Radio station shows are always an interesting challenge for bands, as they’re trying to win over audiences that might not care to see them. After playing at KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Xmas in Los Angeles, Chevelle felt like the night had gone well, but they did notice a few fans not feeling them.
“There were two guys that didn’t like us, on the left side of the stage. And I called them out,” frontman Pete Loeffler tells Rolling Stone.
“Any time you can call somebody out for being an asshole is a good show,” his brother Sam, the drummer, adds.
While some bands are intimidated or turned off by angry or indifferent crowds, Chevelle have no problem with those audiences. Now on their sixth album, Hats Off to the Bull, they’ve seen it all. “At this point in our career, I’m waiting, I want somebody to give us a dirty look so I can call them out. It just gives you something to talk about,” Pete says. “We had a lot of that when we toured with Bush.”
Chevelle recently wrapped a co-headlining tour with Bush, and as was evident backstage at KROQ, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale still has a very devoted female audience. Sam admits it wasn’t always the easiest audience for them. “They had these Gavin-ite women that came out. They’d be dressed up, wearing high heels to a rock show, hoping to meet him and whatever it is they were hoping to do,” he says.
Chevelle, however, were impressed with Rossdale. “He’s a good guy too, which is cool, ’cause he takes it and keeps going,” Sam says.
However tough Rossdale’s fans might have been, they were still easy compared to some of the animosity that’s been directed Chevelle’s way on the road, like when someone pulled a gun on them in Charlotte, N.C.
“He lifted up his shirt, and there’s a gun there. He said, ‘I just got out of prison. You don’t like this, you don’t want to meet any of these people,'” Sam says. “He was all aggro and methed-out.”
At least they were prepared, having gone through it once before in Jacksonville, Fla., where someone approached them. “He’s like, ‘Hey, can I get five bucks?’ I gave him five bucks, no big deal. Then he goes to Pete, and Pete’s like, ‘He just gave you money,'” Sam recalls. “The kid takes this haymaker swing at him, and Pete just backs off. I just ran in and shoved the kid and he goes running out the door.”
Despite this, Chevelle doesn’t travel with any security, and it’s not because bassist Dean Bernadini is, according to them, a badass with huge fists. It’s because of a lesson they got on tour with the Foo Fighters. “We were playing shows with the Foo Fighters, and Dave Grohl walks us across the street. I said, ‘Dave, no security, no lines?'” Pete says. “He said, ‘Yeah, security makes more problems than they fix.’ We always felt like if Dave Grohl doesn’t need security, what do we need security for?”