CHEVELLE vocalist/guitarist Pete Loeffler appeared on the May 19 edition of “Whiplash”, a weekly program hosted by Full Metal Jackie that airs on the Los Angeles radio station 95.5 KLOS. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the origins of the musical partnership with his brother, CHEVELLE drummer Sam Loeffler:
Pete: “Brothers hang out all the time [and have] similar interests. As kids, we skateboarded. We were into ’80s biking — a whole bunch of neon colors, all that crap. As far as music goes, we centered around the punk scene — the post-punk, MINUTEMEN, FIREHOSE stuff. That’s where we bonded musically, and then it branched out from there and went to other things like metal and rock.”
On struggling to feel “confident” as a songwriter:
Pete: “That’s something we’re going through right now. We’re still in demo mode [for a new album]. I’ve written about 18 songs, so we’re getting ready to go in and record part of that in June. That’s not that far away. When do I feel confident? I think I feel confident when we’re hitting record and we’ve talked it out. I’m not there yet — I’m definitely not there yet — but soon. About a month from now, I’ll be confident.”
On when he started to feel “comfortable” in the studio:
Pete: “It was probably around [2002’s] ‘Wonder What’s Next’. We did [1999’s] ‘Point #1’, which was like an indie album. That was kind of a throw-and-go experience with [producer] Steve Albini. It was all live — you do one take, and that was all he wanted, and that was all you go. The second record, we knew that we didn’t want to do that again. That record, right around there, my eyes were opened to a whole new experience and I soaked that all up. Right after that album, I knew what I needed to do from then on.”
On overcoming obstacles:
Pete: “When you start out, you’re young [and] you really don’t know what to expect. Some of the bigger things were brothers leaving, never speaking again — that sort of thing. Originally, we were a band of three blood brothers. I never saw that coming — probably should have, from experience. That was probably the biggest one. Later on down the road, there’s smaller things that you try and tackle more and more as you go, because you want to take the reins more. We did an album called ‘Sci-Fi Crimes’, and that record, we did basically without any help from anybody other than an engineer. I basically produced that record. I guess I didn’t expect to be that far down the line and then to be thrown the reins, but it had to happen. Now, we’re back to working with a producer, but that was a good experience. It was just tough — tough as nails.”
On how he’s able to tell if a live performance is “memorable”:
Pete: “There’s a lot of factors there, but clearly, we’re looking at the crowd as they’re looking at us, so we can read the front few rows pretty well. For the most part, if you can connect with the first row, it kind of sets you at ease and makes everything a little bit smoother right out of the gate. Every show is different. When you connect with your bandmates — something funny happens; maybe there’s a mess-up and you laugh about it — that kind of sets you at ease as well. Playing so many shows, you don’t want to take it so seriously. I’m now in my 40s, so the last thing I want to do is take all this too seriously. We’re glad to still be here doing it in this rock landscape.”
On other memorable tour moments:
Pete: “When you get to stand side-stage before or after you play, if you’re watching a band that you love, that you get a chance to play with, that’s the romantic part that comes back. You become a fan again, and you’re singing along with them, only you’re not in the crowd — you’re tucked away by the guitar boat. That’s magical. I remember doing that in Germany [when] we toured with AUDIOSLAVE many years ago. We were side-stage [in a] massive stadium, [and] Tom Morello comes over and he turns to my friend and I — we were just hanging out on stage — and he kind of solos for us for a second and then turns back to the crowd… Those are cool memories.”
CHEVELLE will tour this summer alongside BREAKING BENJAMIN, THREE DAYS GRACE, DOROTHY and DIAMANTE. The group will start recording its ninth studio album — the follow-up to 2016’s “The North Corridor”, which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 — next month.