Chevelle Biography and Profile

chevelle band photo
Chevelle. Photo courtesy MSO.

Chevelle Overview:

Chevelle came to prominence in the early 21st century playing hard rock that represented a more melodic version of Tool's sinister undertones and Helmet's hardcore guitar aesthetic. Because of their focus on radio-friendly rock, Chevelle's albums tend to be hit-or-miss affairs, but the trio have created a string of engaging, mildly aggressive singles (particularly "Send the Pain Below") over the first decade of their existence.

Chevelle's Origins:

When Chevelle formed in the mid-1990s as a trio outside Chicago, the band members were quite familiar with one another – after all, they were brothers. Pete Loeffler was the singer and guitarist, Sam played drums, and Joe took bass. When the band began working on their own material, Sam would write the music, and Pete would contribute lyrics. As the decade came to an end, Chevelle had attracted the interest of a small label, Squint Entertainment, and were preparing to release their debut album.

The Influence-Heavy Debut:

Chevelle’s first record, Point #1, came out in 1999, betraying a clear debt to Tool. The influence manifested itself in two ways – Pete Loeffler’s vocals had the same whisper-then-scream dynamic as Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, and the band’s jittery guitar attack echoed the metal-edged assault of albums like Undertow. The title track got some airplay, but at this stage Chevelle were a band still trying to emulate their heroes.

Jumping to the Big Leagues:

Chevelle tasted success with their second album, 2002's Wonder What's Next. Leaping to a major label, Chevelle amplified their songs' melodic capabilities. Tracks like "Send the Pain Below" and "The Red" were effective singles that brought the angst of '90s alternative rock to a new era. In addition, Pete began to show a little of his own personality behind the mic, giving Wonder What's Next a warmth beneath the musical misery.

Following the Formula:

After putting out a live album, Live From the Road, Chevelle returned in 2004 with their next studio record. This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) was the band's highest charting effort, and even if some of the novelty of their approach had worn off, Chevelle continued to churn out hard rock hooks that were well received on the mainstream and modern rock charts.

A Personnel Change in the Family:

Before Chevelle released their next album, Joe Loeffler exited the band in 2005. Dean Bernardini, the Loefflers’ brother-in-law, took over on bass, and the band released 2007’s Vena Sera. Because of their reliance on accessible radio hooks, Vena Sera suffered since the singles weren’t as propulsive as those from earlier albums.

'Sci-Fi Crimes':

Chevelle released their next album, Sci-Fi Crimes, on August 31, 2009. The album’s first single, “Jars,” hit radio in July.

'Hats Off to the Bull':

On December 6, 2011, the band put out Hats Off to the Bull, which was preceded by the single “Face to the Floor.”

'La Gárgola':

Chevelle's seventh album La Gárgola (Spanish for "the gargoyle") was released April 1, 2014. The album's first single "Take Out the Gunman" premiered February 3rd.

Chevelle Lineup:

Pete Loeffler - vocals, guitar
Sam Loeffler - drums
Dean Bernardini - bass  

Essential Chevelle Songs:

"The Red"
"Send the Pain Below" 
"Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)"
"Well Enough Alone" 
"I Get It" 

Chevelle Discography:

Point #1 (1999)
Wonder What's Next (2002) {C}
Live From the Road (live album) (2003) {C}
This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In) (2004) {C}
Vena Sera (2007) {C}
Sci-Fi Crimes (2009)
Hats Off to the Bull (2011)
La Gárgola (2014)  

Chevelle Quotes:

Sam Loeffler, describing Chevelle's sound.
"I guess it would be like a slow heavy drill." (Trouble Bunch Music, 2003)

Sam Loeffler, discussing Joe's decision to leave Chevelle in 2005.
"I love Joe - I'll always love my brother - and I'll do anything I can for him. But he hated to tour ... He said, 'The only way I'm staying home is if you fire me.' It was the hardest decision we ever had to make." (Rolling Stone, July 27, 2005)

Sam Loeffler, on the secret to the band's longevity.
"The thing that will always drive us is that Pete and I love to write music together. We'll write music together forever. We'll never stop, because it's the outlet, and what keeps us from slashing our wrists, you know?" (, February 21, 2005)

Sam Loeffler, on Chevelle's new album, Sci-Fi Crimes.
"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 records in the past have been made ... I'm curious to see if people notice a difference." (Billboard, July 17, 2009)

Chevelle Trivia:

  • Chevelle have toured with Korn and Filter.
  • Sam Loeffler is the oldest brother of the three. Joe is the youngest. However, there are a total of seven Loeffler siblings.

(Edited by Bob Schallau)