Rock solid 

Can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Case
in point: Chicago rock act Chevelle.

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


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Joshua Boydston

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