Switchfoot Takes A Breather

Besides cranking out some of the most vibrant, intelligent, and creative sounds in modern Christian rock, these three California boys are just as passionate about the art of surfing. Acaza.com couldn't dream of a better fit for its extreme music and sports site than the band known as Switchfoot. Besides cranking out some of the most vibrant, intelligent, and creative sounds in modern Christian rock, these three California boys (brothers Jon and Tim Foreman on vocals/guitar and bass respectively and drummer Chad Butler) are also just as passionate about the art of surfing. And we're not talking about maneuvering through TV channels or the Internet.

In 1997, Switchfoot debuted with The Legend of Chin, a post-high school album that gelled together a jazzy rhythm section with tastefully distorted guitars and playful lyrics about love, education, and faith. 1999 saw the release of New Way To Be Human, a righteous pop nugget that doubled the sales of Chin and was fueled by kick-out jams, the Philosophy courses Jon Foreman had been taking at college, and a clever title track video that wrapped up with a Mission Impossible spoof. Along the way, the band has made fans left and right, touring on the weekends and whenever school's not in session, and getting its songs played on several Fox and Warner Brothers network shows.

acaza.com: Chad, your band has released two great albums, toured the country, and even had a bit part in a Jason Priestley made-for-TV movie. What would you say has been Switchfoot's career highlight thus far?

Butler: We still have fond memories of the first answering machine message we received from Charlie Peacock (the band?s producer who has recently worked with Audio Adrenaline and The Normals) after he heard our demo. His role as a mentor to us has been a major highlight ever since.

acaza.com: When you debuted, everyone made a big deal about how you guys all like to surf. Are you still into that? If so, what's new for you in that area, and are you getting into any other extreme sports lately?

Butler: Surfing is definitely still a passion of ours! We don't get to spend as much time in the ocean as we'd like, but that makes us appreciate it even more. The only other extreme sport would be cross-country driving. We have logged some extreme mileage this last year while on tour.

acaza.com: Switchfoot's web site (www.switchfoot.com) is so well done and acknowledged by Christian music industry people as one of the best in the business. Did you guys design it yourselves? Are you all computer geniuses?

Butler: Tim is a Computer Science major at the University of California, San Diego. He has a knack for that technical stuff.

acaza.com: Give us a sneak preview of your Learning To Breathe album. Who are the producers? How does this project differ from the first two records?

Butler: We coaxed Charlie Peacock into producing five songs. San Francisco's multi-talented Jacquire King produced and engineered five more, and we produced the last song. In preparation for this recording, we set up in a spare bedroom and played the new songs for a couple months as a three-piece, so Learning To Breathe really captures that band energy.

acaza.com: If it's true that the life of a musician is often turbulent and unpredictable, to counter that, what has been your greatest spiritual stronghold over the past few years?

Butler: Daily spending time in God's word and investing in fellowship with close friends who pray together and keep each other accountable. The song "Learning to Breathe" speaks of spiritual growth in the atmosphere of God's grace. All of our lives are turbulent and unpredictable at times, and in the midst of those situations God is sufficient for our weaknesses. We are learning to recognize that and live courageously.

acaza.com: What are some goals you have for the rest of your life beyond music?

Butler: I want to raise a family, learn Korean, and master golf. I also want to write a book trying to explain the thrill of surfing to those who have never had the opportunity to surf.

acaza.com: What's the best movie you've seen this year?

Butler: Changes (a surfing documentary)

acaza.com: What's the best album you've bought this year?

Butler: The Buena Vista Social Club (critically acclaimed album of lively Cuban/World music performed by older players, one in his 90s)

acaza.com:If Switchfoot had to work its way into the cast of a television show, past or present, what show would it be?

Butler: "Gilligan's Island"

acaza.com: Favorite city:

Butler: Cardiff by the Sea, CA

acaza.com: Favorite book:

Butler: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

acaza.com: Favorite Bible verse:

Butler: 1 Corinthians 2:9 ("No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." NIV)

acaza.com: Favorite band or singer:

Butler: Stevie Wonder

acaza.com: Breakfast cereal of choice:

Butler: Frosted Mini Wheats

acaza.com: Best thing about summer:

Butler: Long days and warm ocean water

acaza.com: Name a cheesy pop song you've secretly enjoyed:

Butler: "That's The Way It Is" by Celine Dion

acaza.com: Pre-concert ritual:

Butler: Stretching

acaza.com: Tour plans for new album:

Butler: To go around the world in eighty days (or so...)

acaza.com: Clothing brand you'd endorse if asked:

Butler: Redsand (cool threads and even cooler people)

acaza.com: Missing talent you wish you had:

Butler: To play the vibraphone

acaza.com: First job you had:

Butler: Butler: Clerk at a surf shop

acaza.com: Plane, train, car, boat, bike, foot, or board--name your favorite method of travel:

Butler: How I wish there was a Transcontinental Waterway across the U.S. We'd tour on motorized surfboards.

acaza.com: Most original thought you've had this year:

Butler: May the best of the past be the worst of the future.

by David Schrader
July 24, 2000 Acaza.com