Switchfoot surfs through Columbia

Switchfoot surfs through Columbia

The popular Christian rock band will stop by The Blue Note on Thursday.

By Megan Suddarth

Published April 20, 2012

Avid surfers, the Christian rock band Switchfoot got its name from a surfing technique: “Switchfoot” is when you change your feet on the board and place your left foot forward instead of your right. But instead of hanging 10, the San Diego, Calif. band hangs five with Jon and Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley. Only two of them are actual brothers, but in Drew’s eyes, they all are.

“It’s a band that’s kind of rare,” Shirley says. “(It) started with brothers, but we really do kind of have this feel of kind of being brothers in a band. It’s kind of like a family band in a way because we all feel like brothers.”

Switchfoot is in the process of filming a documentary, and people will get to see behind the scenes of the band’s tours and even a few surfing tips from the California natives. While on tour, the five members will be writing the music to go along with it, and it will be released as their next CD, the soundtrack to the movie.

“We’re visiting a whole bunch of surf destinations around the world,” Shirley says. “It’s kind of a dream come true to make a surf film. It’s going to be a documentary, as well about the history of the band, what it’s like on tour, behind the scenes, how we write music, how we record music and all that.”

Switchfoot brings more than just music to a stage. They also bring a message.

“Our faith is a part of who we are,” Shirley says. “It affects the way we see the world, of course, because it’s who we are. When we play shows, we’re musicians and we’re expressing songs about what we think. So, what we hope comes across is honesty.”

Shirley feels that as a band, honesty is what grabs the audience the most and is the key ingredient to a great song.

“The best songs are the most honest songs, I believe,” Shirley says. “The way Jon writes songs connected to what he believes is very unique and very transparent. And so, we hope that people just catch a glimpse of the vision of the song and the honesty in the song and whatever it’s talking about.”

“Dark Horses” is one Shirley’s favorite songs to perform for audiences. Written about the homeless youth of San Diego, Shirley connects with this song because he sometimes feels like a dark horse himself in that he may not be as good as those around him. He feels that the song is easily relatable for many in the world.

“It’s a song about the underdog,” Shirley says. “When we’re playing that song, we’re helping the audiences feeling hope. We’re bringing hope to the hopeless.”

Switchfoot is impacting people throughout the world. Recently, the band met a soldier about to deploy to Afghanistan, and they decided to sit and talk and play some songs for the young soldier as a sendoff and thank you.

“We were walking to our bus and he asked to play us an acoustic song,” Shirley says. “So, we all just sat there and heard his story, and then Jon played a couple of acoustic songs out on the street right in front of our bus for him as a sort of sendoff.”

Switchfoot plays at The Blue Note with The Rocket Summer opening at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $22.

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