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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Switchfoot is rocking out and going strong

    Press Photo

    A band’s longevity is always questionable in today’s turnover-happy music industry. Unless an artist or band has created a definitive or ravenous fan base, it’s just a matter of time before its clock runs out.

    But that’s not necessarily the case for Switchfoot. The Grammy-winning San Diego-based rock act has kept its nose to the grindstone for nearly 17 years with the band’s members largely running the show on their own accord.

    “We learned a long time ago to not wait until somebody gives you a deadline to make an album, so we just start recording and writing and working on songs on tour,” drummer Chad Butler said.
    The band’s had a lot to show for that kind of work ethic. Switchfoot has released eight albums since its inception, almost endlessly touring after each release. What’s most notable is the band’s last five years, and the three albums it released in that period, have been free and clear of a major label. There’s really no hard feelings, however, as Butler feels that being on a major label is almost a necessity at some point.

    “I think you go through seasons where it makes sense to partner with a group of people that believe in your music,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have a group of people that will come and see us regardless of what group of people we’re working with.”

    Switchfoot’s fan base is exceptionally devoted, as the band’s Christian alignment has garnered them both critical attention and a Grammy Award for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album. It’s a wide range that speaks volumes of the squeaky clean image that Switchfoot has come to be known for. It’s worked for the band, though, as it always seemed to straddle the line between rock juggernaut and gospel preachiness.

    Maybe it’s the fact that Switchfoot’s fans are devoted to the band itself and the messages it spreads, but there’s no denying that the amount of charitable work that the band and its fans engage in is nothing short of admirable. Acts bigger than Switchfoot should take notes from the band that devotes its time and efforts to organizations such as Invisible Children, To Write Love on Her Arms and Habitat For Humanity, among others.

    “We’ve been given a platform where we can shine the spotlight on deserving organizations that are trying to help and offer hope, and that’s important,” Butler said. “Our audience is filled with really great, compassionate people, and we’re just trying to connect them, to give them an opportunity to get their hands dirty.”

    Regardless of where you stand on Switchfoot and its views, the band is still a group of like-minded, compassionate surfers who found success with an infectious and driving sound that’s been all their own for close to 20 years. The band is soon releasing a behind-the-scenes documentary that highlights both Switchfoot’s backstage camaraderie and the surfing they get to do across the world. For Butler, work and play are the same thing, but Switchfoot’s approach seems to be a bit more warmhearted than most. “The amazing thing about playing music for a living is that it doesn’t seem like work,” he said. “As an artist, you’re always most excited about your latest creation, and we love creating.”

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow K.C. @KristianCLibman.

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