Switchfoot

  • Alternative rock/Christian rock band formed in 1996 from San Diego California. The members of the band are Jon Foreman (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Foreman (bass guitar, backing vocals), Chad Butler (drums), Jerome Fontamillas (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), and Drew Shirley (guitar, backing vocals).
  • The Foreman brothers and Butler started the group, using the name Chin Up. After just a few performances, an independent record label signed them, and they changed their name to Switchfoot. The name is derived from a surfing term – they had been surfing all their lives, and they liked the imagery of the name, taking a different stance, a different approach to music and life.
  • From 1997 to 2000, 3 albums were released by the group. While the group considered themselves alt rockers, their songs had positive messages that were embraced by the Contemporary Christian music scene. As such, their label promoted them to that genre, and not to the broader rock & roll world. Two of the albums charted on the Christian albums chart, with Learning To Breathe gaining a nomination for a Grammy for Best Rock Gospel Album.
  • Their music was featured prominently in the 2002 film A Walk To Remember. In the movie, Mandy Moore sang their song Only Hope, and 3 other Switchfoot songs were featured. This exposure led to interest by national record labels, and they signed a national contract.
  • Fontamillas had been touring with the group since 2000, and he officially joined the band that year. Fontamillas brought a more layered, synthesizer sound to the band. Their major label debut, The Beautiful Letdown, was released in 2003. Their new label promoted the album broadly, and it was successful. Two singles – Meant To Live and Dare You To Move – broke into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, and top 10 on the Alternative Songs chart. The album was certified double platinum, and it generated 4 Dove Awards (awarded for outstanding achievements in Christian music), including Artist of the Year. The album topped the Christian Albums chart – their first of 6 albums to reach #1.
  • In 2005, Shirley was brought into the band, after touring with the band for 2 years. They released their next album that year, Nothing Is Sound. It debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The single Stars reached #16 on the Alternative Songs chart, and the song We Are One Tonight peaked at #11 on the Christian Songs chart. The following year, they released Oh! Gravity., with 3 songs charting on the Christian Songs chart.
  • The band wanted more control of their direction, so in 2007 they severed ties with their record company, and they created their own independent label. Jon Foreman released 4 acoustic EPs, 6 songs on each, named for each season of the year, from November 2007 to June 2008. The band toured to raise money for Habitat For Humanity.
  • Under their independent label, Switchfoot released 3 studio albums, 2 live albums and 8 EPs between 2008 and 2014. The studio albums all charted in the top 5 of the Alternative Albums, Rock Albums and Christian Albums charts. Twenty songs from these albums charted on the Christian Songs chart. The album Hello Hurricane won a Grammy award for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album.
  • Their most recent album, Where The Light Shines Through, was released by a national record label in 2016. After their tour to support the album, in late 2017 they announced that they were going on hiatus. On September 22, 2018, they announced that the hiatus is over, and their latest tour begins on September 30.
  • It’s interesting to me that Switchfoot is so closely aligned to Contemporary Christian music. The lyrics rarely make mention of Jesus or the basic tenets of Christian beliefs. That said, they say that they have a lot to say about life, and they do so from a Christian perspective. Personally, I see them as a modern alt rock group.
  • Here is the video to their hit Dare You To Move.

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