There's a song on Nickelback's forthcoming fifth album, All the Right Reasons, called "Photograph." It's a mid-paced melodious rocker about the mistakes we make and those milestone moments we experience as confused, mixed-up teenagers as we struggle to figure out what life's all about.
So when it came time to start thinking about a video for the track, it felt natural, according to frontman Chad Kroeger, that the foursome return to their old stomping grounds and film the clip in Hanna, Alberta.
"The song really [has] the small town in mind, or your high school or that first girl you kissed, whatever those memories may be," he explained. "So it seemed obvious to go back to our hometown and shoot it there, which turned out to be a lot of fun. We got to see faces we hadn't seen for 12 years. The mayor came out and he's in the video. Everyone seemed really happy we were there, and that we didn't forget about Hanna."
There was one person in particular, though, who Kroeger said he hasn't forgotten and who showed up for the "Photograph" shoot: his high school principal, the man he'd spent a lot of time with during his awkward teen years.
"[The video] has that whole John Cougar Mellencamp vibe to it — we did some shooting in the old high school gym, and we saw the principal that always used to suspend me," Kroeger said. "We made up. But I broke into that school 11 times. In the song I say, 'Criminal record says I broke in twice/ I must have done it half a dozen times.' It was actually 11. Now, it's sort of funny. The principal laughs about it and it's no big deal. But when I was in court, he didn't think it was so funny."
On October 4, Nickelback will issue All the Right Reasons, the follow-up to 2003's The Long Road; it's an 11-track, self-produced LP that features the band's newest member, former 3 Doors Down drummer Daniel Adair. The album satisfied Kroeger's hankering for instrumental experimentation, as Nickelback incorporated various orchestral elements into several of the disc's songs.
"In the past, Nickelback hadn't looked at any instrument other than drums, bass, guitar, vocals," he explained. "We wanted to be a meat-and-potatoes band. But the more you start writing different types of songs, the more you realize those textures sound really nice in those songs. So we had string sections come in and play on certain parts of songs, and the real taboo for Nickelback was piano." Pause. "Then we heard piano in a Nickelback song. We loved it, and actually used it twice on the album."
Those two songs are "Savin' Me" and "If Everyone Cared," a PG-rated number that Kroeger said is about a couple so enamored with one another that, in one shared moment, they realize how much better this world would be if everyone in it could experience the feelings they have for each other.
Then there's "Fight for All the Wrong Reasons," this album's answer — lyrically, that is — to "Figured You Out."
"There are a lot of references to fornication in that song," Kroeger said. "There is nothing we're afraid to sing about or say in a song, as long as it's kind of clever or wink, wink, tongue-in-cheek. It just helps to paint that picture and tell the story better. If you're going to cover everything and hide behind metaphors, you're not doing a decent job telling the story."
Nickelback will launch a North American tour in support of the new album in October.