Video Vision: The San Francisco Music Portal

Chevelle: Pete Loeffler, guitars & vocals, Sam Loeffler, drums

March 4, 2000

Chevelle Interview Still

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Video Vision (VV): Did you guys grow up watching music videos?

Chevelle(C) (Sam): Not really, we didn't start watching things like MTV, 120 minutes until we were about 12 years old. (Pete) That our friends taped for us because we didn't have cable. (S) But now, it's been a pretty important part of our musical world.

VV: So music video wasn't part of your musical coming of age?

C: (P) No, not really. In fact we didn't even want to be in our own videos. That's kind of why Mia came out the way it did, our record label (Squint) knew how we felt about being in the video. They had someone who could do claymation and animation. So they came up with the idea and we went for it. (S) The whole idea was to avoid the "rock star" thing of selling our faces rather than our music. It sort of worked.

Chevelle Interview Still - Pete Loeffler

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VV: Can you expand on why you didn't want to appear in the first video ?

C (P): I don't really know. But we started out playing music, and we didn't really consider music videos to be important. But it turns out that it's a huge part of the industry, and I never realized that until recently. So we wanted to do something totally different for the second video so we're definitely in this new video.

Chevelle Mia Video Still

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VV: Tell us about the storyline for MIA and how you came up with it?

C (P): Jonathan Richter actually came up with it. We spoke a couple of times but I let him have free reign with it. It doesn't stick to the song very well, the topic of quality, etc. But it came out so well that we loved it. The first video is supposed to get on TV and introduce the band, and it did that job well. (S) Jonathan is a really talented guy, and all of the animation turned out amazingly well. (P) Jonathan never really told me the whole concept in the sequence of events that happen in the video, but it was so visually stunning that we just loved it.

Chevelle Mia Video Still

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VV: So far you feel good about making music videos, then?

C (S): Yeah, but the second video was tough. (P) We took out two days while we were out with the Anthrax tour to make it . Hard work! (S) And so much stress! And we had the smallest part..

Chevelle video still - Point #1

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VV: Tell us more about the new video for Point #1.

C (P): Point #1 is the second single from the record and it's the beginning of introducing our faces along with the music. (S) In the video we're trying to get a feeling of what it's like to be us,with a live feel in our studio. (P) We have a practice space in the basement of our house, which is on the CD cover. The video is set in a house with a practice space. We threw in this chick who's just there, hanging out, watching this burning man in her living room, which is just supposed to be visually stunning. (S) Things are kind of random in it. (P) Then there's footsteps and you don't really know who's coming, so it's kind of mysterious. We're downstairs in the basement playing music while there's all these crazy people upstairs. If you look carefully you'll see all these items that we put in the practice room, like I put the new Filter CD cover out, and stuff from bands that we like, like Local H. I have different colored earplugs in different shots. Which nobody will notice. (S) Our friends noticed.

Chevelle video still - Point #1

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VV: Any new material that you've been working on?

C (S): We're playing two new songs tonight. We should have a new record sometime, it's in the works but we haven't recorded anything yet.

VV: Do you find it difficult to find time to write new material with your tough touring schedule?

C (P): It's tough to find time to write. The first new song, Comfortable Liar, I wrote in three days when I was home for Christmas. (S) Every time that we find we have a bit of time off, we finish a song. (P) With a big touring schedule, every time we're not on stage or playing the same songs, and we find time to play, all we want to do is jam and write new songs. With this crammed creative process, the juices flow pretty quickly and the songs happen really fast.

Chevelle interview still - Sam Loeffler

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VV: For your first album, you weren't under the same kind of schedule pressure. What was your collaborative process for the songs on Point #1?

C (P): That was like five years worth of writing. (S) And a mix of circumstances. A song like Prove to You was finished in the studio, whereas a song like MIA is years old. (P) MIA wasn't even on the record but the label heard it and said let's put it on the record. And then they decided to make it the single. (S) In fact, we hadn't played MIA in so long that we had to practice it again just to get it right, it's a weird song to play. (P) The song kinda felt like it had had it's time, and we were moving on. For song writing, I usually start with an acoustic and come up with a cool riff and write the lyrics around the riff. From there things just pan out into a song. Usually I have a lot of a song completed before I take it to the rest of the band and I go through it with Sam. Then he tells me what's cheesy and what's good, and we work on it together. Then Joe comes in at the end and figures out his bass lines.

VV: So the process for this new record is a lot different because of time?

C(S): It is going to be a lot different. But not. There will be some long and complicated songs, which is something that we've always liked, then there will be others which are a little more radio-ish. But this record is going to be heavy.

Chevelle interview still - Pete Loeffler

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VV: How's the music scene in Chicago? And do you have any unsigned or local bands that you want people to know about?

C (P): It's really supportive there. We haven't played there in a while, but we'll be there with this Filter tour soon and we'll see. (S) There's some really good bands in Chicago right now. A band called Merino, then there's a girl band called Starball, and the Cupcakes are coming out right now. And they're on Dreamworks, so that should be spectacular. They're really great musicians. Matt Walker, the drummer from Filter, is actually in the Cupcakes. And of course, there's Local H.

VV: Do you think there's a "Chicago sound" right now? Do you think you came out of it?

C (P): I don't think we come out of it. We played in Chicago a lot but... it wasn't until we got signed that I felt like people were paying attention. (S) Some of the clubs there are really good. We grew up with the Double Door and our band grew with that club. Without them it would've been much more difficult. Last October we played at The Metro until 1:30 A.M. and everyone stayed through the seven minute songs. And it felt great.

Chevelle interview still - Pete and Sam

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VV: With your new fame, have people in Chicago changed how they treat you?

C (S): Not much changed between our friends. We have really close friends and there's no weirdness there. And our roommates have been our friends for 13 or 14 years, and they call us all the time while we're on the road.

VV: I know you guys are into cars and carpentry, what else do you miss about being home?

C (P): We don't miss the Chicago winter. We've been out on tour for winter in warmer states. Yeah, we ride dirtbikes. I definitely miss a sunny day and washing and waxing my car. (S) We were able to quit our jobs about a year ago. You'd think that once that happens, you'd have lots of time but it's not true. (P) We were home for three days between the Powerman 5000 tour and the Filter tour, and my head was spinning. I couldn't focus. So many things were going on and everyone was calling. It felt better to sit at home and watch cable. You have to know when it's better to stay in rather than going out.

Chevelle video still - Point #1

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VV: What has nobody asked you that you wished they would ask you?

C (P): We've been asked everything. (S) Do you pluck your eyebrows? Nobody asked me that. We have a couple of how we don't want to be rock stars. We work really hard not to be. I mean, we're "rock stars" by definition, but not in rock star mentality. We really don't want to be a part of that. Just by being normal people. It's good because people will approach us like normal people. No screaming little girls. (P) We always try to cruise out to the merch (merchandise) table and hang out after our set so we can talk to people. If someone is aggressive to us, it's easy to disarm them immediately, just by being nice to them. We had one bad incident in Santa Ana when we were on the Anthrax tour. Some people came after us, "Why are you playing here, you're not Metal!" and they followed us back to the bus. (S) That was the worst thing that's happened to us.

VV: Do you find people trying to box you into musical definitions?

C (S): Well, that was an Anthrax crowd and they just wanted Anthrax only. (P) No, we just play what we play, and if people don't like it, that doesn't change anything for us.

Interviewer: Catherine Lee

Camera & Photos: Rodwin Pabello

Transcription: Catherine Lee