Murals of hometown band Nickelback adorn the curling rink in Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Nickelback love remains in Alberta hometown after highway signs come down

The signs may be gone but the mayor of an Alberta community says the love for hometown rock band Nickelback remains.

Hanna, Alta., about 220 kilometres northeast of Calgary, removed in May signs declaring it was “Proud to be the home of Nickelback.”

The signs at the three highway entrances into the town of about 2,600 people had been there since 2004 and were a popular pullover spot for fans wanting to take selfies.

Nickelback, which formed in 1995, is one of the most commercially successful Canadian bands, having sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and ranking as the 11th bestselling musical act of all time.

It has also been criticized for the overuse of themes involving strippers, sex and drugs, as well as the formulaic nature of its music.

In May 2013, readers of Rolling Stone magazine named Nickelback the second worst band of the 1990s, behind Creed.

This year, Nickelback was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

“Either you love them or you hate them,” Hanna Mayor Danny Povaschuk said in an interview Tuesday.

“We are still proud. I am a fan, love their music.

“I think it’s an envy thing, for being as high profile as they are,” Povaschuk added. “There’s been no dirt dug up on them, so I don’t understand the hate. I would say 90 per cent of the people in Hanna love them.”

He said one of the signs is to be moved near the town’s tourist information office, which will still give fans a chance for selfies. Another sign is to go to the local museum and the third has been given to former National Hockey League star Lanny McDonald, who is also from Hanna, to put in a restaurant he has in Montana.

Povaschuk said there was a serious collision near one of the signs last spring when a vehicle was doing a U-turn to get to the sign. However, he said highway safety isn’t the reason the signs were removed.

The old signs were made of wood and in serious disrepair, he said.

An older electronic sign just off the highway is being refurbished and a new “Home of Nickelback” sign will be added, the mayor said.

There are no statues of lead singer Chad Kroeger and company in the town, but a number of murals of their past albums are proudly displayed.

“The lady that did the album covers for us had moved away and we’ve commissioned her to come back and do the latest two album covers for us,” Povaschuk said.

He said the members of the band have continued to support their hometown, providing items for fundraisers. In the past, Kroeger and bandmate Ryan Peake have played at Hannapalooza, a local music festival, under the band’s original name, Village Idiot.

“They’re still a very important component as to what we are.”

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