Since the release of their 2002 breakthrough album Wonder What’s Next, Chevelle has been playing alternative metal at large-scale shows, like their upcoming Dallas concert with Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Dorothy and Diamante at Dos Equis Pavillion.
Singer and guitarist Pete Loeffler looks back at a point in time, seven years before that release, when Chevelle was just another struggling band desperately trying to break out of their day jobs, uncertain of what was in store for them.
“I worked in construction before I was 20 years old for about three years,” he remembers. “That was such a wake-up call to what I did not want to do with my life. What it did was make me work super hard at writing music with my brothers. We played every show we could — backyard barbecues, clubs in the city, basement parties, things like that.”
The nostalgia tour and release of 12 Bloody Spies: B-Sides and Rarities are the markers of a band taking some time to reflect on their work. Chevelle is starting to notice a change in their concert attendees.
“You see a lot of kids, a lot of families and things like that,” Loeffler says of the band’s current tour. “It's just a different thing that we don't normally see. No one's singing along. There are pockets of people who are either content to watch the show or they don't know the music."
Chevelle is beginning to take stock of the fact that they are slowly becoming classified as classic rock, which is a testament to both their age and their resilience.
“We are definitely on the verge of eventually becoming classic rock,” Loeffler continues. “It's hard to imagine classic rock being in the nu metal classification, but everything becomes classic if you're around long enough.”
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While the tour is definitely a way to promote their rarities and B-sides collection — comprised of songs reaching as far back as their breakthrough album — Loeffler says the added value of the tour is getting a feel for live performance for a new album that is in the works.
“We have eight tracks close to being done, and we need a few more to finalize the album,” Loeffler says. “When this tour ends, we go back and finish writing the rest of the record. We take all this motivation and remember what live is. When you play a show, and you want to bring that energy to the album.”
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Aging has paradoxically given Chevelle the gift of time. In the past, the band had recorded albums quickly in order to meet label demands. This time around, they are taking their time to put out their best effort yet.
“We don't want to rush it anymore,” Loeffler says. “We have put out a lot of albums over the years, and with this one, I definitely don't want to rush it. It won't go out until it's right. I hope people like it because I think it's some of the best stuff we've ever done. I think just taking time away from the studio and hitting the road is just a good long opportunity to remember, yeah, this is what we do.”
Loeffler says the band is excited to be making a Texas stop on the tour. It may be typical for a band to say that the city they are in has the best fans in the world, but Chevelle means it.
“I mean, there's very few places that we play that are as exciting as Texas,” Loeffler says. “As far as rock fans go, there's something about you guys, the way you guys hold rock and you keep it alive. We could literally tour Texas. We could play every little town, and every show would be great. When you're in a rock or metal band or whatever, fuck yeah. Texas is where it's at.”