Chevelle's Pete Loeffler Loves the '80s; Gun-Wielding Fans? Not So Much
Illinois-based rockers Chevelle have a clear-cut formula when it comes to making music: They keep it honest and real. They've never strayed far from their controlled chaos and somehow gentle rampage or their mix of dark magnetism and gothic pop (think early Tool meets The Cure if you haven't heard radio-dominating hits like "The Red").
Their sixth album, 2011's Hats Off to The Bull, sticks to the game plan. Never too flashy, the three musicians remain humble and dedicated to their sound, and it's resonated with audiences.
Singer/guitarist Pete Loeffler sat down with Up on the Sun to talk about being back on the road, crazy fans with guns, not having security because of Dave Grohl, and why he loves Tears For Fears.
Chevelle is scheduled to perform Saturday, April 28, as part of KUPD's UFest at Quail Run Park in Mesa.
Up on the Sun: I know Hats Off to the Bull was released not long ago, but in a February interview, you said that you're always jotting down ideas and writing. Have you started working on the next album?
Pete Loeffler: Yeah, there hasn't been anything that's jumped out at me right yet, but I'm always trying to come up with ideas. We travel so much [that] you can't help but be inspired by your surroundings. It's funny, though. We always joke about being in the back of every shitty club there is in the United States, our bus pulling up to the show and us hopping off by the dumpster. It's the life on tour. Not that that makes me inspired! [laughs] But you know what, I've been wanting to get involved with the ASPCA, and we're trying to set up something on tour for that. It's a little foundation for coinciding with musicians helping out anti-cruelty for animals. That's something I'm trying to get involved in. Maybe a song will come out of it.
Regarding Hats Off to the Bull, do you have a particular song you favor over the others, or does it really just depend on your mood?
Yeah, you know, we're playing about four songs off the album live every night. I've been talking to a lot of our fans after the shows, and they all ask for more and more of the new material. Which is great, the response. Honestly I haven't felt this type of response since our second album, like 10 years ago.
So it's exciting for us, but we're just trying to spread it out over six albums, and we play about 18 songs a night. I'm sure you can hear in my voice a little that it's dry and hoarse. Um, it kinda hits me and my voice starts to fade after like 18 songs. So I'm trying to combine old and new material . . . But maybe I shouldn't even care, right? When you try and please everyone, you're going to be sorry and you will please no one.
When you come to Phoenix for UFest with Godsmack and others, what can fans expect from that show?
Well, there won't be any pyro or anything like that [laughs].
Chevelle seems to keep things a little more subtle
Yeah, you know, it's like with security, too. When we toured with Foo Fighters, we were with Dave Grohl, and he walks across the street with no security or anything in this one busy area. Grohl said, "Yeah, security makes more problems than they fix." If Dave Grohl doesn't need security, why should we? You know, we're kind of just like an honest, honest rock band. We'll wear our street clothes on stage. But we really do love touring and playing live. Hopefully, something interesting will happen during the set. Maybe I'll fall off the stage or I'll whip my guitar at Sam's head, which I've done many times.
I didn't think I'd ever seen pyro at one of your shows.
Yeah, we usually do a stripped-down thing. But we do have a nice lighting rig for the show! But it'll be daytime when we play, anyway, so we most likely won't even use it. But we'll play new stuff, and any day I get to play the song "Face to the Floor" is a great day. It's such a great vibe and fun for me to rock out. That song is about greed, but usually our songs are safe from politics and religion and whatnot. It's more of a come- out-and-have-a-good-time type of thing.