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Nickelback's Chad Kroeger Sues Former Drummer

Kroeger Insists He is Sole Author and 'Maker' of Nickelback's Songs

By

Nickelback

Nickelback

(Courtesy Roadrunner Records)

In January 2005 Nickelback fans were surprised to learn that Ryan Vikedal was no longer the drummer for the group. Vikedal was not the original drummer for the group. He joined the group in 1998, replacing Mitch Guindon. Vikedal's work is heard on most of the group's most popular records including the albums The State, Silver Side Up, and The Long Road. Early word seemed to indicate Vikedal's exit was not completely harmonious, and, as the former group member was sued by lead vocalist and songwriter Chad Kroeger in November 2005, this perception seemed confirmed. Read more for the details of the controversy.

Ryan Vikedal Forced Out of Group

On January 27, 2005, Canadian music newspaper Chart Attack reported that Nickelback's drummer Ryan Vikedal had left the group just as they had begun work on a new album, the upcoming All the Right Reasons. A brief press release from the group wished him well but no reason was given for his departure. The following day the newspaper reported that Vikedal claimed he had been asked to leave by the group on January 3, 2005 with the group claiming Vikedal's heart was no longer in their music. Vikedal also reported at that time that he had been replaced by Daniel Adair from 3 Doors Down, although the group denied the story.

Daniel Adair Takes Over as Drummer

As details emerged over the following months, it became apparent that the group had already decided Vikedal needed to go by December 2004. Daniel Adair revealed in later interviews he had been approached by the group in December and asked to audition. Adair's previous band 3 Doors Down and Nickelback had toured together in the summer of 2004. Adair left 3 Doors Down just as they were preparing to promote a new album, Seventeen Days, which debuted at #1 on the U.S. album chart.

Vikedal Asked To Relinquish Royalties

The depth of acrimony in the break between Nickelback and Ryan Vikedal became apparent when Nickelback lead vocalist and songwriter Chad Kroeger asked that Vikedal and his production company Ladekiv Music, Inc. sign over all financial interest in future royalties for the songs created by the group when Vikedal was drummer and return any public peformance royalties earned since January 2005. Kroeger based his claim on being the sole author and "maker" of the songs, and he demanded that he and his company be assigned all copyright for the 3 albums recorded while Vikedal was a member of the group.

Chad Kroeger Sues For Sole Copyright Control and Return of Royalties

On November 18, 2005, Chad Kroeger officially filed a lawsuit in a Vancouver, British Columbia court to demand that Vikedal stop receiving royalties from public performances of Nickelback songs. The court documents claim that Vikedal receives a small percentage of proceeds from public performance of Nickelback's past hits including their massive hit "How You Remind Me." This would seem to take place because the band receives songwriting credit on all 3 of the albums. Vikedal's percentage of earnings from "How You Remind Me" has been identified as 6.5% No dollar amounts have been mentioned in the suit, and neither Kroeger's attorney nor Nickelback's record label have commented publicly on the lawsuit.

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