And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

Beef Of The Week #360: Nickelback v Slipknot

By | Published on Friday 23 June 2017


Over the years, this column has got a little bit lax with what it classes as ‘a beef’. Often that’s out of necessity – there simply isn’t a massive artist-on-artist smackdown every single week. But this week there have been various bona fide beefs to choose from.

Morrissey versus HMV was discounted early on, because you really have to limit the number of Morrissey rants you let into a column like this, otherwise he’d totally dominate. Hanson calling Justin Bieber “chlamydia of the ear” was a strong contender too, but JB never responded, so it didn’t really go anywhere.

There was a mighty beef this week though, which not only went somewhere, but it came back and went out again, and ran a few errands on the way. That is the beef between Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor.

It all started innocently enough. Kroeger, speaking to Metal Covenant, made the reasonable claim that he “can’t think of another band that’s as diverse” as Nickelback. He’s right, it’s tough to think of another band who beats Kroeger’s outfit in the diversity stakes, what with their diverse approach of playing quite loudly and then, diversely, sometimes a bit quieter. The interviewer suggested Stone Sour – who are, of course, fronted by Taylor – and there all hell broke loose.

“They’re okay, but they’re not as good as Nickelback”, said Kroeger. “They sound like Nickelback Lite”. Claiming that Stone Sour are, in fact, just “trying to be Nickelback”, he brought up an incident when Taylor had apparently claimed that it was easy writing hit songs like those Nickelback have foisted upon the world. “Show me”, Kroeger said. “Write one. I have yet to hear one [from Stone Sour]”.

Oh, burn. And, in case you were wondering, Kroeger doesn’t think that Slipknot are up to much either. He also thinks that Stone Sour was just an attempt to satisfy Taylor’s ego, which has failed, due to that whole not being as good as Nickelback thing.

“They had to put on masks and jump around”, said Kroeger of Slipknot. “How good can your music be if you’ve got to beat each other up on stage, throw up in your own masks every night? Music shouldn’t come with a gimmick. Music should just be music”.

“He got tired of sitting behind a mask”, Kroeger went on. “He wanted people to know what he looks like, so he started Stone Sour”.

You may remember that Corey Taylor is a bit touchy about people saying Slipknot’s masks are gimmicky. Even though they definitely are. Back in 2015 he said in an interview: “To everyone who thinks it’s just a gimmick. Live in it and you tell me it’s a gimmick, you shitheads … It’s such a part of what we do and it helps us really embrace the music”.

Two more things to remember: Taylor formed Stone Sour before he joined Slipknot. And also, Slipknot are demonstrably a more fun live band than Nickelback.

But, hey, this isn’t my beef. I don’t need to pitch in here. After a couple of days of silence, Taylor finally staged his retaliation. He’d had time to stew, so it should be a good one.

“You know what? I’ve never said it was easy to write a hit song”, retorted Taylor on US radio station KUPD. “I don’t know what the hell planet he’s living on. Apparently it’s Planet Kroeger, and there must be good weed there, cos he’s an idiot”.

Pow! Yeah, take that idiot man. Alright, not the strongest retort, but Taylor is just getting started. Addressing Kroeger directly, he went on: “You can run your mouth all you want. All I know is I’ve been voted ‘Sexiest Dude In Rock’ wearing a mask. You’ve been voted ‘Ugliest Dude In Rock’ twice without one. Stick that up your ass”.

He doesn’t even have an issue with Nickelback, he added: “Everybody else in that band, I’m very, very cool with; I’ve hung out with them. It’s just ‘Face Like A Foot’ who I can’t really hang out with. He’s got a face like a foot. Am I wrong? I can’t even say anything about the band, Nickelback, because none of them have an issue with us. It’s him. So, dude, curl up in bed with your Hello Kitty pillow and shut up”.

A reference there to Kroeger’s co-writing credit on his ex-wife Avril Lavigne’s song ‘Hello Kitty’, which itself spawned one of the great beefs of our time.

Anyway, the time honoured way to settle any question of musical quality is by financial achievement, as everyone knows. And for a number of years, Slipknot, Stone Sour and Nickelback all shared the same label, Roadrunner Records, which gives Taylor some insight, apparently.

“Let’s just say Roadrunner took all the Slipknot money and gave it to Nickelback to sign them”, he chortled. “That’s all I’m gonna say about it”.

Bit weird to focus on his rivals’ advance though isn’t it, rather than their subsequent record sales? Perhaps that’s because Taylor didn’t want to discuss the higher level of record sales Nickelback went on to achieve, both at Roadrunner and latterly Republic Records. Now signed to BMG, the new Nickelback album ‘Feed The Machine’ is looking like it’ll flop though. By which I mean only go to number five in the US chart. Take that, Kroeger!

I’m not even sure why Kroeger gets involved in these things. He knows how tough it is out there being a rockstar. He’s written two whole songs about it – Nickelback’s ‘Rockstar’ and my personal favourite, his co-write with Tommy Lee, ‘Tryin To Be Me’.

But whatever, let’s consider this beef well and truly broiled.