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Flyover Rock: Who Started It?

November 1, 2008 | 11:30 am

This Sunday's Calendar publishes my feature on the phenomenon of "flyover rock" -- the hugely popular, surprisingly long-legged style of mainstream arena yowling that returns mightily this month with new albums from Nickelback, Hinder and David Cook.

I talked to a bunch of rockers for the piece, including Cook, Austin Winkler from Hinder, Roadrunner Records executive Ron Burman (who signed Nickelback), guitar-wielding college prof Steve Waskman  and noted hard rock chroniclers Chuck Eddy and Chuck Klosterman.

They all aided me on my path to enlightenment regarding the enduring popularity of this meat-and-potatoes music, which most critics roundly despise. But they couldn't exactly agree on where it came from. Each listed a bunch of sources, but it all added up to a mishmash - something like this:

Arena Rock + Hair Metal + Grunge + Christian Rock + Contemporary Country = Flyover Rock.

Each expert also had particular bands they singled out as important sources. We at Pop & Hiss wondered who you, the readers, would hold responsible for Nickelback.

Following the jump, some quotes and a little poll to declare the winner in the Flyover Rock sweepstakes.

Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, those kinds of bands are what they're most like. Faceless bands, the kind whose pictures wouldn't be on their album covers, because the record labels wanted all of their music to seem like one song. -- Chuck Klosterman

Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger are my role models -- Aerosmith and the Stones are my two favorite bands. When I was little I would wait around and listen to the radio and when "Janie's Got a Gun" came on, I'd record it on my tape recorder. -- Austin Winkler of Hinder

Where I hear it coming from is Rob Thomas. Those Matchbox Twenty records were where you'd hear that voice. Darius Rucker (formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish) used to cover STP's "Interstate Love Song" -- he's on the country charts now. And Rob Thomas is gigantic. It seems he has connections to every genre. -- Chuck Eddy

I was in Indiana vacationing as a kid, visiting family, and I heard two songs on the radio -- "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails and "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie. After that, I just immersed myself in whatever I could find.  -- David Cook

Everyone was saying that [Nickelback] sounded like Bush and Creed. I wasn't bothered by that. Everybody sonds like somebody else at first, when they're commercially viable. -- Ron Burman

The 1970s was the time when rock moved into mainstream culture, and hard rock was a big part of it. From Grand Funk to KISS to ZZ Top and REO, those bands became the next wave of arena rock. -- Steve Waksman

-- Ann Powers

Photo: Nickelback, courtesy Getty Images