A Journal of Musical ThingsWhen Did People Start Hating Nickelback? May 5, 2003. - A Journal of Musical Things
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Published on February 16th, 2013 | by Alan Cross

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When Did People Start Hating Nickelback? May 5, 2003.

This is fantastic.

Redditor babycarrotman has done some excellent data mining in an effort to understand when the hate for Nickelback began. The answer seems to be May 5, 2003.  I quote:

After reading [this post] I suddenly realized, very few people there know the primary moment that popularized hating Nickelback.  And looking online, very few other people seem to know the answer, either.

People have argued that it’s because their lyrics are derivative, or their music is all the same or some more sophisticated argument about popular perception of their music (see the Cracked article and The Village Voice).

I submit that hating Nickelback, however, has a much more prosaic origin:  an overplayed Comedy Central promo.

Comedy Central advertised the hell out of Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, which aired from 2002-2004. It was a panel comedy show featuring four comedians and Colin Quinn as host discussing topical news stories.

One of their promos (I cannot find a video of the promo, unfortunately) that they played a lot (which I swear played for almost 6 months straight in every commercial break) was a clip of comedian Brian Posehn responding to a prompt about a study published on May 5, 2003 tying violent lyrics to violent behavior. 

No one talks about the studies that show that bad music makes people violent, but listening to Nickelback makes me want to kill Nickelback.

This joke was on every Tough Crowd promo and nearly all the time. After hearing this joke during every promo for a couple of weeks I began to hear everyone at my middle school begin to mock Nickelback mercilessly. Interestingly, any jokes about Creed and Hoobastank somehow seemed to have less staying power at the time. But individual jokes about Creed and Hoobastank weren’t advertised as much this one for Nickelback.

Continue reading this great pick of cultural forensics here.  (Thanks to JMJ for digging this out!)


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



8 Responses to When Did People Start Hating Nickelback? May 5, 2003.

  1. CanCon says:

    For me it was when Chad spent a 20 minute interview on Much Music explaining why Nickelback did not suck. You could not imagine the size of the chip on his shoulder that day. He could have ignored the hype and promoted their next concert or new album. Maybe tell a cool story from being on the road. Instead he started quoting sales figures from around the world and comparing Nickelback to other bands that were popular at the time.

    Sorry, but if you feel the need to explain to everyone why you don't suck… then dude, you truly suck!

  2. 80 says:

    The MM interview sealed the deal. Popularity does not equal quality.

  3. Dan Kerr says:

    An interview much music and friends had way back indicated "the love" green day had for the band and how chads singing voice was fake. This made the audience think.

  4. nickelsuck says:

    I never saw that promo, interesting.
    Although I began to dislike Nickelback anyways for the hollow and shallow lyrical content. These days I have more pity for them than hate.. I mean yea I know,, they suck right? but geesh.. give them a break already.

  5. Nik Comma says:

    MM interview for me too. I don't remember that promo either.

  6. Jason says:

    It was the same Much Music interview for me as well. I'm being told by Chad why his band doesn't suck through sales figures … not his best moment.

  7. Darren says:

    Without the elaborate stage show and grandiose posturing, Nickelback would be an OK local band for $7. That's what they are at face value. The fact that people have taken this to arena-sized extremes is making everyone sick.

  8. iamsuperdan says:

    I'm not a huge fan of Nickleback. I'm not a listener, I don't have any of their music. But I have never understood the hate they get. They play catchy hard rock songs. They follow a formula. So what? It's worked AC/DC for over 30 years, and no one mocks them.

    Nickleback are a hard rock band from a small hick town who did what the rest of us wanted to do: sell a crapload of albums, tour the world, and get famous. Good on them.

    And Chad is right. I remember that MM interview. How hard can they suckered when they sell as many albums as they do, and sell out as many concerts as they do? They're obviously doing something right.

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