Chevelle’s Sam Loeffler on ‘Hats Off to the Bull,’ Tour Plans + More
Chevelle’s sixth studio album, ‘Hats Off to the Bull,’ delights in bringing together the best of what the Chicago hard rock trio has to tender: dramatic loud / soft dynamics, angst-fueled vocals and jagged, schizophrenic riffs. Tracks such as ‘The Meddler’ and lead single ‘Face to the Floor’ take a trademark heavy angle, with guitars staggering forward and swelling vocal hooks.
What’s perhaps most different from Chevelle’s past sets is that the subject matter of ‘Hats Off to the Bull.' The title, in fact, is a metaphor for rooting for the underdog in a hurting world, something drummer Sam Loeffler thinks strikes a chord with most Americans right now.
“As Americans, probably most of us feel like underdogs right now, with how the financial system and our country has been mismanaged,” Loeffler tells Loudwire. “So, that’s loosely what the album stands for.”
In addition to telling us about a possible next single, Loeffler chatted with Loudwire about the band’s recent tour with Bush and Filter, working with producer Joe Barresi on the new album and how it feels to near the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough single ‘The Red.’ Read our Q&A with the stickman below:
What was it like playing with Bush in the fall?
They’re really good people! We had a nice time on that tour. It was nice to see Bush. We were fans of them growing up, as well, and it was cool that they hadn’t put a record out in quite a long time and now they’re having so much success with their single, ‘The Sound of Winter.’ It’s amazing.
How did the tour with Bush and Filter come about?
It happened between their manager and our manager. Bush were looking for somebody to tour, and it was technically a co-headlining tour, but they closed every night, which was fine because they were really cool about it. It was a great time! Their manager looking for somebody that would fit with the band and had a draw, and it worked out well, because it was just before our record was out. It was perfect timing.
It’s hard to believe that your breakthrough single ‘The Red’ is nearly 10 years old! What's the secret to Chevelle continuing to unleash hits with each successive album since then?
Well, I hope it’s because people like hard rock music and dig the songs. You hope that’s what it is, because it’s not a gimmick thing; it’s about your art. You probably know better than me, having an idea of the music industry and what works, but we’ve had great management over the years, and this is our fifth record on Epic, and it’s amazing we’re still there and that they still really believe in us.
You guys have a new album out, 'Hats Off to the Bull.' How do you think this album falls into the musical trajectory of Chevelle’s discography?
Gosh! You hope that your style has evolved. I hope it’s an evolution of our rock band. I think it is based on the fact we’ve published over 70 songs now, and I hope that no two are the same.
What was it like working with producer Joe Barresi -- who has worked with great names such as Tool, Apocalyptica and Queens of the Stone Age -- on the album?
It was cool, because, like you said, he’s worked with our favorite bands and all these really influential bands: Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, Hole, Clutch, the Melvins, Fair to Midland. So, we weren’t sure what was going to happen working with him and if he was the kind of producer who would be super overwhelming, but we met with him and he’s a big fan of music and wants to push whatever the band is doing. Now, we listen back to those old records and hear Joe in these records a little bit. It’s cool, because we were able to be a part of what those bands were part of. Working with him was great, because he has access to all kinds of music and equipment.
You guys are currently doing a headlining run to promote the album. Should fans expect a full-fledged tour next year?
Yes, we’re kicking off a tour Feb. 24, and after I talk to you, I’m actually going to call our manager and talk about possible bands to take along on the tour. It’s going to be a headlining tour, and we’re looking for somebody about the same size as us. And, it would be cool to tour with with someone kind of outside the genre.
What’s your best advice for upcoming musicians?
All depends on what their role is and what they want to do. If people want to be in bands or want to be studio musicians, I always tell people to play every show you can get. Play backyard parties and tiny shows. You never know when something will happen.
Watch the Lyric Video for Chevelle's 'Face to the Floor'