The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Nickelback Ryan Peake – Interview
The Rockpit interviews

Love them or 'hate' them, (down under we tend to love them) Nickelback is back with a new album in 'No Fixed Adress' and in support they are back downunder to play to the converted. We caught up with guitarist Ryan Peake to find out what the new album was like to make and quiz him on those all important topics from when he first picked up a guitar to the meaning of life.



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Mark: Hey Ryan, thank you so much for talking to The Rockpit today. How are you?

Ryan: Hey Mark how’s it going? I’m not too bad thanks.

Mark: It’s great to see you back again down under, the last time I think was back in 2012, so thanks for remembering about us!

Ryan: (laughs)

Mark: The new album ‘No Fixed Address’ has been out a while now and we can’t wait for you to tour it, what has the reaction been like so far?

Ryan: So far so good, I mean we are quite happy with the reaction so far. You never know how your family will take the next thing you do, if it will be not adventurous enough, or too adventurous, but so far it’s been a good reaction.

Mark: This album for me was quite adventurous; I mean you’ve got quite a lot going on in there. Was that the intention? Do you just sit down and want to do more as musicians? Decide you want to push the envelope a little?

Ryan: Well not necessarily, I’ve talked a lot in various interviews about how we recorded the album in lots of different places like Vancouver and Hawaii and maybe something like that has to do with creative spontaneity that gives you where you come back with fresh ideas for a song you’ve been listening to for maybe two weeks or so. We didn’t have a ton of time pressure on us so we thought let’s just try some stuff, do some fun stuff so we could come back to the studio with fresh ideas. The process was very organic, I remember I came to the studio one day and Chad said ‘Well check this out’ and he had a song with this software on it, and he had been with another friend, a songwriter, and it sounded cool, but there wasn’t a lot of pressure on it allowed us to do that, it wasn’t that organised, we’re not that put together! (laughs). Sometimes those ideas work, sometimes they don’t but its best to keep yourself open to those opportunities.

Mark: I bet it makes a refreshing change too without that pressure on! There are some really interesting songs on there as I said, and the singles have gone down great but lyrically I think the lead single surprised most people down here where you are actually dealing with a serious subject?

Ryan: ‘Edge of a Revolution’ funnily enough we wrote when we were in Hawaii! (laughs) so we were pretty relaxed about it and we had this riff for a bit but it wasn’t really going anywhere then Chad came up with this line about the NSA and I kinda liked it, it was very timely and it was stuff that affected a whole lot of people and I had questions myself about it. It was kinda like about a while raft of people like the ‘Occupy Movement’ and everything else that was going on, and with the NSA listening in to so much that was going on around the world (I said that twice now so they’re probably onto ne too!) … but there were so many things that we could talk about with all those people trying to make a change. OK so not very typical Nickelback but it is something that we talk about and maybe now’s the time to talk about it, I mean we’re not going to become the next political band, but it is what it is.

Mark: Changing the subject completely It always amuses me when you read in the press, not so much here but in the US, hearing the same old tide ‘everyone’ hates Nickelback’ line, as we’ve always rather liked you! You must always have the last laugh as people just keep buying the music?

Ryan: (laughs) It is strange, I don’t even know what to say about that because it’s kina insane!

Mark: It is!

Ryan: It’s great that people want to say that online, decide what is great, and what is shit! I mean there was a time when I was a fan of bands like Megadeth and Metallica and I didn’t go out there and say how much I didn’t like Winger! I mean I do like them it was probably just one album. People just take so much pleasure in saying what they don’t like and you know what – enjoy it! We just go out there and play to the fans – if you want to come to the show great, if you don’t fine!

Mark: I’m not surprised it’s become a complete cliché now. These days people who probably haven’t even heard the band have heard of that battle! The tour kicks off in Australian in Melbourne on 15th of May and there is a date back where we are in Perth on 26th. We celebrated Australia day yesterday so any message to the fans ahead of the tour?

Ryan: I’m not just saying this but to us Canadians Australia seems like a second home. We’ve had support throughout our career from people down in Australia and its never off the tour map, so we just want to get down there and play the new tunes and make it one big sing-along! We’re really looking forward to it.

Mark: And we always love you coming down, it might just be that whole Commonwealth connection, but whatever it may be you are always welcome. It’s always great to see you.

What will you get up to in your downtime down under? I think you have 5 dates and 10 days with us?

Ryan: Oh yeah! Time off! I don’t know what should we do in Perth?

Mark: Do you guys like wine? Beaches?

Ryan: You know what Chad and Mike love wine, they love wine and I think they went somewhere down South of Perth last tour. I just went up North – we had three days off last time, and I checked out the beaches up the coast there. I had a great time and I’m looking forward to doing some more.

Mark: There’s a lot to do in Perth and it’s a huge country with plenty to see. You guys play some pretty long tours in your line of work, what are the best and worst aspects of being on the road so long?

Ryan: Earlier I think it was just getting burnt out, but for me, at this point I have a family and that’s the toughest thing for me at this point. I mean I’ve had it good and we’ve been writing for a while, going away for short stints and had almost two years off so no one is going to feel sorry for me. But I have a son, a daughter and a wife so being away on tour is the toughest part of course. I will try and drag them out as much as I possibly can and we’ll see how that feels.

Mark: As a guitarist we obviously all know about your love of Zep and Megadeth and Metallica, but what was it that started you off playing guitar, and what was that moment when you actually said I have to be in a band, I have to do this as a living?

Ryan: Man, that’s a good question! What started me, I kinda dabbed around music for a while, my Dad is very musical he plays lots of different instruments and was in a Country band for years and my Mom sings really well, so we’ve always been a musical house so I started on piano, and my brother got a guitar for his 14th birthday and he’d finish playing and I’d sneak down there to play. But when you finally put a song together even if it’s a one string song, like I think I was playing ‘Love Bites’ by Judas Priest (sings melody) and once you have accomplished that (laughs) even though it might sound like shit, that gives you the motivation to keep doing it. So I guess that was it for me, then I got a guitar and went from there. But when I decide I was maybe 23 I had moved from my small hometown and just finished my second year at college, and I had a couple of offers doing other things but I thought this was something I needed to do as I loved doing it. I loved doing the live show stuff so I couldn’t wait any longer I thought this was the time for me to try. Then we started trying and every year something else a little better would happen so by the time we got a record deal without a manager I thought that this was the time to quit my job and make this my job. That was the turning point when we got signed in the States, that was the turning point for all of us.

Mark: If you could have been a ‘Fly on the wall’ for the creation of any great album from any period, just to see how the magic happened and it all came together, what would it have been for you any why?

Ryan: The album would be… That’s a great question… More voyeuristic than anything, because there was so much emotion going on, probably ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac.

Mark: I’m just reading Mick Fleetwood’s Biography at the moment so great choice!

Ryan: Oh you’re kidding me! (laughs) I just heard pretty good and pretty bad so how is the book so far?

Mark: It’s pretty good so far, but just at the point where you wish he’d really open up about somethings you find him holding back, so OK so far but not as much as I’d have liked.

Ryan: Oh OK.

Mark: And our final question, the real easy one… What is the meaning of life?

Ryan: Sure.. What is the meaning of life? … Balance, everything in balance. For me I can’t go too far either way, so it’s all about balance for me.

Mark: Great answer. We can’t wait to see you guys over in May, so in the meantime have a great time before you get here. Thank you.

Ryan: Absolutely man, have a great time and come say hi when we get there.

Interview by Mark Rockpit on January 2015