Chevelle's Pete Loeffler Picks His Top Five Chicago Rock Bands
The three men of Chevelle—brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler and brother-in-law Dean Bernardini—are proud sons of Chicagoland. It's where the troupe, whose hometown of Grayslake is about 40 miles north of the Miracle Mile, cut their musical teeth and developed the heavy-hitting, drone 'n' roll that can be heard on Chevelle's 1999 debut Point #1 and beyond. The group's sixth studio album, Hats Off to the Bull, hit stores yesterday, so it seemed like an apt time to get singer-guitarist Pete to list his five favorite fellow Chicago rock bands (Styx and stones may break their bones...).
The Smashing Pumpkins
"When they did Siamese Dream, not only was it an amazing album, but it hit me at just the right time. I was 16 years old when I heard that album. It was heavy and yet it was emotional—and we're all a little emotional. When I was 16, I was going through a lot of shit. My parents were about to possibly get divorced, I was dealing with a lot. Everyone deals with shit when they're 16, but that was a great album to help get me through it. I actually have yet to meet [frontman] Billy Corgan. I have all these friends who know him, and I'm a huge fan, so hopefully someday..."
"They have that first album [2000's The Sickness], which was huge for them. There's only a few musicians that I talk to a lot, and David Draiman is one of them. We've always kept in touch, probably because we started around the same time in Chicago so we have that same sort of kinship. Neither of us ever fit into a clique of any kind, so we've always bonded over that. We used to play a lot of shows together in small venues, and we've kind of grown up with them."
"I love them. We used to cover their song 'Thieves'--that was always fun to play. We have a lot of mutual friends, too. They're a band that, at another point in my life where I was trying to find out what I was into, my older brother brought them to us to show me what he was into at the time. You just can't deny it--when you hear a lot of those guitar riffs and the driving rhythms, it just pulls you in. Whenever we have parties at home, we'll throw on some [Ministry] or bands that just have that same kind of thing going. It's a great party band. And it's funny, too, when you hear the early Ministry that was full-on '80s pop—but it's great. I love it all."
"They're from up by us—they say Zion [Illinois]—and we've played a lot of shows with them over the years. When we used to go to punk shows, we'd usually run into them, at legion halls in our area, or driving into Wisconsin at a shitty bar, or down in the city, in Chicago, too. They've always been a solid band and intense, and I see Scott [Lucas, vocals, guitar, bass] from time to time. We have a lot of stories in the past, good times and rough ones. We kicked 'em off the bus once—my girlfriend at the time, who's now my wife, did. Scott was just shitfaced and it happens, so what are you gonna do? We've all been there."
"We have a huge past with Richie [Patrick, frontman]. And he was cool enough to bring us out on our first album, when they were supporting their second album, and it was just us and them and it was a great, crazy show every night. We were out with them this year, and to connect with them 10 years later was really cool. Richie's sober now and cool as shit. He'd be the first one to tell you that he's a lot happier, and that's great. More power to him. We haven't hit that point yet. We're dabbling, but things are good."
As told to Gary Graff