PETE LOEFFLER - VOCALS/GUITAR
JOE LOEFFLER - BASS
SAM LOEFFLER - DRUMS
How do you describe a year in which your band sold more than a million copies of its major label debut, scored three chart-topping singles, performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, played the Ozzfest main stage, garnered critical acclaim, racked up radio and MTV airplay and toured Europe with one of its favorite groups (Audioslave)?
"I call that a pretty damned good year," says drummer Sam Loeffler, whose band Chevelle went super-nova in 2003 with Wonder What's Next. "It was one unbelievable experience after another. I remember playing Letterman and Jim Carrey, who was that night's guest, invited us to hang in his dressing room. He said to us, 'I hear you guys on the radio all the time. That song of yours-'The Red'- is great.' We had just performed in front of millions of people on national TV and here was one of the biggest stars in the world acknowledging our music. For a band that had been playing dive bars not that long ago, it was definitely a surreal moment."
Fueled by "The Red" and follow-up blockbusters "Send The Pain Below" and "Closure," Chevelle toured endlessly, consistently whipping packed-house crowds into a frenzy with a set that was raw, sweaty and absolutely electrifying. When all was said and done, Sam and his brothers Pete (vocals/guitar) and Joe (bass) had played a staggering 400 shows, including dates with the Foo Fighters and a sold-out headlining jaunt of their own. On December 17th, 2003, they played the final show of a grueling tour at the House of Blues in their hometown of Chicago. They took a two-week break, and then entered their home studio to begin penning a new record.
Or at least, that was their intention.
"It was rough," laughs Sam. "It was January 2nd and Pete and I were sitting in the studio, just staring at each other. We were completely burnt from touring, had nothing written, and were under the gun to write the follow-up to an album that had just gone platinum-plus on the strength of three singles. After a couple of hours, Pete said, 'We deserve a break - let's take tomorrow off.' We came back the next day and still, nothing. So we'd take another day off. That went on for about two months (laughs). Then one day, everything just clicked and the songs came one after another." About dealing with writer's block and the pressure to outdo the previous record, Pete says, "Ultimately, you can't worry about it. You have to write to please yourself and we did that. Beyond that, we had no expectations."
Seven months later, however, few were surprised when ther highly anticipated new album, THIS TYPE OF THINKING (COULD DO US IN), debuted on Billboard's Top 200 at No. 8 and quickly went gold. Chevelle had picked up where they left off, with lead single "Vitamin R (Leading Us)" blazing to the top of the rock charts while its eye-popping video blanketed MTV, MTV2 and Fuse. Road-tightened and focus redefined, the brothers Loeffler have raised the ante with this perfectly paced album of intoxicatingly tuneful melodies and raw, juiced guitars. Pete's richly hued voice illuminates the dark soundscapes of songs like "The Clincher" (about dealing with claustrophobia), "Still Running" (about the struggle to be positive during turbulent times) and "Tug-O-War" (about toeing the line between passion and packaging). Behind him, the rhythm section of Sam and Joe make tracks like "Breach Birth," "Emotional Draught" and "Another Know It All" swing and stomp with seductive flair, anchoring each track with thick, surging grooves.
The band co-produced the album with Michael "Elvis" Baskette, whom they previously worked with on Wonder What's Next. "We knew exactly what we wanted the record to sound like," says Sam. "We'd already done a lot of pre-production work, so we asked Michael if he was comfortable with us having a co-production credit. He agreed, saying he'd engineer and oversee it. We trust him and his ideas and everything worked out great." As Sam tells it, the band worked fast and furious, but kept the mood.
"Recording can be a really intense process," he says. "So there were certain things we did to take the edge off. For instance, we were recording 'Tug-O-War' and Pete was getting frustrated over a particular vocal passage. So I sent a runner out for a bottle of Petrone and told Pete we'd do a shot for every take that he got right. By the end of the session, we were completely ripped (laughs). Actually, if you listen to the song closely, you can hear the glasses clinking. Little things like that can make a big difference in keeping the process fun."
Since the album's release, Chevelle has garnered heavy radio and video airplay, appeared The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CNN, and contributed a track (second single "The Clincher") to EA Sports' top-selling video game Madden NFL 2005. The trio closed out the year with an arena tour opening for Korn and will break from the gate in 2005 with the headlining slot on the Winterfresh SnoCore tour presented by MTV2.
"We've worked our asses off for everything that we've achieved," says Sam. "And at a time when everyone's focusing on lip-synching and fashion statements, we've done it without gimmicks and by writing our own music. That makes us prouder than anything else."