Chevelle with Middle Class Rut and Janus
7 p.m. Friday
8001 S. Eastern
$24 advance, $29 door
Swiftly approaching two decades since forming, the group remains as aggressive and loud as ever.
“We are still writing music that inspires us, and hard rock is what inspires us. There’s no reason to fake it,” drummer Sam Loeffler said. “Yeah, there’s less screaming than there was earlier in our career, but there’s still always this release in every song. It’s something that is important to us.”
Chevelle boasts a more diverse audience than most in its genre, all while remaining true to that foundation. An ear for hooks and affection for The Cure and Tool helped the outfit cross boundaries and break through to the mainstream back in 2002 with Wonder What’s Next, on the heels of standout singles “The Red” and “Send the Pain Below.”
“Most music comes down to melody. If the melody is good, it doesn’t matter what the genre is,” Loeffler said. “Even though we are a hard rock band, we’ve always concentrated in that, and I think it does pull in some people who wouldn’t otherwise seek us out.”
Beyond that, Chevelle does little else to ensure wide appeal, especially weary of tech trends now dominating American music. The band’s 2009 disc, Sci-Fi Crimes, was built using entirely live recordings; its latest effort, December’s Hats Off to the Bull, was made the same way.
“A couple of years ago, we decided that we weren’t going to be a part of the drum sample, Auto-Tune, Pro Tools style of production,” Loeffler said. “Every sound that is on the record is something we made. Nothing is stolen. It shouldn’t be a novelty, but it is.”
Hats Off finds Chevelle feeling like underdogs, yet the disc debuted on Billboard’s Top 20. The group’s Cinderella story keeps going.
“We felt like it was a good idea to make a nod to the underdog. It applies to a lot of things right now, whether being the actual bull in a bullfight or the music industry as a whole,” Loeffler said. “It could even stand for our economy or the way things are going with the country. As Americans, I think we can all feel like underdogs in some way, and everything is about proving the others wrong.”
photo by Max Hsu