Chevelle have had a seemingly successful run as a hit-making rock band for roughly 20 years, but frontman Pete Loeffler says they “haven’t made any money” from career sales of six million albums. When you factor in a cost of about $10 per album, that’s around $60 million in gross sales, apparently none of which has made it to the band’s pockets.
In a damning account of the record industry, Loeffler opened up about Chevelle’s finances in an interview with The KiddChris Show on Cincinnati’s WEBN radio (as transcribed by Blabbermouth).
Chevelle, whose recently released ninth album, NIRATIAS, fulfills their longterm contract with Epic Records, are now free agents, but according to Loeffler, the band is wary about entering any new record deals.
“Contracts are a bitch, and we’ve signed some raw ones,” said the singer-guitarist. “And we need to start trying to make some money off of our catalog, which is 10 albums deep, plus all the side stuff. We haven’t made any money off of record sales, album sales. It’s all gone to the major labels. A lot of people make money off of us; we just don’t make money the way the deals are structured. We just aren’t excited to get back into any kind of contract. So if we find a new home at a new label, wherever it is, it’s gotta be a special deal where you get something for your hard work.’
He added, “It would be nice to do something different and actually make a buck off of an album for once; it just hasn’t happened for us. We’ve sold six million albums for Epic Records, and they’ve made $50 million. It’s lopsided.”
Loeffler went on to compare the situation to that of comedian Dave Chappelle, who brought up the issue of compensation when his Comedy Central program Chappelle’s Show appeared on Netflix without his knowledge
“And the artist — just like Dave Chappelle said, he knows he signed a deal with for Chappelle’s Show long ago, and it’s a raw deal,” continued Loeffler. “It went to someone else, and they can put it on any platform they want, whether it’s Netflix or HBO or whatever, and he went to them and said, ‘Look, I know I did that, but it’s wrong — it’s still wrong. You need to compensate the artist.’ And that’s kind of where we’re ending up, too. It’s a bad business model for the artist.”
As far as whether the band would consider signing with Epic again, Loeffler remarked, “The fact of the matter is when you sign a record deal with a major, they own it for, like, 20-something years. We said, ‘We’d re-sign with you if you just sent some of it through the pipeline to us.’ All the profits, they’re keeping everything. ‘And if you just send a little bit through, maybe we can talk about this, [about] continuing on.’ I mean, there’s some good people at Epic. And then, in a lot of ways, we feel burned.”
Chevelle’s NIRATIAS just debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart, breaking a three-week streak of no new albums cracking the Top 10. In addition, the LP’s first single, “Self destructor”, has climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
Hear Pete Loeffler’s full interview on The KiddCriss Show below.