Nickelback Frontman Reveals How Metallica’s James Hetfield Influenced Him, Names One ’Interesting’ Thing About Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine

A new piece over at Guitar World sees Nickelback frontman, Chad Kroeger, revealing the top 10 guitar players who helped him shape his sound. The first spot, of course, goes to Metallica’s James Hetfield. Reflecting on how James impacted him, Chad said:

“Any time I talk about my influences, I have to mention Mr. Hetfield. I love the way he would build a riff and orchestrate a song on my favorite Metallica records. On top of that, his chainsaw vocals and high screams on tracks like ‘Hit the Lights’ were incredible. If you’ve ever tried to sing along to that thing accurately, you’ll lose your voice in three-and-a-half minutes.”

Metallica: Hit the Lights (Las Vegas, NV - November 26, 2018)

“There’s his downpicking, of course, but then there’s the heaviness and groove of songs like Sad But True. It’s so big when it hits – everyone will either be air-guitaring or air-drumming. I also like to layer things and create that thickness, width, and volume in my guitar sound. That’s how you really get that crunch going on!”

“In the video for San Quentin, the lead single for this new album, I’m playing a black Explorer with EMGs through a Mesa. As soon as you put EMGs into anything and run it through a Boogie, you’re definitely getting that Metallica sound. It doesn’t hurt that I’m emulating James to the best of my abilities during the chorus with the vocal aggression!”

Spot no. 3 goes to none other than Megadeth mastermind and frontman Dave Mustaine. Looking back at the band’s various guitar players over the years, Chad offered:

“I grew up with Megadeth in the ’80s. I love the first few albums especially, but to be honest, they’ve released so many great records. I’d sit and listen to guitar players like Chris Poland and lose my mind. Chris actually released a solo album called ‘Return to Metalopolis‘ that was also really good and stood on its own.

Chris Poland-Return To Metalopolis (Full Album)

“Then you get to ‘Hangar 18,‘ which must have had something like 15 solos in it from Dave and Marty [Friedman]. Speaking of Marty, his picking style is a little tough to watch but the end result is spectacular!

As far as Mustaine himself goes, Chad said:

“I always found it interesting that Dave said he wanted to write riffs he could sing over but other guitar players would struggle to cover. Why, I have no idea. That might be a rumor or complete bullshit, but I remember hearing that he loved creating riffs that made it challenging to sing and play at the same time.”

Photos: Frost Harver (Chad Kroeger 2 (cropped)), Raph_PH (Metallica – The O2 – Tuesday 24th October 2017 MetallicaO2241017-42 (37978065862)), Ralph Arvesen (Megadeth performing in San Antonio, Texas (27420120171))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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