would you waste your energy?
That said…not everybody thinks Nickelback are shit, do they? They've sold over 50 million records worldwide, released eight commercially successful albums, and sold out Madison Square Garden. This tells me they may actually have some diehard fans, in fact, more so than 90% of the bands on this planet. This tells me that there are people who would kill for the chance to stroke the guitarist's soul patch. It all got me thinking: firstly, who the fuck are these people? But, more importantly, what does it actually feel like to love the band that everybody hates? To choose them as your favourites, and to stick boldly and resolutely with that decision, regardless of the venom that reigns upon you like fist-sized hail from all angles.
Luckily, us good people at Noisey clocked Nickelback were playing at the O2, so we seized upon this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interrogate some of their fans and ask them: why? How do you feel, Nickelback fans? What's up?
Why do you love Nickelback so much, Debbie?
That's a good question. My husband introduced me to them because he's a massive fan as well. In fact, he's quite gutted to be at home with the kids while I'm here! Woop! I just love them.
How long have you been a fan?
Only about five years! My favourite song is "Photograph". Woop! Do many of your mates like Nickelback?
No, they're not as hardcore as me. I like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi – I'm that kind of woman. Woop! What does it feel like to love Nickelback when so many people hate them?
Huh? Who on earth hates Nickelback?
Hey, you in the 'Free Spirit' t shirt! You strike me as a huge Nickelback fan.
I've loved them for 20 years, since they first came out. I've stuck by them.
What does it feel like to be a Nickelback lover in a sea of Nickelback haters?
I just pay no attention whatsoever. No one's ever got a good enough reason when I ask them about it. My husband's best friend hates them, and when I ask him he just says "Because." What Nickelback song means the most to you?
Probably "How You Remind Me" – it takes me back to the old days. This is the first time I'll be seeing them perform that song live so I'm extremely excited.
Why are you here, Chris?
My mum saw that Nickelback were performing so she got tickets for me and my girlfriend. She's quite jealous that we're here actually.
Have you ever seen Nickelback before?
No, I'm quite excited!
Did anybody give you any stick for coming?
I'll be honest, I didn't tell anybody. What would you say to the Nickelback haters?
I can understand why people wouldn't like them because they're fairly standard and generic, but what they do they do very well, and I think people should just leave them alone and let the people who like them like them.
Hey Ashley – you look young and cool. Tell me about your love of Nickelback – why?
They're just one of those bands you always listen to!
Are they? When did you first get into them?
Oh Christ – ages ago, when I was about 13. Back then my favourite song was "If Today Was Your Last Day". I just love the message and lyrics of that song. Have you heard it?
I'm ashamed to say I have not. What do you think about people who take the piss out of Chad Kroeger's beard?
I don't really care about other people's opinions. They can think what they want – it doesn't phase me.
HAYLEY, 36, AND ROB, 42
What brings you both here?
Hayley: Well, we went to see Shinedown with our two mates and they said, "Yeah let's do this again!" and then they surprised us by giving us Nickelback tickets and we were like, "Oh…"
Do you not like Nickelback, then?
Hayley: I just think they're a bit commercial.
Rob: No, Hayley, that's only because you've heard the radio stuff. Their other tracks on the album have got a bit more oomph.
Hayley: Um, yeah, maybe.
Come on guys, let's not fall out. We're at a Nickelback concert.
Rob: Well I like them. It's good ole rock 'n' roll!
Hey Dale! What do you say to the haters?
Why hate? They produce good music – that's a FACT.
So you love Nickelback?
Yeah, yeah I do. They're not my first choice, although I probably shouldn't say that because you seem like a massive fan.
Me? No, I'm not.
Anyway, they've got a bad rep among some people - what do you say to those people?
What have they got a bad rep for?
Everyone always makes Nickelback jokes, about them being the most bait of all bait bands – don't they?
Well, if someone did that in front of me, I'd just tell them to sod off!
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