MPR: Chevelle has been around for 15 years now, when you first started did you ever think you’d be at this point today?
Sam: Not exactly, you can’t really plan for things to work out. But you know, when you’re a musician and a writer you do it because you love it, because it’s your art, you don’t really think about that kind of process of being able to pay your mortgage and things like that, you do it cause you love it and it works out how it works out.
MPR: Not many bands can stay together that long, not only that, but keep getting better and better. What do you guys do to keep yourselves evolving and improving with each album.
Sam: Well, I appreciate you saying we’re getting better!
MPR: That was a compliment by the way!
Sam: No I didn’t take it that way, it’s good. As writers, cause we write everything ourselves of course, you want people to think your songs are evolving and changing. A big part of it I think is knowing your catalog. At this point I think we’ve published probably 90 something songs, maybe 100 songs, and you never want to write the same song twice. So that’s a big part of it, knowing your catalog and trying to do something different. It’s still the same genre, cause that’s what inspires us. So, I dunno if Pete’s love songs record is gonna come out anytime soon.
MPR: That’d be interesting
Sam: It would be
MPR: You guys keep it in the family as well, a lot of people can’t even stand their relatives for 20 minutes, never mind living and working together. How do you stay sane and continue getting along on the road?
Sam: That’s a good question, I think the biggest part of it is being professional and treating your bandmates like co-workers in a professional setting. You have to not let the little things bother you. At the same time we are very close, we still hang out all the time together. You have to know your boundaries. If you know there’s a button, you don’t press it. The longer you can get along, the longer you can be in your band. We’ve seen so many times bands just break up cause they can’t work together, they don’t wanna be in the same room together. I’ve seen that happen to band after band that can’t keep going because of that. And that’s a really silly reason, cause people have to go to work every day. They have to work with people they don’t like every day, that happens. Fortunately we do like each other though.
MPR: I actually saw you pretty recently on a boat. What did the band think of Shiprocked?
Sam: That’s funny.. Shiprocked was a lot of fun, but it’s sort of like the concert equivalent of Chuck-E-Cheese if you have that there. Because there’s not really a good infrastructure for having a concert. In the daytime it’s outside by the pool and it’s kinda weird. But the experience is good cause people are there cause they wanna be there and they’re very rock oriented kinda partygoers, so the experience is really fun, I’m just not sure what the concert experience is like, I’m not sure if it’s good cause I haven’t seen it from that perspective. We actually had to leave the boat immediately after our show was done cause we weren’t going on the cruise, we were just doing the first day, and that was an endeavor all in itself.
MPR: Yeah getting all of the equipment on the boat just for one day is a lot of work
Sam: Totally, and we got off that night and we had to get cards that said you were out of the country and then they scan it and it’s for immigration. And I had immigration call my phone like two hours after we had left the boat asking if I was still on the boat. I don’t know how they got my phone number.
MPR: That’s kinda creepy.
Sam: It was totally totally one of those things that we don’t know how the government works.
MPR: Aside from all of that annoying stuff, is it something that you think you’d go back and do the full cruise now that you know what to expect, or are you guys gonna stay away from boats for a while?
Sam: Um I would probably do it, yeah. I”m just not crazy about boats, that’s not because of the boat or the water or anything, I just don’t know that I’d wanna be captive on a boat for 4 days, same as I wouldn’t wanna live on an island. But other than that I mean, yeah. We’d do it again, it’s fun.
MPR: From a fan’s perspective I think it’s awesome, the atmosphere at the shows is amazing.
Sam: That’s good to hear from your perspective.
MPR: Your set on there was basically hit after hit, now that you’ve got so many singles, are there any songs that you miss playing live?
Sam: Yeah. lots of songs. And it’s hard cause you really have to balance between songs that people wanna hear and sing along to, and then there’s a lot of songs that we’ve written that we really love that were not hits or maybe they’re not as popular, so I dunno. We usually do like 16 or 17 songs and out of those we do 8-10 number one rock songs and then the rest of them are just tracks that we wanna play and it’s hard cause you get that really great response from people where they’re jumping up and down cause it’s a song they know, and then you play a song where it’s a really deep cut and only maybe a third of the crowd knows it. They kind of give you that look, like a little dog that hears a weird sound and turns their head. That’s not really necessarily a fun thing, to have people not knowing what’s going on. Cause you lose the crowd then. But you have to do what’s good for you and good for the show, it’s a balancing act.
MPR: Quite a few bands have been choosing a city and then playing through each of their albums in their entirety for a few nights, is that something that you’d ever consider doing?
Sam: Absolutely! I think that’s a lot of fun. I know I heard that Korn is doing, I think they’re doing their first record right now.
MPR: Yep! They’re definitely gonna be doing it at your show in Arizona in a couple weeks.
Sam: As a fan, that’s a really cool thing for me to experience. I’m looking forward to it. I might have to change my flight home actually to make sure I can hang out. I think that’s something that we’ve been talking about too, like doing the whole Wonder What’s Next record or something like that, that would be the record that people would know the most.
MPR: Are there any songs on there that you’ve never played live before that you’d have to go back and rehearse?
Sam: We’d definitely have to go back and rehearse, I think we’ve played all those songs live before though. But we always rehearse a few weeks before a show anyway.
MPR: I’m sure you’ve heard this a lot, but it’s pretty rare to see a trio in rock these days. Have you ever considered adding another guitarist to the band?
Sam: Yeah we have, cause Pete spends so much time behind the microphone that the stage becomes sort of stagnant. I know Pete’s talked before and said it would be really amazing to have a few songs where I’m able to run around a little bit and interact with people, so he’s brought it up a few times and we’ve had a few people in mind that would work pretty well with our band to come out and play. So I think what would happen if we did it is it would be people from other bands, friends of ours and stuff that are just filling in. That would be a good experience for us and I think it’d be a good experience as a fan to see a guitarist that you like from another band coming up to do some songs with us. We have gotten some bad responses before where people said the show wasn’t very exciting cause Pete was at the mic the whole time and they’re like, oh well I liked this other band they were way more exciting. Well surprise, the singer has nothing but a microphone in his hand. You’ve gotta compare apples to apples.
MPR: It’s been a year now since your latest album was released, have you already begun working on new material or are you planning on staying on the road for a couple more years in support of La Gargola?
Sam: Both. We’re always writing, we’ve got 3 songs written for this next record so far, and about 100 ideas, which some are crap. Some are good. We’ll just kinda leaf through them. But we have this tour coming up with The Used in May and then we’re in Germany in June and we have a lot of one-offs and two-offs and things like that coming up as well, so we have to keep writing and working all the time, but we also want to be out on the road and enjoying that part as well.
MPR: The first single from that album, “Take out the Gunman” has really powerful lyrics. Were you trying to make a statement on that one.
Sam: Yeah, the song itself was about the medias responsibility in those kinds of situations. I mean they have responsibilities in every situation, but it was really about the government perpetuating the gun violence by concentrating on it, you know, and making it sort of a way out for somebody to I dunno, make a name for themselves or whatever. It’s about the responsibility. It’s definitely something that’s a common statement, it’s well known, but at the end of the day you have news channels, they’re really about the ratings, so they want something people are gonna watch.
MPR: Just a few random questions and then I’ll let ya go. If a movie were made about your life, who would play you?
Sam: About my life? That’d be a short movie. Who would play me… Maybe.. that is a really difficult question. Maybe the kid that plays Pedro.
MPR: I can see the resemblance there!
MPR: What would the title of the movie be?
Sam: Samuel has problems.
MPR: And finally, if you could be a fly on the wall in any room for a day, where would you go?
Sam: It would have to be the oval office or something like that so I can actually hear what’s happening. Which would probably be very very disappointing because there’s probably nothing happening.
Check out getmorechevelle.com to find out when the band will be playing near you, and stay tuned for tons of photos from their performance at Tempe, AZ's Pot of Gold Music Festival on March 17th which you can buy tickets for at: http://potofgoldaz.com