Get Revved About Ritalin, Ashlee And Stripping On 'TRL'
If Chevelle are anything like the A-Team's Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith — who loved it when a plan came together — the brothers Loeffler must be elated. Their third album, This Type of Thinking Could Do Us In, developed precisely as predicted.
"We knew exactly what we wanted to do," drummer Sam Loeffler boasted. "We knew exactly what we wanted to record. We pretty much knew where we wanted to record it. We did preproduction in our own studio, then went out to L.A. and did all the music parts, then went back to our studio to cut the vocals. Not only did we have an idea of what sound we were going for, we knew how we wanted to do it."
To achieve the desired effect of a lower, more brooding sound, it wouldn't suffice for guitarist/singer Pete Loeffler to simply downtune his instrument like most bands. Instead, he used a special baritone guitar with thicker strings — including one meant for a bass — and a longer neck.
"For the whole record, I used just the one guitar," Pete said proudly.
The band hopes This Type of Thinking Could Do Us In, due September 21, will allow the brothers to resume the success they enjoyed with its predecessor, 2002's Wonder What's Next, which has sold more than 1.2 million copies, according to SoundScan (see "Chevelle Singer Hates 'Idol' So Much He Wrote A Song About It"). Considering the sudden popularity of the album's first single, "Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)," it's on course to do so.
" 'Vitamin R' is the street name for Ritalin used by the people who abuse it," Sam explained. "I had a buddy who was on it. He did so much of it — he didn't need it, but he took advantage of it and was hooked on it. He couldn't sleep. He couldn't focus at all, which is the opposite effect it's supposed to [have].
"People can definitely benefit from some drugs, but I'm not sure I agree with giving kids, who are wild anyway, Ritalin," he added, justifying the song as a testament to our pill-for-everything culture. "How do you diagnose that one kid's more hyper than another? Maybe they just had more sugar that day?"
While the song is popping all over rock radio — rising with a bullet on three different charts and being among the tunes most added to nationwide radio playlists — the hard-rocking Chevelle are close to touching upon crossover status.
"I don't want to be top 40," Pete said.
"I don't want to be in the same category as Ashlee Simpson," Sam simultaneously contended.
"I don't look down on any bands that do it," Pete explained. "That's just not where we need to be."
Should Chevelle find themselves unlikely pop stars and wind up on "TRL," however, they've got a plan for that, too, though it probably won't go over as well with the masses as their new album.
"I'd strip," Sam said, matter-of-factly. "I'd have to. I'd have no choice."
Track list for This Type of Thinking Could Do Us In, according to Chevelle's publicist: