Devin Townsend has called Chad Kroeger "a functioning genius."
The oft-reviled NICKELBACK frontman offered Townsend some key bits advice before Devin embarked on the songwriting process for his new "Empath" studio album. Opposites in many respects, Townsend originally connected with Kroeger after tweeting his fondness for NICKELBACK's recent "Feed The Machine" album, drawing the expected round of derision from his followers. When the two finally met, Kroeger convinced Townsend to not make a "sell-out" album, but rather the type of progressive, schizophrenic record Townsend has made a career out of.
In a recent interview with Consequence Of Sound, Townsend was asked to elaborate on his friendship with Kroeger and the effect it's had on his own music.
"We met by chance, and ended up forming a friendly acquaintance," Townsend said. "One thing that I would say about Chad that I think will eventually be known about him, is that he is a functioning genius, in my estimation. I think that people don’t realize how clever that guy is. And his success in a lot of ways, I believe — although what he’s writing is coming from a place of what he wants to write — I think is his ability to analyze the public and musical structures, and the ways that people react emotionally on a commercial level is such that he is almost more like a scientist than he is a rock musician."
Devin continued: "And I'm fascinated by people who are clever, and specifically, when the cleverness of them is something that I can make mental notes, and refer back to my own work with. It was a godsend for me be fortunate to interact with him for a few days, because just by watching him function and by being able to ask somebody with that sort of pedigree questions that had been plaguing me about my own career, it allowed me to make decisions on 'Empath' that I don’t know if I would have made had I not made his acquaintance."
Kroeger contributed vocals to the "Empath" track "Hear Me", singing the harmony in the chorus (listen below).
"Empath" was released on March 29 via InsideOut Music.