Interview mit Chevelle


Allschools: Is it your first time being in Hamburg? It's been a long time since you've been doing headlining shows in Germany.
Dean: Actually this is the first time. I think we never have done headlining shows here before. There was a tour with AUDIOSLAVE about 11 years ago and then we just did Rock am Ring and Rock im Park earlier this year but other than that I don't think we've been here.
Allschools: So How do you like it?
Dean: Oh we love it! We're really excited and we're planning to come back already.
Allschools: A little sooner than 11 years I hope?
Dean: Yes, definitely! We're talking about early next year possibly.

Allschools: How did it come that you haven't been to Germany for so long? Is it just that you're doing so many US tours that you haven't had the time or what's the reason?
Dean: It's a good question, I think - and this is speculation because I have been in the band for ten years - something happened about 11 years ago when they had an opportunity to come over here and play some festivals. What happenes was, I think it was a United Airlanes flight and it was cancelled and we were put on another flight but we couldn't make it on time and so we had to cancel. It was something silly as that and I think it either upset the promoter and again, this is speculation because I wasn't there but it's what I've heard. This is the only reason I could think of. We have been working really hard in the states and we basically go from east coast to west coast and we did that for the last ten years. And it takes money to push yourself into different markets.

Allschools: The show tonight is sold out. Did you expect that?
Dean: No, absolutely not! I Haven't seen any posters or anything like that. I'm not really sure what the media did for promotion. Out of the last four shows three of them were sold out. I don't know if they play us on the radio or if kids just know us from the internet.
Allschools: I think it's mostly knowing you from the internet, German radiostations rarely play rockmusic like that.
Dean: We were hoping to have a full house so it was great news for us. We wanted to come here and play for people who know our music so this is great. People singing all the lyrics and so on..

Allschools: This would have been my next question, you already played some shows in Germany, how did they go?
Dean: They have been awesome. There was only one that was a little light. I think it was Munich, but again there was no promotion no posters of flyers or so. So I guess people have to do their own searching to know that we're playing. It didn't bother us but it's just one of those things that we are learning from, doing the shows here and we'll be doing even better promotion next time.

Allschools: Wikipedia categorizes your music as "Nu Metal", would you agree to that?
Dean: I don't know. You know what? Grunge isn't what grunge used to be and alternative isn't what alternative used to be. When someone that I meet at home who doesn't know anything about music asks what kind of music I play I don't even know what to say.. I'd say rock, maybe modern rock. I don't know who is making the decisions for all that (smiling).

Allschools: The band has been a part of the music scene for almost 20 years now. You have been with the band for 10 years. What did you learn throughout the years? When was the best time in your career and when the worst?
Dean: That's a good question. Well things I've learned while the past ten years have just been.. the situation I'm in with my brother in laws is pretty much the biggest piece of the puzzle, I don't know if I could have done it if it was not with people that I've already been close to. It's a different kind of a lifestyle than people think. It's a lot harder.
Allschools: Not just partying and fun?
Dean: Right. It's a lot of work and a lot of commitment and being away from your families and your friends a lot. And making new ones and then not seeing them for years. So as far as that goes one thing that I've learned is that you become a little guarded when being on the road, when you're gone. It's a bit of a protection mechanism that you find yourself in when you're waking up in a different state or country. It's not like a vacation that's for sure. Because it still is a job that you have to do. I think I have been able to perfect that mindset, that would be the one thing I learned. My favourite part of having this job would be seeing it getting more succesful as we're going. My first record with them was Vena Sera and the next was Sci-fi Crimes. There was an evolution since Sci-fi Crimes to Hats Off To The Bull to La Gárgola which is our latest release. I think that is one of my proudest moments that I could think of right now and we have a lot of stuff still in our backpocket.
Allschools: And the worst part for you would be not being able to see your friends and family as much as you would like to? Or is there another bad part?
Dean: I could get real and say that the worst part is finding a bathroom (smiling) because that's the truth. But on a personal level it's saying I'm going to be gone for a month. It's pretty easy to wreck yourself if you don't watch yourself out here.

Allschools: Do you sometimes wish that the music scene would still be the way it was like 20 years ago when you could make money by selling records and not only by touring?
Dean: Absolutely! And I'm hoping that the great minds that are involved in that equation will find another way, another outlet to supplement it. Just like in every other business you have to make a product. I don't like to call it like that because to me music isn't just a product but in the end it's what you have to do. And if the labels can't get enough money from that they try to get it in other ways for example by taking money off the sales of the bands merchandise. And that's causing the newer bands that are coming up to have less and less success because they're basically gypsies and nomads by the time they start touring because they can't pay for anything. I think it would be important on that level alone that there's something else to take away from and be less "hands in the pockets" of new bands.

Allschools: Where do you take the inspiration for your music from? Is it just your average life or do you sit down and think "I want to make a dark song"?
Dean: That's a good one. It usually starts with Pete, our singer. He is an excellent lyric and melody guy so he will start with the melody as the general idea and that will form the foundational color of the song, the vibe of the song. And once you know whether it will be a moody song or an energetic one we all start brainstorming on that and come up with parts to connect all the pieces. We try to be consistent because otherwise it would be like talking to someone who has bipolar syndrom, it would be crazy and you couldn't listen to it.
Allschools: Have there been songs that Pete presented to you, that you didn't like and didn't want to work on?
Dean: Sure, I remember when I first started originally as a drummer and I wrote songs for a band that I created when I was growing up I had a book and the book basically stated to write a song every day. Out of a week there would maybe be one good riff and everything else would be garbage. To be able to pull that one riff out and take that and write something around it is pretty much where you start to find your craft. There's garbage around gold.

Allschools: You're signed to Epic Records at the moment, what kind of contract do you have with them? Have you ever thought about signing to an independent label again or starting your own label?
Dean: The biggest benefit of our deal with being on a major label is the promotion. I don't think that some of the smaller labels have the ability to promote as big as our label does. We have been with them for six records already and we have just extended that. It's a positive thing for us, you know everyone and you find people there who work for the band. At the part where we're at starting over new would be out of neccesity. If they didn't want us back we probably would have done something like that and make the best of it but as far as independent labels, you can compare them to a small business and the major labels as a corporation. They're just more powerful.
Allschools: Do you have a certain amount of records that you have to do with Sony Epic?
Dean: At this point we're not really thinking about that we're just taking it from album to album. Because you could have a band that has a four record deal and they write a crappy record and they get dropped and don't have any more records to do so it's more about what's immediately in front of us.

Allschools: Whats your opinion toward music streaming services like Spotify?
Dean: I think at this time you don't really make money by it but it's all about promotion and people hearing your records. And that's a good thing.
Allschools: And less people download your music illegally.
Dean: Yes, right. And even then, it's been like that since I got into business. You know, Gene Simmons said that rock is dead and I think that this is just not on line. It's just that someone isn't able to pay the 4 million Dollar payment on their house but that's not what it's about. At the end of the day it's about people connecting to music and lyrics and how it applies to their lives. So I don't see it as a negative, I think it's getting better.

Allschools: Imagine one of your fans doesn't have any money and would download your newest record illegally, would you be bothered by that?
Dean: No!
Allschools: Because you want them to be able to listen to your music?
Dean: Yes, it's the system you know? There's that old saying "don't hate the player hate the game" so that applies to this.

Allschools: Is the recent record always the best one? Because most of the bands that I ask say that their newest record is the best because they always try to improve from the record before.
Dean: I guess it's a good thing if you can say that because it means that you are improving but I don't think that you can always say that. I can think of bands that I was in before that I remember the previous things that we put out were better. I'd say the most succesful record for CHEVELLE was actually "Wonder What's Next" which was the first record on Sony. It's still by far a bigger sale than anything we've done after that but when it comes to composition I don't see anything better than the last one. But that could really be because it's fresh and new. And everytime we have new stuff that we can add to the setlist and people get excited about it we also get excited.

Allschools: What is your least favourite song to play live?
Dean: Honestly I don't have one.
Allschools: You like all of them?
Dean: Well, we all watch our backs and we just don't play things that we can't stand. I can not speak for the other guys but I think that for some of the songs on #1 they maybe wish to be able to go back and do a little better. Maybe that's the thinking behind that.

Allschools: Alright, to close this up I have some sentences for you to complete:

While being on tour I really miss...
Dean:I'll say I miss my truck. That's good.

If I would only be allowed to listen to one band for the rest of my life I'd choose...
Dean:I'd have to say Led Zeppelin.

In one year CHEVELLE will be...
Dean: One year older (smiling)

When I'm seventy years old I'd like to...
Dean: Still be playing hockey.

The show tonight will be...
Dean: Epic!

Allschools: Well I guess those are the perfect last words! Thank you very much for taking the time!