I Swear It Wasn't Me, Man. This Kind of Thing Only Happens To Me.
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Friday, January 28, 2000.
House of Blues, Chicago, IL.
Author: Shaun Reinert
I had been a fan of Anthrax since I saw the video for ‘Only’ on Headbanger’s Ball when I was 12, I went out and bought Sound of White Noise (on cassette) and it remains, to this day, my favorite album in their catalog.
But this story isn’t about Anthrax, they’re merely the backdrop, this story is about the opening band from the evening, a band that (at the time) I’d never heard of before, a local band called…. Chevelle.
At this time, I was 18 years old, and only a regular concert goer for about six months. I went to the Metro for the first time in June of 99, Ozzfest that summer, and a bunch of club shows at the Riv, the Vic and the House of Blues, but I was still relatively new to concert going at this point, and seeing any new (to me) band, was exciting, I was hooked on the live experience (I still am) and I was taking in as much live music as I could (I still do). I was pressed up on the rail, because this was my 2nd time seeing Anthrax, and I wanted to be up front for it.
The lights dimmed, and the curtain parted, and there was Chevelle. Again, I must stress, this is January of 2000, so they are young (I think they’re around my age, maybe a year or two older) and relatively unknown outside of here, but hey! A band from Chicago, opening up for one of my favorite bands ever? Who can’t feel that? The answer is a bunch of people, and I’ll explain how this awesome night went into the crapper (and fast!)
During Chevelle’s set, a few, or perhaps more than a few, people decided to themselves “hey, this isn’t the band I came to see and therefore I don’t like this.” Soon enough, I started to see items flying from the crowd, towards the band. Something hits and the unmistakable sound of a coin hitting the floor can be heard. Not just once, either, it’s constant. I see things hitting the bass player, the drummer and the guy singing, Pete Loeffler, who I noticed was getting visibly upset. Coins hit his guitar, his face and his hands, and he does not enjoy any of that to say the least.
The set continued, and the pelting did not let up. To Chevelle’s credit, they didn’t stop the set, but they were definitely getting pissed. The set couldn’t have been that long, maybe 30 minutes, but to me, it felt like an eternity, and I’m sure it did to them as well. I was looking up at Pete, seeing his anger growing, and for some reason, he is fixated directly on me. I have theorized that whoever it was throwing things must’ve been either right behind me, or nearby, because what happened next is another shining example of “this only happens to me.”
The set ends, and the curtains close. A millisecond after the curtains close, they quickly part, because who comes storming out, but Pete Loeffler, and who’s he looking for? Of course, it’s me. He hops down off the stage and comes over and gets right up in my face. The barricade is between us, but he’s determined to give me a piece of his mind.
Let me again say, this was nineteen years ago, so the back and forth exchange is pretty much lost to time, but it went along the lines of Pete saying something like “dude, what the hell is your problem?” I told him that it was not me, but he didn’t believe me. To get closer, he stepped up on that part of the barricade bouncers and security use when dealing with crowd surfers, now he’s over me, looking down on me, and he is fuming, again, he poses the question “what the hell is your problem?” I again tell him that wasn’t me, but he still isn’t believing me. We exchanged insults back and forth for about a minute, I again made my position clear “I swear it wasn’t me man” and it became clear nothing but words were going to be traded. I’m not really a fighter (especially when I didn’t do anything), and I don’t know about him, but he looked ready, so I guess it could have come to that, but it didn’t.
Eventually, Pete hurled one last insult in my direction, hopped off the barricade and made his way back stage, thus ending our social engagement. He was still noticeably pretty upset as he walked away. This is the one and only time I’ve ever seen Chevelle, and this incident put me off from listening to them ever since.
The rest of the evening was fine, although, had an air of weirdness about it. The middle band was called Fu Manchu and I remember them being ok, no one threw anything at them, so that was a plus, and Anthrax came out and SLAYED. John Bush was still singing for them then, and they were awesome. A friend of mine got thrown out for having a camera on him (which he was able to pass to another friend, so security didn't find it, but tossed him anyway), this was way before the "tag us on Instagram" days of concert going, cameras were a definite no-no back then.
I’ve told this story many times to friends, people at concerts I’ve met wearing Chevelle shirts, or anyone who casually mentions they like the band to me, hell, I even told it on stage when I used to do stand up. At my day job, we had an IT consultant last year that upon talking to him for a while, is named Loeffler, too, he’s Pete, Sam and Joe’s other brother. I told him this story and he said “yeah, I could see him doing that.” In hindsight, I understand completely. At the time though, I did not.
Many people have told me I need to give it up, to not be angry about this anymore. I’m really not, truthfully, I actually find this kinda funny now, considering how the next 20 years of my life have played out and how the live music environment has been such a big part of it. But also, people have told me to listen to Chevelle, because I’m told they have some good stuff, and sure, I guess that’s true, I just haven’t done that yet.
Also, my hope is that this piece finds its way to Pete Loeffler himself, to see if he remembers this. I was at a festival in Wisconsin a couple years ago called Sonic Boom, I was there working with Nonpoint and Chevelle was playing the same day, so I went looking for him, hoping to tell him this myself, but to no avail, I couldn’t find him that day.
I’m pretty sure he won’t remember, but if he does, again (and for the last time), I swear it wasn’t me, man.