Chevelle plays Lollapalooza Aug. 2 as well as other upcoming shows. Courtesy of Trish Badger/@trishbadger

Chevelle plays Lollapalooza Aug. 2 as well as other upcoming shows. - Courtesy of Trish Badger/@trishbadger

Chevelle singer reflects on playing Lollapalooza, growing up in Grayslake

Lollapalooza marks a big part of a busy summer at home for the Grayslake natives of Chevelle.

The hard rock group will get an early start on Lollapalooza weekend with an appearance Thursday night at the Revolution Brewing Brewpub to promote the band’s collaboration with the local brewer on La Gargola Helles Lager before performing at 5:45 p.m. Friday at Lollapalooza.

Being part of the festivities brings singer/guitarist Pete Loeffler full circle following formative experiences as a fan during Lolla’s initial run as a touring festival in the early ’90s.

“I think I went to the first three. I’ve been to a few other ones along the way too but those three were massive. I got to see Pearl Jam tell everybody from the lawn to come in (to the pavilion),” said Loeffler, recalling Lollapalooza’s 1992 tour stop in Tinley Park at what was then The World Music Theatre. “I saw Trent Reznor throw Richard Patrick from Filter off the stage. Just a ton of great memories,” Loeffler recalled of Lolla’s 1991 debut.

Traveling the country in the ’90s, Lollapalooza delivered cutting edge alternative artists such as Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers alongside rap act Ice Cube, goth rockers Siouxsie & The Banshees, funk legend George Clinton and many more.

Chevelle’s Pete Loeffler grew up in Grayslake and attended the first three Lollapalooza festivals. The band plays the massive music fest on Aug. 2. - Associated Press, 2018
Chevelle’s Pete Loeffler grew up in Grayslake and attended the first three Lollapalooza festivals. The band plays the massive music fest on Aug. 2. – Associated Press, 2018

Now in its 15th year as a destination festival in downtown Chicago, Lollapalooza remains a diverse musical experience. Headlining acts include reunited indie rockers The Strokes and electronic dance duo The Chainsmokers Thursday, psychedelic rockers Tame Impala and actor/musician Donald Glover in his guise as Childish Gambino Friday, electropop pairing Twenty One Pilots Saturday and pop star Ariana Grande Sunday.

“You never knew what you were going to see. In many ways, I guess it’s still like that. It was just the most exciting thing for a young teen like me,” said Loeffler, citing Friday’s Bring Me the Horizon performance as one he’s particularly excited to see this year.

Growing up in the suburbs, music and skateboarding loomed large over Loeffler brothers Pete and Sam as they fought off boredom and started to find their musical identity.

“That was our punk phase. We were listening to a lot of The Minutemen and Dead Kennedys. The Misfits and stuff like that. We were skaters. So that aspect of being out in the burbs, you had so much space. I always had a ramp in my driveway. The burbs can be boring so we had to make our own fun,” Loeffler explained, claiming that, thanks to the brothers’ antics, skateboarding was banned from uptown Grayslake. “I always watched skate videos and I learned a lot about music from what was played in those skateboard videos. It shaped a lot of our style at the time.”

This year marks 20 years since the band’s debut album “Point #1.” Today, Pete and Sam (drums) are joined by Dean Bernardini on bass. Staring down the band’s 25th anniversary next year, the trio began sessions for a 10th studio album in Los Angeles with producer Joe Bareesi.

“It has not gotten easier to make myself happy. So it’s been a harder road to write this album. I’ve written about 18 or 19 demos and a whole bunch of other songs that we haven’t demo-ed yet. Joe Bareesi’s been pushing us for the last six months to top ourselves, and that’s a really hard struggle for me this far in. But I think it’s worked,” said Loeffler. “We’re taking a little more time to do this one. I think it’s going to be like three years between albums. Hopefully I can get my point across more by taking the extra time.”

Chevelle plays Lollapalooza Aug. 2 as well as other upcoming shows. - Courtesy of Steve Thrasher/@stvthrasher
Chevelle plays Lollapalooza Aug. 2 as well as other upcoming shows. – Courtesy of Steve Thrasher/@stvthrasher

Following the Lollapalooza appearance, Chevelle is scheduled to return to the suburbs on Sept. 4 at Tinley Park’s Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre alongside Three Days Grace and Breaking Benjamin.

Returning home for a performance is always a unique experience for Loeffler.

“There’s a little more stress because you have more of your friends and family there, but it’s also the best. Because right when you’re done, it’s just a massive party backstage. Everybody’s happy,” Loeffler said. “I’m definitely planning on performing a new song or two. I’m hoping at least one new track.”

Most rock bands don’t reach 25 years and 10 studio albums. With new music on the horizon, the challenge is in how to push forward without looking back. But celebrating Chevelle’s legacy through new music and a number of area appearances this summer has Loeffler excited.

“I never expected to be doing it this long. I never thought that far in advance. I do not like going backward. I don’t like thinking about when we first started and the mistakes we made along the way — because we made a lot. We had to move on and learn and grow,” said Loeffler.

“I’m just grateful to still be making music and touring. This is the 10th full-length album I’ve written for Chevelle. There’s huge gratitude but there’s also a sense that if you don’t do something different and better and new this time around, I don’t know if there’s gonna be an 11th. I don’t even try to figure it out. This is where we are right now. We’ve started the 10th record and I’m happy.”

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Where to see Chevelle

• 9 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Aug. 1. Chevelle will be on hand to promote its first craft beer collaboration with Revolution Brewing. The La Gargola Helles Lager Launch Party will be at Revolution Brewing Brewpub, 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. Free. revbrew.com.

• 5:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park. See lollapalooza.com for prices and ticket options.

• 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, 19100 Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park. See livenation.com for ticket information.