Amy Harris recently conducted an interview withCHEVELLE drummerSam Loeffler. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Amy Harris: How do you keep the music relevant over a 15-year time frame?
Sam: I think it is important, as a band, to write the music you love so you are not faking it. And that is what we do. We write hard rock and melodic music. There is no formula to it. You are writing good songs or you are not. I can name bands that have great singers, bad lyrics, and bad music, but they are still cool because it is a cool voice. You really like to hear somebody sing no matter what they sing with a good voice. Roy Orbison could sing anything. Johnny Cash could sing anything. Then there is the other side of it with people who write really good songs. They don’t have a really good front man and the lyrics are bad. Certainly, to me, at the end of the day, it is just the songs.
Amy Harris: Do you still really love playing every night or has it ever become a job?
Sam: I love to play drums. I love to play our music with Pete and Dean. I love that part of it. The silliness is the lie that people think is rock n roll. That is the part that I really don’t enjoy. Because now, especially as an adult, there is almost nothing that I haven’t done, with the exception of winning a Grammy, but we have played all over the world. We have played all 50 states, literally thousands and thousands of shows, every television show, every magazine, every event, we have played in front of 75,000 people, we have played in front of 500 people, our own shows, other people’s shows, the bars. I tried to count the other day, we have had like 60 something different tour buses.
Amy Harris: It’s still fun for you and it’s still the best job you could ever have.
Sam: It’s fun for me to play those songs because I have been part of all them. It’s even fun to play other people’s songs. Being a drummer, totally fun, being a musician, fun, being part of a band, totally fun. It’s the photo shoots and the videos and the other silly stuff that goes along with it that I don’t particularly care for. But you have to do it because people give a crap about what you look like for some reason. I mean, Keith Richards is crazy ugly.
Amy Harris: Does Chicago affect your music?
Sam: I think the weather affects your music. I think being stuck inside in gray weather for six weeks at a time when it is four outside… Yeah, the lake brings you down. I think those things affect your music and how we grew up affects our music, the fact we were carpenters and framers and whatever else we could do, that stuff affects your music having to go to work in the freezing cold, proper work and then come home pack up your stuff, drag it to the city, play a show, drag it all the way back, and have to be at work the next day at 8ish.
Amy Harris: What’s [the new CHEVELLE album, “Hats Off To The Bull”] going to be about?
Sam: The record, well, the song “Face The Floor” specifically actually has Madoff’s name in it. It’s sort of about being taken advantage of. It is a little bit about our financial crisis we are in, loosely. It is about what it is like to feel completely ripped off by your peers. In this situation, he is citing that Madoff would have not liked for those people to find out they had nothing. It is one thing to go from being 70 years old and thinking you have a few million in the bank and to being 70 years old and having nothing and knowing that you have to sell your home if you can and move in with your kids. It’s brutal and it happened to thousands of people.