Hard Rock Trio Chevelle Returns to Cincinnati This Week

The band's Dec. 12 concert at Bogart's will be one of its final dates with bassist Dean Bernardini

click to enlarge Chevelle - Christian Lantry
Christian Lantry
Chevelle
It's been said many times, particularly by me in these pages, that Rock & Roll makes strange bedfellows. One sterling example would be trio Chevelle, initially a band of brothers from metropolitan Chicago whose personal faith rarely leaks over into their musical presentation. Still, their 1998 demo release led to them signing with contemporary Christian label Squint Entertainment. And their first official album, 1999's Point #1, was recorded by noted indie noisemonger Steve Albini. That's a whole lot of strange in one futon.

Chevelle was formed in 1995 by fledgling guitarist Pete Loeffler with his brother Sam on drums and youngest brother Joe joining on bass soon after. After winning a pair of Dove Awards (Christian music’s Grammys), Chevelle toured strenuously for over a year with the likes of Powerman 5000 and Sevendust, but lost their label when Squint was shuttered in 2001. It was a mixed blessing, as being on the label had pushed the group into a “Christian Rock” corner they didn’t identify with. The band showcased and received three offers, ultimately choosing Epic Records. Chevelle’s major-label debut, 2002's Wonder What's Next, spawned their No. 1 Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock single “Send the Pain Below.” Chevelle's follow-up, 2004's This Type of Thinking (Could Do Is In), cracked the top 10 of the Billboard 200.

Before the band toured Wonder What's Next, Joe Loeffler was either fired from the band (his story) or voluntarily left (according to his brothers' official statement) and was replaced on the road by Filter bassist Geno Lenardo. In 2006, Chevelle welcomed old friend and brother-in-law Dean Bernardini as their new bassist and recorded, Vena Sera, which just missed Billboard's top 10; their next album, 2009's Sci Fi Crimes, hit No. 3.

After 2014's La Gargola, Chevelle veered into heavier, denser sonic territory with 2016's The North Corridor, which was followed by last year's place-holding 12 Bloody Spies, a B-sides/rarities collection. The band may be entering another transitional phase with the September announcement that Bernardini is planning to stop touring for a while after the December run of shows. Does this set the stage for Joe Loeffler's return or will Chevelle find new “vena sera” for their next chapter? Stay tuned.

Chevelle plays Bogart's on Thursday, Dec. 12 for WEBN's "Eggnog Social." Convey and The Band Royale will also perform. Tickets/more show info: bogarts.com.

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