Chevelle, formed of brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler and their brother-in-law, Dean Bernardini, has been rocking it out with their trademark heavy aggressive sound for sixteen years and show no sign of letting up anytime soon. The band has put out five studio albums and their sixth studio album, titled Hats Off to the Bull, will be released on December 6, 2011. The album can be pre-ordered now from the band’s website (www.chevelleinc.com). The first track to be released from the album, Face to the Floor, has been getting a great deal of air play on both alternative and rock stations around the country. Pete is very excited about the new album and promises fans something a little different this time around.
The band tours extensively and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live. The guys all have a great sense of humor and it’s apparent they are having the time of their life every time they step onto a stage. Chevelle puts on an amazing high energy show and should definitely be a band on your “must see live” list. Chevelle just wrapped up a tour with Bush and Filter and more than likely will be taking to the road sometime next year in support of the new album. Read on to see what Pete had to say and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of the new album here!
Interview with Pete Loeffler
Michelle: Hey Pete! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I’m so excited to be talking with you. You were the very first rock star I ever met in person.
Pete: Oh really? So was I a dick?
Michelle: No! Not at all; you were great! Being a fan, I know you have a birthday coming up, so Happy Birthday! Any special plans?
Pete: Yes, I do. I’m only 34 for 2 more weeks. No special plans, I’m going to be on the road so I’ll probably just hit the bar after the venue closes and hang out with my crew.
Michelle: So I know you are currently touring with Bush and Filter. How’s that going?
Pete: It’s going good. Not a lot of drama, which I’m appreciative of. We used to tour with Filter way back when so it’s good to be out with them again.
Michelle: Anyone from either of those bands that you’ve taken a particular liking to?
Pete: Gavin and I hang out and talk about the latest pomade, hair gels, and face lotions…nah, I’m kidding. Gavin is great. I haven’t seen them a lot but he seems really down to earth. I’m still getting to know the new guys in Filter.
Michelle: Chevelle will be releasing their sixth studio album in December. I listened to the just released track Face to the Floor and I have to say I’m really excited for it. Care to give our readers a little sneak peak of what to expect with the album and what the title will be?
Pete: Face to the Floor is the new single and it’s getting a really good response so we love that. There’s a ton of vibes and emotion in the new album. We did it with Joe Barresi, Evil Joe, who has made some of our favorite records over the years so it was really amazing to work with him. We couldn’t have made this album without him. The record title is Hats Off to the Bull. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a bull fight, but it’s a pretty brutal thing. As I get older I’m more into helping organizations like the ASPCA and preventing cruelty to animals. There’s a song on the album called the same as the title and I’m hoping it will be the next single because it’s a heavy aggressive song that’s great to play live. It should be out December 6th.
Michelle: So Pete, I have to know. Have you ever owned a Chevelle?
Pete: You know what, I have! I owned one when I was 19. We are car guys, hence the name, and I grew up around them. I sold it when I hit the road because I didn’t know where to keep it, but I wish I would have kept it. They are great cars!
Michelle: Tell me, what’s your favorite Chevelle song?
Pete: Oh man. I guess I don’t have a favorite necessarily, but I do enjoy playing certain songs more than others. Another Know It All is one of my absolute favorites, it’s just a really heavy aggressive double kick pattern straight out of the gate balls to the wall kind of song. I also enjoy playing Get Some a lot. I get a lot of military people telling me they listen to that overseas, so I think about that when I play it. Of course I Get It is a ton of fun just because Sam never liked that song and we had to talk him into it and it turned out to be a great track.
Michelle: Yeah, that is one of my favorites.
Pete: And it was kind of out of left field – it was different for us at the time. And I think people are going to see that on the new album too. It’s a little bit more groove oriented and some new sounds. I hope people dig it; it’s not quite as heavy as some of our past albums.
Michelle: I was listening to Chevelle while I was working on these questions. Maybe it’s just me and the songs I’m drawn to, but do you see a trend with anger in your lyrics?
Pete: I think we are primarily a hard rock leaning towards metal band so it would be tough to write a song about daisies and puppy dogs. I guess I dig that part in me when I sit down to write lyrics and anger is a strong emotion and you are right, it does seem to come out in me a lot. But it’s funny, when we play these songs live I’m never angry, unless I get hit in the face with a boot.
Michelle: Have you been hit by a boot before at a show?
Pete: Actually, I was hit by a dress shoe once – a fancy leather kind of dress shoe. Surprisingly when it was lobbed over everyone’s heads it hit me in the neck. Man that sucked. I stopped the show and was like “search for the dude with one dress shoe on and kick his ass!” I don’t know where that dress shoe came from in a dingy rock club…but yeah I’ve been hit with all sorts of things.
Michelle: I’d go out on a limb and say you have one of the most distinctive voices in the music biz today. Have you had formal training or are you just more gifted than the average rock singer?
Pete: Oh that’s sweet of you to say. Thank you for that compliment. I’ve never had any formal training. I was just excited about music and no one else in our group of friends could sing so it just kind of fell on me. I started out playing piano, then moved to violin, and when I took up guitar everything else just went out the window and that’s also when I started singing more.
Michelle: I read that Tool and The Cure were at one point your primary influences. As a
huge fan of both of those bands, I’d like to hear what you have to say about that. Is it true and how much of an influence were those two bands to you?
Pete: Actually a lot of the bands that I listened to early on that were huge influences were really in the punk movement like The Dead Milkmen, The Dead Kennedys, and Fugazi. Then I got into the grunge movement with Alice in Chains. These are the bands that really started me on the path to wanting to do this. And The Cure is an amazing band with a great vocalist.
Michelle: Chevelle is you, your brother, and your brother-in-law. I can think of all kinds of ways this could go wrong. Why does it go right…is your family an American anomaly?
Pete: Yeah well you know, it didn’t work out in the beginning when it was three brothers and to keep it light, it was very difficult and not recommended. There’s just a whole other dynamic when you have brothers in bands. But I’m really close with Dean so when he joined the band it was a perfect fit. We all get along great but it’s not easy. Touring is very difficult and if you’re with your family it’s going to be 10 times more difficult.
Michelle: If you could take any song from another genre, like say hip hop or country,
and turn it into a Chevelle song, what song would you pick?
Pete: Oh man. Well since you said country, I’d probably pick a Johnny Cash song. I think that would be amazing. They always turn out great.
Michelle: So which Johnny Cash song would you pick?
Pete: Yeah, that’s a good question. I wouldn’t want to do Man in Black or Ring of Fire because people have done those quite a bit. Maybe Jackson.
Michelle: I was thinking Walk the Line.
Pete: Yeah, that could be good.
Michelle: So do you think there’s a chance that will ever happen?
Pete: Yeah, I need to just get home and get into rehearsal with the guys and try something. I’m going to keep that in mind though. So if you hear that you take credit for it!
Michelle: I totally will! You’ll have to mention me on the CD cover!
Pete: (laughs) You got it!
Michelle: Describe Chevelle in 3 words.
Pete: Oh wow, I kind of need like an hour to think about that. Emotional would definitely be one of them. I guess we are also
aggressive. Everything else I’m coming up with is negative and I don’t want to go negative on it.
Michelle: If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?
Pete: I will always write music, even if it’s for other people. Hopefully that’s what I’ll always do.
Michelle: Pete, thank you again for talking to me today. It was a blast for me! Best of luck on the rest of the tour.
Pete: Thank you Michelle; see you around!