Chevelle in 2007. From left to right: Sam Loeffler and Pete Loeffler.
|Origin||Grayslake, Illinois, U.S.|
|Genres||Alternative metal, alternative rock|
|Associated acts||Filter, Daylight Division|
|Past members||Matt Scott
Chevelle is an American rock band that formed in 1995 in Grayslake, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The band was originally composed of two brothers: Pete Loeffler (lead vocals/guitar), Sam Loeffler (drums/percussion) and Matt Scott (bass/backing vocals). Scott was later replaced by brother Joe Loeffler. When Joe left the band in 2005, Geno Lenardo subbed-in as the bassist until he was replaced by Pete and Sam's brother-in-law, Dean Bernardini.
Chevelle has sold over four million albums in the United States. The band's first full-length album, Point #1 was released on a small record label called Squint Entertainment. Chevelle's second album, Wonder What's Next, was certified Platinum by the RIAA after a debut at No. 14 on the United States albums chart, Billboard 200. This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), the band's third album debuted at No. 8 and has been certified Gold. Chevelle has since released a fourth album, Vena Sera, a fifth album, Sci-Fi Crimes, which was released on August 31, 2009, and a sixth album Hats Off to the Bull was released on December 6, 2011. Other releases from Chevelle include two live albums, DVDs and a compilation of band favorites.
Formation and Point #1 (1999–2001)
Chevelle formed in 1995 in Grayslake, Illinois, when brothers Pete Loeffler and Sam Loeffler started enjoying music. Pete started playing guitar and singing while Sam began playing drums in their parents' garage. Their youngest brother Joe joined the band in 1995. The name Chevelle came from the band members' passion for fast cars. It was also a car their father liked, the Chevrolet Chevelle. The band started playing small outdoor concerts and clubs around Chicago, Illinois, with Joe being only 14 years old.
Sample of "Point #1" from Point #1. This is one of the first songs Chevelle recorded together.
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Chevelle recorded a demo known as The Blue album, and played small concerts for the next three years until they were signed on to Steve Taylor's Squint Entertainment. The band recorded for 17 days in Electrical Audio studios, and in 1999, Chevelle released its first full length album, Point #1 which was produced by Steve Albini. Albini and an aspiring comedian named Fred Armisen starred in the band's Point #1 EPK (electronic press kit)—several years before Armisen became a star on "Saturday Night Live." Two singles were released from the Point #1 album with accompanying music videos, "Point #1" and "Mia". The songs received GMA Dove Awards for the more popular song "Mia" in 2000 and "Point #1" in 2001. The album received an award for "Hard Music Album" in 2000 by the Dove Awards. Point #1 was well received by The Phantom Tollbooth, a Christian music website, and HM Magazine, yet was criticized for its repetitive song structures by Jesus Freak Hideout, a Christian music website.
Wonder What's Next (2002–2003)
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Chevelle toured with bands such as Sevendust, Machine Head, Filter, and Powerman 5000 for four years before Squint Entertainment shut down and the band were signed on to Epic Records in 2002. In 2002 Chevelle released its second studio album Wonder What's Next on Epic Records. The band released the single "The Red", which reached No. 3 on the Mainstream rock charts, and the video was played in regular rotation on MTV. Wonder What's Next soon peaked at No. 14 on the United States Billboard 200 album chart. Brian O'Neil of Allmusic stated the album "offers uniqueness not often heard in more commercial fare, no mean feat." Chevelle released two more singles from the album, "Closure", and "Send the Pain Below", the latter of which reached the No. 1 position on both of the mainstream rock and modern rock charts. Wonder What's Next was certified platinum by the RIAA with excess sales of one million copies sold in the United States alone in 2003.
In 2003, Chevelle performed at Ozzfest, where the band recorded and later released its first live album, Live from the Road, and a live DVD, Live from the Norva. The band toured Europe with Audioslave in early 2003, and later in the year they played on the Music as a Weapon II tour with Disturbed. On the tour with Disturbed, Chevelle appeared on the tour compilation album, titled Music as a Weapon II, featuring the songs "The Red" and "Forfeit".
This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) and the departure of Joe Loeffler (2004–2006)
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This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) was recorded in early 2004, and was released in September 2004. The album debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, and was certified gold by the RIAA six weeks later. Johnny Loftus of Allmusic described the songs on the album as "strong dynamically, but sound predetermined — they don't separate from the general loud rock malaise." The song "Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)" was released as the first single from the album and reached the No. 1 position on the Mainstream Rock chart. Two other singles were released from the album, the titles of which are "The Clincher" peaking at No. 3 on the Mainstream rock chart, and "Panic Prone" which peaked at No. 26 on the same chart. Before the album's release, Chevelle received attention when "The Clincher" was featured in the video game Madden NFL 2005.
After the release of the album, the youngest of the brothers, Joe Loeffler, was dismissed from Chevelle. Due to different stories from the band members, it is unclear whether he was fired or left the band of his own accord. Pete and Sam stated the following on the band's official website: "After three years of non-stop touring and recording, Joe is taking a break to be home with family. We'll miss having him on the road with us, but as his brothers and bandmates we respect his decision and are looking forward to getting out there and playing for the fans. See you on tour." However, according to Ultimate Guitar Archive, Joe said of his departure:
This is exactly what I expected from them. Try and make it look like I didn't want to be in the band. I was fired plain and simple, in fact there wasn't even a discussion about it they just dropped it on me. I made no decision and am not taking a break. I will be working on getting a new job immediately. A break also means there's a chance to come back, and nothing could be farther from reality.—
In late 2006, Pete discussed his brother's departure on MTV.com:
"People need to know that he quit many, many times before, and that [the last] time, he quit as well. He took a train home from Kansas City, Missouri, and the [rest of the] band flew home. And when we did get home, it was the same old thing—Joe quit again. When he was confronted on it, he denied it, and we said, 'Well, too bad, because now, it's really over."
The band supported This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) with a headlining tour that included opening acts such as Taproot and 30 Seconds to Mars, and continued playing small tours in 2005 with Geno Lenardo from the band Filter. In 2006 Chevelle supported Nickelback for an arena tour across the United States, with a new permanent bassist, the Loeffler brothers' brother in-law and long time friend, Dean Bernardini.
Vena Sera (2007–2008)
In 2006 Chevelle recorded its fourth studio album titled Vena Sera. The album was the first album Chevelle recorded with Bernardini. Vena Sera was released in April 2007, debuting at No. 12 on the Billboard 200, and sold 62,000 copies during its first week of release. The title of the album translates to "vein liquid" in Latin, representing the blood Chevelle put into making the album, according to Pete.
Corey Apar of Allmusic States that "Vena Sera probably won't disappoint fans, and it didn't, if for the sole fact that it basically sounds just like Chevelle's other albums". He noted that the song "I Get It" "has a relatively lighter underbelly than the rest, which is a nice change of pace, but it's ultimately too little, too late". "Well Enough Alone", the first single from the album, was written about the departure of Joe Loeffler, and reached No. 4 on the Mainstream rock charts. Chevelle toured with Evanescence, Finger Eleven, and Strata during March and April 2007, followed by a headlining tour with the latter two bands in May and June. The second single from the album, "I Get It", was released on June 12, 2007, and a video for the song debuted on MTV on November 27, 2007. In July of the same year Chevelle toured Australia as a supporting act for the band The Butterfly Effect. On the tour in Australia, Chevelle's band manager Rose died of cancer, much to the distress of the band.
On May 9, 2007, during a show in Fort Worth, Texas Chevelle's trailer containing all of the band's equipment was stolen from the hotel at which the members were staying. The band posted a notice saying, "Most items are labeled 'Chevelle' and if you notice anything suspicious on eBay or other online resellers selling 'authentic' Chevelle items... guitar, basses, drums, amplifiers, risers, backdrops, tee shirts... please call the police..." A month later in an interview, Sam Loeffler stated, "Of the 14 guitars, we got two of 'em, and then we got some amplifiers back and our monitor system. So it's really, I mean it's cool because it's kind of like Christmas, only really weird. People have been calling us and saying, 'Hey, I bought this or that', and you know, we're just doing our best to buy it back from them. And certainly the issue is not a money issue, it's about having the pieces of gear that you did all your records with."
Sci-Fi Crimes and Hats Off to the Bull (2009-present)
In 2009, Chevelle entered a studio in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Brian Virtue. Sam Loeffler stated, "We have spent a lot of time making these songs something different from past records without losing the core of our passion. We are a hard rock, melodic band and it's still what drives us as musicians." The new album, titled Sci-Fi Crimes was released on August 31, 2009, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 album chart with sales of about 46,000, the highest entry onto the chart to date for the band., The album was praised by Jared Johnson of Allmusic for taking a step in a new direction in regards to the lyrics. Pete Loeffler normally wrote lyrics about personal subjects, however on Sci-Fi Crimes, he wrote of stories including apparitions, conspiracy theories, and erratic sleeping conditions. The tour following the release of Sci-Fi Crimes was in the Fall of 2009. Opening for Chevelle on this tour was Halestorm, Adelitas Way, and After Midnight Project.
In January 2011, Chevelle released a live CD/DVD combo titled Any Last Words. The release was part of Chevelle's ten-year anniversary as a recording band. As a special offer for fans, part of the pre-order package included a t-shirt and the fans' name in the 'thank yous' part of the album booklet.
At the end of 2011, Chevelle released Hats Off to the Bull, their sixth studio album. The album's first single was titled "Face to the Floor", which reached No. 3 on Billboard's Rock songs chart. The album debuted at No. 20 on the Billboard charts and sold 43,000 copies in its first week of release. Joe Barresi, who produced Hats Off to the Bull said of the album, "Rather than simply subscribing to a tried-and-true formula, they made a conscious effort to incorporate new sounds and textures into their patented airtight anthems. As a result, Hats Off to the Bull is one of the group's most infectious and impressive offerings to date." Allmusic reviewer Gregory Heaney stated the album is "Heavy and dramatic, the album is packed full of tightly coiled, muscular riffs, giving the album a controlled feeling more like a slow burn than an explosive, cathartic release."
Also, a compilation album of band favorites called Stray Arrows: A Collection of Favorites, was released to stores on December 4, 2012. The compilation includes 11 songs and a previously unreleased track titled "Fizgig".
Chevelle has caused controversy among Christian groups, because at one point they were on a Christian rock label, and thus the band has mistakenly been labeled "Christian rock." Keith Miller of EvangelSociety.org has been critical of Chevelle due to the band touring on Ozzfest with bands such as Cradle of Filth, who he claims incorporate strong satanic and anti-Christian themes into their lyrics. Sam Loeffler said, "It's something that's probably going to follow us around forever and that's fine. It's pretty simple. We originally signed with a record company that was backed by Word (a Christian label housing John Tesh and Amy Grant), so the record [Point #1] was in Christian bookstores. It was really an accidental thing."
Chevelle has tried to distance themselves from being labeled as a Christian band. Sam jokingly stated in an interview, "We're recovering Catholics." Sam also told the Chicago Tribune, "Our faith is still extremely important to us, but it's also very personal. None of us feels being a rock band on stage should be a pedestal for preaching."
Pete Loeffler also said in a 2009 interview: "To us, it was and is, not that big of a deal. Our first label was owned by a distributorship that distributed to Christian bookstores and things like that. And it doesn't bother us at all to be called a Christian band. Although we have made a specific point to keep our religion out of our band and out of our shows because we believe it is everybody's choice to go and do whatever they want. And though we do have our individual faiths and all those things, it is not something that we'll preach to the people out there. So there were never any misconceptions for us or for our label in that regards. It really was what everybody else was putting out there."
Influences and style
Chevelle's primary musical influences as stated by the band members are Helmet, Tool, and The Cure. Chevelle has frequently been compared to Tool throughout its career, specifically when the band released its music video for "Mia" featuring a claymation doll throughout the video, much like the Tool music video for "Sober" or "Prison Sex". Pete Loeffler's singing voice was stated to sound a "tiny bit" like that of Tool's Maynard James Keenan, and the band's music has been compared to Tool's "dark" tone of music.
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Despite comparisons to Tool, many critics such as Andree Farias and Andy Argyrakis of Christianity Today and Robert Rich of The Daily Texan have stated Chevelle as having a unique sound to their music. The Daily Texan described their music as "a kind of controlled chaos, a beautiful darkness, a gentle rampage of aural velocity", and drew away from the band's comparisons to Tool by stating "Tool have always embraced their experimental side and released scathing social commentaries and criticisms, while Chevelle write radio-friendly tunes with subtly deep meanings, but with overtones easily grasped by any listener." Andree Farias of Christianity Today has reviewed Chevelle's first three albums, praising them as "commanding vocals over jolting guitars and chest-thumping bass beats."
- Point #1 (1999)
- Wonder What's Next (2002)
- This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) (2004)
- Vena Sera (2007)
- Sci-Fi Crimes (2009)
- Hats Off to the Bull (2011)
- Pete Loeffler – vocals, guitars (1995–present)
- Sam Loeffler – drums (1995–present)
- Dean Bernardini – bass guitar, live backing vocals (2005–present)
- Matt Scott – bass guitar (1995)
- Joe Loeffler – bass guitar, live backing vocals (1995–2005)
- Geno Leonardo – bass guitar (2005)
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