CHAD KROEGER: That exact thing happened to my mom and dad, and my grandfather was holding a shotgun. It actually fucking happened! My dad pushed my grandfather down and started running. My grandfather fired into the air, but my dad didn't know that. He thought the shots were coming his way.
It's autobiographical; it's in my lineage. If I stopped now and never left this compound again and just had to tell stories from my lifetime, I could release 10 more albums easily. I had a great friend when I was young, a guy you could talk into doing anything. His name was Corey. I took him and a select group of people into my school and showed them how to get into the safe. Then Corey started stealing cars, and it never ended—until he was sent to prison. On his 18th birthday he was trying to get high in prison, and a guard sold him some type of detergent, which Corey injected into his arm. He died in prison at the age of 18. Had I not taken him into that school the first time, he wouldn't have gone down that hole and wound up injecting cleaner into his arm. I feel a little responsible. That's an awful feeling. That's one of a thousand stories.
I watched a guy kill himself once. My grandmother was in the hospital having an operation, and I saw a guy jump from the psych ward on the fifth floor and land just outside the cafeteria. It was awful. Two of a thousand stories. I've seen some weird, awful shit in my life.
PLAYBOY: Have you ever seen a therapist?
CHAD KROEGER: I was forced to after I got out of the youth detention center. The woman who was trying to treat me ended up having 16 personalities. That's three of a thousand stories. There's no shortage, is there?
PLAYBOY: Do you have any recurring dreams?
CHAD KROEGER: Nothing noteworthy.
CHAD KROEGER: I should have tried to sell that one to you a little harder.
PLAYBOY: Here's why we want to know about your dreams----
CHAD KROEGER: If you want to sleep with me, just ask. [laughs]
PLAYBOY: You grew up seeing "weird, awful shit," as you said, and despite the circumstances you've made a pretty happy life for yourself. So it seems as if your songs and your dreams are where bad things still happen.
CHAD KROEGER: It used to be. I used to think about all the people who wanted to fight me or harbored ill will toward me for something in the past. I wasn't the same person I am today. Two totally different people. If you like me now, you wouldn't have liked the Chad from before.
PLAYBOY: How did you change from bad Chad to good Chad?
CHAD KROEGER: Let's start with being famous. I equate being famous with being a six-foot-tall gorgeous blonde with huge boobs. You get stared at all the time. People behave differently toward you. But I always say, if you get on a roller coaster and then complain about the loop-de-loop, why did you buy that ticket in the first place?
I enjoy waking up every day and being me. Being the lead singer in a successful rock band is cool. I've experienced ridiculous pleasure that a lot of people will never get to experience. I have a really good grasp of reality. I have a good grasp of what people think of me. I don't have delusions about my band. I know what a lot of people think about us, and I'm okay with that.
PLAYBOY: How radical was the change? Has the new Chad sworn off violence?
CHAD KROEGER: I still like a little bit of violence. I like wrestling with my friends. I like getting smacked in the face now and again. It lets you know you're still alive.
PLAYBOY: Before you met your fiancée, how much screwing around did you do?
CHAD KROEGER: I'm the singer in a rock-and-roll band.
PLAYBOY: That's a very coy answer.
CHAD KROEGER: You know anything about zodiac signs? I'm a Scorpio. A Scorpio is pretty much a walking penis. Getting that under control is difficult. Also, I was born in 1974, the year of the tiger, which means I'm a shrewd businessman and I pretty much want to take over the world. I'm a walking penis that wants to take over the world. So you can imagine.
PLAYBOY: How long did the thrill of having women throw themselves at you last?
CHAD KROEGER: What, you think it's over? [laughs] That would be silly. It's like farts—when do farts stop being funny?
PLAYBOY: So what happened on tour once "How You Remind Me" became a hit?
CHAD KROEGER: I had three band members who weren't interested in doing much, and I'm the singer of the band. So I didn't exactly have to squabble with anybody. You know what you'd be shocked at? You'd be shocked at how many bands don't party these days. I actually find that disturbing. Maybe they need mentors.
PLAYBOY: Who were your mentors?
CHAD KROEGER: The people I grew up with. I grew up with people who would push a nail through their own hand for a case of beer.
PLAYBOY: Did you ever push a nail through your hand?
CHAD KROEGER: No. I've done some stupid shit, though.
PLAYBOY: What's the stupidest thing you ever did for a case of beer?
CHAD KROEGER: I put my own dick in my mouth. I was 14 and much more flexible at the time. It was soft and required a lot of pulling. I really wanted that case of beer.
PLAYBOY: How many people were watching?
CHAD KROEGER: Two. I can't believe you're not even shocked I can put my own dick in my mouth!
PLAYBOY: Okay, if you can put your dick in your mouth right now, we'll buy you a case of beer. Any kind you want.
CHAD KROEGER: You know, the stakes aren't quite the same anymore. I want jet time. You get me 25 hours of NetJets, and I'll put my dick in my mouth.
PLAYBOY: So you like being dared to do things?
CHAD KROEGER: There's not much I won't do. I drank 13 Coronas in a row once, in Cabo San Lucas. The little flap that seals off your stomach and keeps the food from coming back up into your throat, I fucked that up. I can get a Corona down in five or six seconds, and I was racing against some kid. I was having a hard time beating him. I was like, Okay, I may not be able to beat this kid in speed, so I'm going to beat him in longevity. Then he got to six and was like, "I can't drink anymore." I put him in a headlock, took two of my fingers and stuck them down his throat, leaned him over a garbage can and forced him to puke. [laughs] Yeah, I'm an idiot.
PLAYBOY: We've heard you often take out your dick in public.
CHAD KROEGER: Is this what Playboy readers want to know? Do you want to see my dick? [Marianne Goriuk, Kroeger's fiancée, enters the room.]
PLAYBOY: We've heard your boyfriend likes to take out his dick in public.
Goriuk: I've been working on curbing that for the past five years. I don't want anyone else to see it or talk about it. I can talk about it. But trust me, it's huge.
PLAYBOY: When you met backstage, did Chad impress you?
Goriuk: The impressing came later on, when he continued to try.
PLAYBOY: Onstage that night Chad said, "I have a funny feeling my future wife is in the crowd tonight." Did you have any feeling your future husband was onstage?
CHAD KROEGER: She knew.
PLAYBOY: Sure. Although generally, once you put the ring on her finger, you follow through and actually get married. You've been "engaged" for five years.
CHAD KROEGER: Fucker. [laughs]
PLAYBOY: How do you cope with his sexual appetite?
Goriuk: Mine is twice as bad. [laughs]
PLAYBOY: You said earlier, "I know what a lot of people think about my band." We have a note card here with some of the worst things ever written about Nickelback.
CHAD KROEGER: I don't even care. Do you know what it takes to be a music critic? Not much. Opinions are like assholes: Everybody has one.
PLAYBOY: But we're curious to see if you agree with some of them. The Vancouver Sun described Nickelback as one of the most despised bands in the world. Do you think that's true?
CHAD KROEGER: People either love Nickelback or hate Nickelback.
PLAYBOY: The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Nickelback's music isn't for hipsters or the illuminati. It's for people who don't want to have to think."
CHAD KROEGER: At what show, besides Frank Zappa's, is someone trying to get people to think? Rage Against the Machine is the only band I can think of. I don't peg you as a Nickelback fan, but I heard you humming a Nickelback song earlier.
PLAYBOY: It's a catchy song.
CHAD KROEGER: I rest my case.
PLAYBOY: You know how to write a catchy song.
CHAD KROEGER: I'm just an absolute melody whore. I love Elton John, the Beatles. Bob Marley is one of my favorites. The most uncharacteristic music I listen to is probably Abba. The songs are unbelievably catchy.
PLAYBOY: Is that all you want from your career, to write catchy songs?
CHAD KROEGER: That could be the Canadian in me, wanting to please other people. My persona onstage, that Chad is a different guy. I become the fun guy, the party guy. I want to whip everybody into a frenzy and scream and blow things up. It's like I have my own game show and everyone gets to be a contestant. I'm there as an entertainer. Some bands get up with no lights and no production, and they say, "It's all about the songs." Hey, if it's all about the songs, I can listen to the fucking CD at home. I'm here to see you live. Perform, monkey! [laughs]
PLAYBOY: Do vicious reviews get to you?
CHAD KROEGER: There's only so much you can take. You get pretty desensitized. We've had people say a lot of bad things about us. How is it possible to have everyone hate us? It's almost like, if you're dating a girl, do you want her dad to love you or hate you? She may like you more if her dad doesn't like you. If we ever get a positive review in Rolling Stone, that album is in trouble, because those people cannot predict what a large-selling album is. They bashed the fuck out of Led Zeppelin years ago, and now they call it one of the greatest rock bands of all time. That just makes them look like hypocrites. Who's the most famous music critic who ever lived? They've never made a statue of a critic.
PLAYBOY: Will Nickelback be vindicated 30 years from now, the way Led Zeppelin has?
CHAD KROEGER: I don't know if we've been decimated to the level Zeppelin was. Maybe we have, maybe more so.
PLAYBOY: Has a review ever caused you to lose sleep?
CHAD KROEGER: Probably. But if I had lost sleep, do you think I would tell a music critic? I've been bummed out for a day, sure. Like, Wow, this person is taking my band more seriously than I am. If my music is fucking up your life, change the station, dude. At the end of the day, I'm just some guy who sings in a rock-and-roll band. I'm not Hitler.
PLAYBOY: If we gave you a drug test, what would we find?
CHAD KROEGER: A decent amount of marijuana, and that's it. I'll smoke a doob a day.
PLAYBOY: You have 20 acres out on your back lawn. Is anything illegal growing on it?
CHAD KROEGER: [Shakes head] We should fix that. With the amount of horseshit we have, why can't we plant some magic mushrooms?
PLAYBOY: Chad, what will you be doing on your 50th birthday?
CHAD KROEGER: I won't be alive.
PLAYBOY: Have you two ever videotaped yourselves having sex?
CHAD KROEGER: We were in Cabo San Lucas. Where is that tape?
PLAYBOY: Who were you in a previous life?
CHAD KROEGER: In my last life I must have been a saint because I get to screw a good-looking chick and be the lead singer in a fucking successful rock-and-roll band. I sleep until noon every day, and I've got more money than I can spend in two lifetimes. [to Goriuk] C'mon, let's go have sex. It's our third bottle of wine, and I'm getting horny.
PLAYBOY: Chad, how would you describe your taste in sex?
CHAD KROEGER: [To Goriuk] I'm pretty much a porn star, aren't I?
PLAYBOY: What would your ex-girlfriends say about you?
CHAD KROEGER: They probably love me to this day. I talked with one of them after she started dating another guy, and she said, "I think you've ruined me for all other men." I couldn't help but smile at that.
PLAYBOY: What's the most and least amount of money you've made in a year?
CHAD KROEGER: I guess $8,000 would be the lowest, and that's probably on the high side. The most money I've made in a year is $25 million, this past year. Next year's going to be a good one. You may want to make my Christmas list.
PLAYBOY: Why will next year be good?
CHAD KROEGER: We're going into a renegotiation with our record label.
PLAYBOY: How will you get them to renegotiate? You haven't fulfilled your contract yet.
CHAD KROEGER: My leverage is not to record.
PLAYBOY: So you'll threaten not to give them another record unless they give you what you want. What will you ask for?
CHAD KROEGER: A partnership with them. Labels can't be 50-50 partners with band after band and have them fail, fail, fail, right? So when they get a band that sells records the way we do, they have to cover the losses of all the rest. That's why a contract is so skewed in the label's favor. Live Nation just offered us a deal to play 100 shows. You can't even imagine the money. It's in the neighborhood of the deal they did with Madonna [reportedly $120 million]. It's retarded. After partying all night at Joey's house, I woke up to a phone call from my manager, and he goes, "Live Nation just offered us da-dada." And I went, "Wooo." He said, "Where are you? Are you drunk?" I hung up the phone, and for two days I didn't even fucking remember it.
PLAYBOY: In "Rockstar" you sing about all the perks of being a celebrity. How many of the things you name do you actually have?
CHAD KROEGER: I'm missing only two: I don't have a star on Hollywood Boulevard, and I don't have a big black jet. Seriously, I think rock stars are dead. I don't think you can be a rock star anymore. But if behaving and partying like a rock star are the criteria, then I am a rock star—because I can drink most bands under the fucking table. I will party till noon the next day, much to her dislike. And I fuck like a champ.
PLAYBOY: They sound a lot like Nickelback. So does Daughtry. Are you flattered?
CHAD KROEGER: Everyone gets compared to someone else at the start. People said we were Creed's little brother. I've never been a Creed fan, so I considered that comparison a little insulting, to be honest.
PLAYBOY: What prompted the opening line "I like your pants around your feet" in the song "Figured You Out"?
CHAD KROEGER: I was thinking about a girl I met, a model in L.A. You meet someone, the sex is good, you think, Well, this is going to be really cool. She had a cocaine habit and wasn't who I thought she was.
PLAYBOY: Can you see why people think the song is misogynistic?
CHAD KROEGER: The line about "I like my hands around your neck"?
CHAD KROEGER: Critics were the only ones who thought that. All I ever heard from Nickelback fans was "Play the 'hands around your neck' song again."
PLAYBOY: Forget critics and fans. Do you think the song is misogynistic?
CHAD KROEGER: Not at all. I was trying to show the light and dark of relationships.
PLAYBOY: Have you ever had a Spinal Tap moment onstage?
CHAD KROEGER: Once when we were in Brisbane I said, "I can't wait to go out and party in Melbourne." Our guitarist Ryan Peake looked over at me, and I said, "But tonight we party in...Brisbane!" They all knew, but they forgave me because I got out of it so fucking slick. That was pretty funny.
PLAYBOY: What's your IQ?
CHAD KROEGER: One hundred thirty. I took an IQ test during Psychology 20 in high school.
PLAYBOY: Haven't you lost a few IQ points since then?
CHAD KROEGER: Do you know the difference between intelligence and wisdom? Intelligence can be learned out of a book, but wisdom can be learned only through experience, right? Two bulls are standing at the top of a hill, looking down at all the cows. The young bull says, "Let's run down there and fuck the two best-looking cows we can find." The older bull says, "Why don't we just walk down there and fuck them all?" That's wisdom.