When bassist Joe Loeffler left Chevelle in 2005, brothers Pete (guitar, vocals) and Sam (drums) kept the group’s family vibe by inviting their brother-in-law Dean Bernardini to join them. According to Sam, the change in lineup made a world of difference when Chevelle went into the studio to record its latest CD, Vena Sera. Not only have the Loefflers and Bernardini been close friends since high school, but their new bassist is also a seasoned drummer. In fact, Sam cites him as his primary drumming inspiration.
“Dean has influenced every aspect of my drumming,” Sam confesses. “He has so many chops, and he’s a natural–on top of the fact that he’s worked hard to be amazing. I tell people that every good thing I’ve learned about drums, I learned from him.” Besides having Dean in the band to inspire and challenge him, Sam admits that the great relationship shared by the three musicians is “probably the biggest difference in the band. We hang out all the time, even when we’re not playing. To ask your best friend to play in your band and have it work out really well is a dream come true.”
With Chevelle on the road so much, Loeffler makes up for his dwindling practice time by studying rudiments with his drum tech, Mark Messina, while on tour. “Mark and I worked out a schedule of rudiments, and Dean also offered his input,” Sam explains. “I’ve really focused on those rudiments lately, and I was able to incorporate some of them–as well as different double bass drum patterns–on this record.”