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Sick of family telling you what to do? Try walking in Chevelle's shoes

click to enlarge The guys from Chevelle hate press photos almost as - much as family portraits. Look!
  • The guys from Chevelle hate press photos almost as much as family portraits. Look!

In the Loeffler family, everybody seems to have his or her own little suggestion about what brothers Sam and Pete Loeffler should do with their next show, their next album or their next song.

"A lot of people in the family know every song we've ever done," drummer Sam Loeffler says. "Even the ones we haven't released. They'll say, "Hey, why don't you bring this song back?' And it's like, "Because it was written 15 years ago. And it's not valid or relevant anymore. It doesn't fit into what we're trying to do with this record.' You get that all the time, but it's all in good fun."

In 12 years, Chevelle has grown from a Chicago alternative rock band oft-mistaken for a Christian rock outfit to one of the widest-playing mainstream radio bands around.

Sam and Pete Loeffler are the two remaining founding members of the melody-heavy rock group. The youngest Loeffler brother, Joe, played bass until 2005, when brother-in-law Dean Bernardini replaced him. It's no wonder, then, that the family feels somewhat entitled to coax the band to do one thing or another even if they're not the only ones trying.

Originally, Chevelle released its debut album, Point #1, under the Christian rock label Squint Entertainment. After being promoted as a Christian rock band, Chevelle distanced itself from that tag and hit mainstream success with the sophomore album, Wonder What's Next.

While the lineup and the marketing scheme changed, though, the sound hardly did. Chevelle built a reputation as a safe band. Its songs tend to be structured, scream-searing, heavy melodic rock tracks that fit perfectly on a Top 40 radio station's rotation. And it's a formula that Chevelle has ridden to close to 3 million album sales.

The band's current single, "I Get It," from the latest release, Vena Sera, breaks away from its standard paradigm with a subtle layer of a dance rhythm underneath it. Does it signal a direction Chevelle will look to explore?

"You know, I doubt it," Sam says, plainly enough. "We're gonna do whatever comes naturally. That's really what it was. We didn't set out to write a dance song. It has to be a natural thing."

Only once the melody was laid on top of Pete's rhythm did Sam understand where the song was headed.

If nothing else, Chevelle has succeeded where it has intended to succeed: on the mainstream hard rock scene. It's a horse the band appears willing to ride until the legs give out. Even if the rest of the family will always offer up its own humble suggestions about what to do next.

"We've done a good job of keeping the business away from the family," Sam says. "That way there's no weirdness that way. And really, everyone's really supportive."

scene@csindy.com


Chevelle with Tyler Read

The Black Sheep,

2106 E. Platte Ave.

Thursday, Sept. 20, 8 p.m.

Tickets: This show is sold out. Beg nicely along the 2100 block of Platte Avenue.

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