Chevelle Frontman Pete Loeffler Dishes on Hot Rods, ‘Hats Off to the Bull’ + More
Loudwire Radio, hosted by Mike ‘Sandman’ Sanders, will feature an interview with Chevelle frontman Pete Loeffler on this weekend’s show. In the interview, Loeffler talks about the origins of the band’s name, their new album ‘Hats Off to the Bull,’ Chevelle’s tour plans and more. Check out the full transcript below, and be sure to tune in to Loudwire Radio over the air or online this weekend.
A treat for the Loudwire audience this weekend, on the phone with me right now is Pete Loeffler, lead vocalist and guitarist from Chevelle. How you doing, man?
I’m doing good.
Was there any ever any thought about naming the band ‘Camaro’ or ‘Mustang’ or something like that instead of Chevelle?
Haha. You know what’s funny is that when we named the band, I think I was 16 years old. So, it turned out to be … I hope the band makes it a cool name at the end of the day. But, going back, that’s pretty funny because I thought the same thing a couple years back. I was like “Woah,” you know, “Hey, let’s just pick any old car name and throw it out there, that’ll work.”
I grew up around hot rods and going to car shows — Midwest kind of thing — and we’ve got pictures of us running boards of ’32 Fords and things like that as babies. So, it’s just something that kind of grew along the way back when, as a joke, and it stayed with us. Hopefully we made the name cool again, because you haven’t seen a Chevelle in awhile.
That is true. It’s better than choosing a name like Chevette.
Chevette. Right. We’d be like a trio of ladies … singing acapella.
Haha. Going to a garage sale, perhaps.
Well, the new album ‘Hats Off to the Bull’ has already had huge success with the track ‘Face to the Floor’ which was, like, No. 1 on rock radio forever. Now you’ve got the title track out as a single. I’m curious, after you put out a record, how much scrutiny do you give it, or do you just say “You know what, we did it, it’s out there.” Or do you think “We could have done things different, could have done it this way, could have done it that way”?
You know what, normally that’s what you think. Actually, I think after every record, except for this one, I’ve felt like it was done, I’ve felt like it was everything we could throw at it and everything we wanted to at the time. So, I’m proud of it. I loved working with [producer] Joe Barresi and I will do it again in a second, that guy is amazing … so talented. But, yeah, I mean we’ve never put organ on our album before, we tried to go a little bit alternative instead of just staying rock or metal. And I listen to all different styles of music, so it was the right time to branch out and to do a few things that we did.
One thing I will say for you guys, throughout your career I think there’s a lot of intelligence and meaning in the lyrics…
Why, thank you.
And that’s obviously not always the case in rock. I mean, I know that you, probably like many artists, just write what you feel and write from the heart. Do you ever think “we need a radio single” or, in the early days “we need to have that one song that will break through on the radio and then we can kind of do what we want.”
Well, you know, for me, I have seen over the years a lot of rock songs that people just write about girls or drinking or partying or, you know, like, a break up, things like that. And that’s one thing that I learned early on to try and avoid. So, just to be … To read a little bit more, and maybe apply some of that knowledge to a rock song is rare to find. And then you get these random songs, like, ‘Face to the Floor’ is all about Bernie Madoff, who did the whole Ponzi scheme.
So, that’s a story that not everybody would necessarily know. So I’m just kind of … It pulled me in, it was an interesting story about a whole man’s life being a lie and screwing everybody over. So, anyway, it was a heavy riff, it needed some heavy content to it. And ‘Hats Off to the Bull’ is like, it’s an anti-animal cruelty song. So, yeah, I appreciate that. I spent a lot of time on the lyrics.
Well it shows. I mean, there’s definitely, you know … It’s like a very complex movie that you got to watch a couple, three times to soak it all in. I think that that is what’s so great about music and art that provokes thought and you guys certainly do that. Plus, like you said, you’ve got the heavy riffs on many songs and ‘Face to the Floor’, man, is just a crusher with the riff.
You know what, man, it felt good when we wrote that song. It was written in, like, three days I want to say? I brought the riff up; I think I still have it on my cell phone.
Yeah, that’s the thing, when I’m on the road I’ll just turn on the video of my phone and I’ll jot down, like if I’m in the back lounge with my acoustic, I come up with a cool riff I’ll just jot it down for later. I pulled that riff up out of my phone and then played it for Sammy and Dean and all of a sudden ‘Face to the Floor’ was born. That whole riff, the whole song just came so easily. It’s like it needed to happen, you know, it had to happen.
We’re talking to Pete Loeffler of Chevelle. ‘Hats Off to the Bull,’ the new track, the new single, the title track from the album. Tell me a little bit about the summer plans. Obviously you’re on tour now and I know you guys got a couple festivals and stuff like that coming up. Are you guys doing anything unusual, other than your basic headlining tour?
Yeah, a lot of headlining, we have the festivals thrown in there … Rocklahoma, Earthday Birthday, we just played that a few days ago. Man, I got to tell you, headlining is really where I love to be, you know, you have full control and you can move the songs around the set at will. You’re not stuck in any kind of constraints of any sort. So, it’s what we’ve been working towards for years. You know, you need to branch out sometimes and play with other bands but headlining is really where it’s at.
You kind of touched on my next question which is: How do you balance the library, older stuff versus tracks from the new album, when you perform live?
Yeah, I basically don’t. I piss everybody off, all the time because they’re saying, “Why didn’t you play this? Why didn’t you play that?” Ok, well, because my voice starts to go away after 20 songs. I’ll get you next time. You’re just going to have to be mad at me.
That is a great answer, absolutely. I think, when you’re a vocalist you kind of got to scale the set around what you’re capable of that night.
We’re trying to play a lot of new material, but old material as well. It’s just a different set every night.
Well let’s give the Loudwire listeners a chance to hear the latest single, which just debuted on our countdown last week, it’s ‘Hats Off to the Bull’ the title track from the latest album by Chevelle. And Pete Loeffler, of Chevelle, thanks for taking time to join us on Loudwire.
Thanks so much.
Watch Chevelle’s ‘Hats Off to the Bull’ Video