For those surprised last year by Nickelback's relatively heavy song San Quentin, lifted from their latest album Get Rollin', you may perhaps have not been paying close enough attention to the Canadian rockers' past releases. Albums such as 2001's Silver Side Up, for example, has their own fair share of meaty riffs, hidden behind the karaoke-cheese of radio-rock anthems such as How You Remind Me.
To promote that record, Chad Kroeger and co. hit the road for a trek across the US and their homeland of Canada, recruiting longtime pal, Alice In Chains axe-slinger Jerry Cantrell, as their special guest in support.
Cantrell, who joined the tour to promote his second solo album, Degradation Trip, would go on to join Nickelback on stage for a cover of Alice In Chains' It Ain't Like That, taken from the Seattle grunge heroes' 1990 debut album Facelift.
The result? Well, it packs a punch, with the weight of the track's chugging, granular riffs emphasised all the more via the cigarette smoke-laced timbre of Kroeger, who booms over Cantrell vocals in harmony, adding an extra meaty dimension.
The cover would go on to appear on Nickelback's live concert DVD from the tour, filmed in the band's home province of Alberta, Canada.
Speaking of his appreciation for Cantrell's guitar skills when asked to pick the musicians who have inspired him most, Kroeger told Guitar World last year: “Which Jerry did you think I was gonna pick? It’s not going to be Garcia! When Dirt came out, those riffs felt so bizarre, chromatic and strange. And then Layne [Staley] would sing these beautiful melodies over these non-typical chord progressions. Jerry would move around all over the place in structures you would just never go to. It added to the complexity of Alice In Chains in the most wonderful way.
“Even on the later records, he’d be pulling on this note like it’s a motorcycle engine. I was in the studio with him one time and he was telling me how he has to quad [track] everything accurately… which can be tough to do. Jerry is a legend.
“He’s a very bluesy lead player and loves his wah,” Kroeger added. “Every time he goes into a solo, you can’t stop yourself from singing along to it – whether you’re in the car or at the show, everyone has to join in. Yup, here comes Jerry! He’s a dear friend and one hell of a player.”
Check out the Nickelback x Jerry Cantrell collaborative cover below: