Three brothers from Chicago start a group and before long are playing parties, outdoor events and clubs, even though the bass player is only fourteen. They land a record deal, get a big name producer, Steve Albini, for their debut and take their act national. Sounds like the Hanson story but it's actually Chevelle.
Pete (guitar/vocals), Joe (bass) and Sam (drums) Loeffler formed Chevelle in '95 plying a sound that contained soft passages but relied on a thunderous raw Metal guitar to drive the songs home.
"Point #1" with the potent title track was released in '99. Three years later, "Wonder What's Next" answered its own question.
As a reflection of Chevelle's extensive touring "Live From The Road" arrived in '03. That was followed by their third full-length studio effort, "This Type Of Thinking (Could Do Us In)." Chevelle hit the road again, this time opening for Disturbed. They showed up on Disturbed's "Music As A Weapon II" CD/DVD." Recorded on the Chicago stop, the '04 release also featured songs from fellow touring partner, Taproot.
After Chevelle headlined the SnoCore 2005 Tour there was the announcement that Joe would not be on the summer tour because he wanted to take "a break to be home with family." Once Joe announced he was looking for another gig, the band admitted that he had been sacked due to "irreconcilable differences." Chevelle took the opportunity to add that they planned to continue. And continue they did. Chevelle, along with Trapt, toured the U.S. supporting Nickelback. And keeping it in the family, Chevelle toured with bassist Dean Bernardini, Pete and Sam's brother-in-law.
Chevelle's '07 effort, "Vena Sera" with "Well Enough Alone," landed in April. "We did take some risks on (the album), more so than we have in the past," said Pete. "(But) it has those big, chorus-y hooks which have been a staple in what we do for so long now." Sam added, "I can say that I love these songs . . . and that's good because I have to play them for a long time."
So what does "Vena Sera" mean? "It's Latin and it's two words that sort of don't necessarily go together, but basically it means 'vein liquid,'" explained Sam. "It sounds good and it's certainly a little bit morbid, and I like that a lot."
"Vena Sera" landed at #12 on the Billboard 200 selling 62,00 copies in its first week. Lead single "Well Enough Alone," a song written about Joe's departure, did well on the Mainstream Rock Chart (peaked at #4). To help promote the song (and album), Chevelle teamed up with renowned horror-flick director Wes Craven for a contest in which fans created their own video for the track.
While touring in support of the album, the band's equipment trailer was stolen in Fort Worth. Some of the gear did find its way back to the band thanks to an online post asking fans to keep an eye out and report any suspicious sales. "Of the 14 guitars, we got two of 'em, and then we got some amplifiers back and our monitor system," said Sam. "So it's really, I mean it's cool because it's kind of like Christmas, only really weird. People have been calling us and saying, 'Hey, I bought this or that', and you know, we're just doing our best to buy it back from them."
In February, '09, word arrived that Chevelle was in Nashville with producer Brian Virtue (Jane's Addiction, Deftones) working on their fifth studio album (with a lot of new equipment). "We have spent a lot of time making these songs something different from past records, without losing the core of our passion," said Sam. "We are a Hard-Rock, melodic band and it's still what drives us as musicians." A few months later, just prior to the September, '09, release of "Sci-Fi Crimes," Sam had this to say. "We wanted to do a record that was more true to what our live sound is like. We wanted to go in the studio and play the tracks and just record them and not make a perfect record the way I think a lot of our [previous] records... have been made."
"Sci-Fi Crimes" peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart, the group's best showing to date. Next came the '11 DVD Any Last Words which was filmed at The Metro in Chicago.
In December of that year, Chevelle issued "Hats Off To The Bull," with the single "Face To The Floor." "It's an angry song," Pete told loudwire.com. "The lyrics are about all the people who have been taken advantage of. I reference Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme. He raked people over the coals, stole and is a terrible person. One day, these people have everything, and the next day it's completely gone." The song went to #1 on the Active Rock and Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks charts.
"Hats Off To The Bull" debuted at #20 on the Album Chart selling 43,000 copies in its first week of release. That was followed by a compilation album "Stray Arrows: A Collection Of Favorites."
Re-teaming with Joe Barresi, the producer on "Hats Off To The Bull," Chevelle recorded "La Gargola" (Spanish for "the gargoyle"). "I don't want Chevelle to sound like every Rock band out there, I wanted to create something fun in a dark way," said Pete. The '14 set contained the single "Take Out the Gunman."
Chevelle rolled on with their '16 release, "The North Corridor," the group's eighth album.
1999 Point #1
2002 Wonder What's Next
2004 This Type Of Thinking (Could Do Us In)
2007 Vena Sera
2009 Sci-Fi Crimes
2011 Hats Off To The Bull
2014 La Gargola
2016 The North Corridor
Chevelle's major label debut "Point #1" ranges from sensitive ballads to full-on Metal - a little something for everyone. "Wonder What's Next" rolls down the same road but with a more confident approach.
"This Type Of Thinking (Could Do Us In)" is another dense guitar heavy album with dark, brooding themes and the plodding rhythmic punch to match. The epic vocals are meant to convey power and force. And for the most part they do.
"Vena Sera" has a greater emphasis on melody, tighter song structure - more economical.
However, "Sci-Fi Crimes" is a hit and miss effort. The good news is they are never really far off the mark.
Chevelle are smart enough to play to their strengths - at least most of the time - on "Hats Off To The Bull."
"La Gargole" is dark, don't know about the 'fun' part.