Alt/rock band Switchfoot to play at NCC
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media May 10, 2012 4:26PM
♦ May 20
♦ Residence Hall/Recreation Center, 440 S. Brainard St., Naperville
♦ Tickets, $30
♦ (630) 637-7469
When the band Switchfoot goes on tour, they like to surf. So much so, in fact, that they are filming their various surfing exploits for a future documentary.
Hate to break it to them, but surfing might be hard to come by in Illinois.
They can find out for themselves when the alternative rock band puts on the first concert in North Central College’s Residence Hall/Recreation Center at 6 p.m. May 20.
San Diego brothers Jon and Tim Foreman formed Switchfoot in 1996. They found mainstream success in 2003 with the hit single “Meant to Live,” from its major-label debut album, the double platinum “The Beautiful Letdown.”
One year earlier, four of their songs were on the soundtrack for the movie, “A Walk to Remember.”
Switchfoot went on to record the Grammy Award-winning album “Hello Hurricane” in 2009, followed two years later by “Vice Verses.” The album peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Top 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart.
Drummer Chad Butler was able to talk recently about the tour, the band’s longevity, its charity work and surfing.
“We are on this tour right now and really just enjoying playing songs off the new record, ‘Vice Verses,’” he said. “It’s been really exciting for us. We’re able to mix up the set list; each night. It’s a different show.”
For a band that’s been around eight albums, it’s a challenge to make a set list each night, he said. “We’ve been able to pull out some songs from the first few records and dust those off,” he said. “It’s been an interesting set list each night. Something old and something new at the same time.”
The new songs off ‘Vice Verses’ have been the motivator for the tour, he said.
“When we were making the record, we really had the live show in mind,” he said. “It’s a very rhythmic record. As a drummer, it’s been a whole new challenge to interpret the songs in the live show.”
This record, he said, is different thematically than previous works.
“It’s about the contrasts of life — the light and the dark, the joy and the pain, and the tension of living in between,” he said. “Musically, we wanted to match the intensity of some of the lyrics.”
The songs “Dark Horses” is about homeless children the band met in their hometown of San Diego.
“That intensity of the lyric is something we wanted to match with the lyric,” he said. “We worked for a long time re-writing and re-working that song. Ultimately you want to tell a story and the music presents itself in the best way possible. It’s a record of passion and for us to be able to hear people singing it every night, that’s the reward.”
He acknowledges that Switchfoot is the rare band that stays together for eight albums, and says they don’t take it for granted. They are childhood friends brought together by their mutual love of surfing.
“This year we’re actually filming a movie called ‘Fading West,’ as we travel around the world playing music and surfing in different spots,” he said. “Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, New Zealand – places like that. I think even after the band’s over, we’ll be sitting on a beach years from now talking about our adventures together.”
Switchfoot puts on an annual charity event called the Bro-Am. It’s a surfing contest and concert benefitting StandUp For Kids, a national nonprofit volunteer outreach organization founded in San Diego that is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of at-risk and homeless children.
“If you have a vacation, come out to San Diego and be a part of the fun,” he said.
Expect a sweaty rock show, he said.
“My favorite part of the night is seeing people of very diverse backgrounds singing together,” he said. “Those moments are powerful when music unites people and brings them together like that.”