Sharks, Snowfall, Angels: Chevelle’s Take On Ritalin Haze

Band launches club tour this weekend; full-scale national trek begins in October.

The title of Chevelle’s new album, This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), is intended to encourage fans to get out and see the world, to avoid the kind of attitude that comes from sitting around at home. However, they can’t promise you’ll like what you find — especially in bathrooms.

“It’s kind of weird that [much of] the world hasn’t developed modern-day plumbing,” said drummer Sam Loeffler. “They have credit cards and all that, but they don’t have regular toilets.”

Luckily, observations like this aren’t particularly prevalent on Chevelle’s new record. There are plenty of songs about death, drug abuse and vengeance, and lots of low-end guitar work. It’s a focused, pummeling attack on the senses, which is exactly what the band of brothers — Sam, singer Pete and bassist Joe — had in mind when they made it.

“We wanted a heavier record. A lot of double-kick [drums], more of a vibe you can bob your head to,” Pete said.

“It’s the same record [as Chevelle's 2002 album, Wonder What's Next] in that we’re still a melodic heavy band, but it got a lot heavier,” Sam said. “That’s what we were looking for” (see “Chevelle Get Revved About Ritalin, Ashlee And Stripping On ‘TRL’ “ ).

A rare instance of subtlety on the album is the first single, “Vitamin R (Leading Us Along).” Over loud/soft guitar dynamics, Pete sings a cautionary tale about the abuse of the prescription drug Ritalin.

“I had a buddy that was on it. He abused it and it made him crazy,” Pete said. “He forged a bunch of prescriptions, got a bunch of it and snorted it. He mixed it with paint thinner and huffed it up. He’d drive around looking for one particular song on the radio, but he’d never find it.”

The video for the song aims to capture the chemically induced haze that goes along with the drug. Directed by Nathan “Karma” Cox — who’s worked with Static-X and Korn — the clip is chock-full of stream-of-consciousness imagery (random sharks, snowfall and angels) and was filmed slightly out-of-focus to give it a dull, drugged-out look. And then, just for good measure, Pete levitates down a hallway.

“They hooked me into a harness. They showed it to me and I couldn’t believe that I had to put it under my tight jeans,” he said. “I had two stunt men pulling on it and it squeezed my b—-. But I got to float around like in ‘The Matrix.’ ”

“The whole video was about not being focused,” Sam said. “At the end, it just shows [Pete] sitting in an office, kind of daydreaming. The video is arty and hard to understand, which is kind of what we were going for.”

Chevelle’s tour plans are a bit clearer. They’ll hit the road for a string of shows at smaller venues starting September 19 in Louisville, Kentucky, with Strata opening at a few select concerts. A full-scale tour is scheduled to begin October 16 in Washington, D.C.

“One of the coolest things we’ve [heard] from people is that it’s like a real rock show,” Sam said. “It’s just straight-up rock music. That’s what we love to do and that’s what we plan to do again. People will be able to jump around with us again.”

Chevelle tour dates, according to the band’s publicist:

  • 9/22 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Northstar

  • 9/24 – Cleveland, OH @ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • 9/25 – Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
  • 9/27 – Chicago, IL @ CRC Studios
  • 9/29 – Minneapolis, MN @ Ascot Room
  • 10/16 – Washington, DC @ The National Mall (DC-101 Chili Cook-off)
  • 10/21 – Fort Myers, FL @ Germain Arena (WJBX 99X Fest)
  • 10/22 – Orlando, FL @ Tinker Field (WJRR Real Rock Relief concert)
  • 10/23 – Miami, FL @ Bayfront Park Amphitheatre (94.9 Zeta Halloweenie Roast)
  • 10/24 – Jacksonville, FL @ Metropolitan Park (94.9 Planetfest)
  • 10/30 – Houston, TX @ C.W. Mitchell Pavilion (94.5 BuzzFest)
  • 10/31 – Little Rock, AR @ Alltel Arena (100.3 Monster Ball)