Many fans credit Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and his songs with helping them get through tough times. Tyler Connolly, frontman of Theory of a Deadman, has Kroeger to thank for just about everything.
Before Nickelback were rock stars, Connolly was a struggling musician without a band, manager or record deal and with only a pipe dream of ever being recognized outside his hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Then one night at a party Connolly handed a demo tape to Kroeger, which led to an enthusiastic call from the burgeoning musician, who wanted to produce Theory.
Kroeger’s contribution didn’t end there. When Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell failed to show at a scheduled studio session for the “Hero” song Kroeger wrote for the “Spider-Man” soundtrack, the Nickelback maestro called Connolly, who played a guitar solo for the track and also appeared in the video shoot the next day. And when Kroeger decided to launch his own label, 604 Records, he recruited Theory of a Deadman as his first signing and produced their self-titled debut record, due August 20.
The celebrity promotion has paid off. Kroeger helped get Theory of a Deadman’s “Invisible Man” on “Spider-Man,” and the group’s debut single, “Nothing Could Come Between Us,” is starting to heat up at radio.
“We have no one to thank except Chad for everything that’s happened,” Connolly said. “He helped me a lot with my songwriting, and if it wasn’t for Chad asking me to do the ‘Hero’ video, we wouldn’t be at the level we’re at. It definitely gave us a little boost.”
“Nothing Could Come Between Us,” a melody-rich slab of hard rock in the vein of Connolly’s heroes, is about a relationship that drags on for far too long.
“This guy’s dating a chick and he’s just sick of her,” Connolly explained. “He wants to get the hell out of the relationship and she doesn’t. She just sort of hangs on, and it becomes a train wreck because he’s a little too scared to admit it should end and too frightened to just tell her off.”
Three weeks ago, Theory of a Deadman shot a video for the track in Vancouver with Glen Bennett, who directed Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” and Sevendust’s “Praise.”
“It shows me jamming and rocking out at a crossroads,” Connolly said. “There’s a rig driver and a girl in a Camaro. And we’ve got all these stacks of speaker cabinets set up in the road. And during the solo, they just crash through all our gear while we’re playing right there in the road.”
Connolly emphasized that at no time were Theory of a Deadman in danger of being rendered dead men by the speeding vehicle.
“We weren’t really standing in the middle of the road when they crashed,” he said. “They used computers to make it look like we’re standing there. I’ve seen a couple rough cuts, and Glen Bennett is a big special-effects whiz, so he’s gonna make us all really awesome.”
While the video might be heavy on effects, it’s pretty light on plot. Aside from the girl in the Camaro, there’s little to reflect the turbulent subject matter of the song. Connolly didn’t write the treatment, but he said the band intentionally avoided a story line.
“Our manager told me I didn’t want to have a video where the story is too involved, ’cause a lot of people are gonna listen to the song and interpret it their own way,” he said. “And if you have a video where there’s too much of a story line, it’s gonna change people’s look on the song.”