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Customer Review
By Aimee-Paige (of The Fallout)
>>March 7th 2005
I have been a diehard Switchfoot fan for almost 4 years now. Switchfoot's driving melodies, amazing lyrics, and humble personalities have both inspired and moved me as I was growing into adulthood. As a member of the fan-community for three years, never before have I seen us so polarized until the release of Switchfoot's highly anticipated 5th album, "Nothing is Sound".

If you are a fan of the "Meant to Live" generation, you will not be disappointed by this album. In fact, "Nothing is Sound" serves as the perfect companion and sequel to 2003's "The Beautiful Letdown." However, if you're used to the variety and substance of their previous albums you may be let down. This album was written and recorded in full on the road, then tweaked, produced (overly so), and over-wrought in the studio after their tour ended. While each song packs a musical punch, the lyrics and the perfomances are somewhat lackluster.

"We Are One Tonight", Switchfoot's newest single, sings happily about the downfalls of the world and of human beings, but also of their coming together as one species through it all. While this could have easily been a theme for a song on any album, it is missing the personal, blue, poignant lyrics we are so used to from Jon Foreman. This seems to be the problem with most of the songs on the album: there's no Jon Foreman in them.

Jon Foreman himself would've told you a couple of years ago that he wrote songs for his own benefit, songs about his own hopes, losses, and failures. These songs turned out to be universal anthems for a generation of lonely kids across the country. I realize completely that not every emotion, feeling, and memory can be for sale, but Foreman really holds back on this release. On this album Jon seemed to notice that the entire world was listening, and contrived the kind of message he'd be proud to send. While this, in itself, is also's not as emotionally or spiritually profound as his previous writings and leaves something HUGE to be desired.

However this album is not without its bright spots. "Lonely Nation", with its driving guitars, angry lyrics, and a soulful performance by Jon Foreman is energetic and frenzied: a musical feast for the ears.
"The Fatal Wound" is the most bare-bones of the songs on the album, lightly produced and ambiguously written so that the audience may interpret its meaning.
"The Blues" is a surefire Switchfoot classic. It's somber melody and penetrating lyrics are what one comes to expect from Jon and Switchfoot, and delivers in full. It is probably the best song on the album.
And while it is disputed whether the recorded version of "Daisy" is better than its acoustic bootleg that has been floating around the internet since the winter of 2003, it is still a solid song with beautiful lyrics and a painfully haunting melody.

I am not reccommending that other diehards do not purchase this album (and in fact would not take on such a foolhardy task). It has its moments, but overall I am asking its audience to listen to it with a grain of salt. I will not be one to speculate that Switchfoot's glory days are over, but I will be one to point out their temporary insanity in contriving this collection of rock/pop syrup and glaze. Where is the angst? Where is the emotion? Where is Jon Foreman?

As for the DVD side of this dualdisc, many good times are had and shown throughout the 30 minutes of this lighthearted documentary. If you own either "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" or "Switchfootage", this DVD will proudly stand amongst your collection.
Rock band Switchfoot making new 'Sound'
By Deborah Evans Price
>>September 11th 2005
   When the singles "Meant to Live" and "Dare You to Move" exploded, propelling sales of 2003's "The Beautiful Letdown" past the 2 million mark, Switchfoot looked like rock music's latest overnight success story.

   In truth, the San Diego-based band had paid its dues, releasing three previous studio albums and touring relentlessly before achieving its multiplatinum status.

   The group hopes to continue that momentum with the September 13 release of "Nothing Is Sound," an ambitious effort fueled by lead vocalist/principal songwriter Jon Foreman's thought-provoking lyrics and the musical prowess of his brother, bassist Tim Foreman. Switchfoot is rounded out by drummer Chad Butler, guitarist Andrew Shirley and Jerome Fontamillas on guitar and keyboards.

   "Nothing Is Sound" came together while the band was touring to support "The Beautiful Letdown."

   "The trick was actually rehearsing and arranging and even recording parts of it on the road," Jon Foreman says. "It's a challenge because it's hard to remember where you put your wallet let alone your parts to a song."

   At each tour stop, Switchfoot would set up a second set of gear backstage and work on new material. "Every night you'd go out and get a chance to try out your new material," Foreman says. "You can look into (the audience's) eyes and know whether something is working or not."


   Foreman says he sees different places around the world when he hears the album. "I remember playing that one up in Canada," he says of "Happy Is a Yuppie Word," which was inspired by a Bob Dylan quote.

   He calls the band's success an "amazing gift." Yet Foreman admits that in some ways, "the last few years have been some of the most depressing moments of my life."

   "It's kind of a strange world where you're up onstage and 3,000 people are singing along, and it's really an intimate moment," he continues. "Then you say 'good night' and you're in the middle of a city where you know no one and you are completely alone. It's a strange, manic-depressive reality that ... has brought me to some new conclusions in my own life, and I guess for me, this album is simply writing about all these things as I'm learning them."

   First signed by acclaimed artist/producer Charlie Peacock to his Re:think label, Switchfoot debuted in 1997 with "The Legend of Chin" and began building a devoted fan base. Two more albums followed before the group inked a deal with Columbia, which led to the mass-market breakthrough for "The Beautiful Letdown."

   Foreman says he appreciates the early years and advises others to savor their climb up the ladder.

   "Enjoy the records you make on your own dime and enjoy the records that no one hears, the times when you play at your friend's apartment at 3 a.m. Who's to say that that's not going to be the best show you ever play? ... I look back on the early years and I'm just really thankful for all the lessons that I've learned."


   The new album will be promoted to general market and Christian outlets. Foreman hopes his music will be embraced without regard to categories: "To me, there's two groups of music: good music and bad music," he says.

   First single "Stars" is No. 20 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and No. 26 at Adult Top 40. It is accompanied by an innovative video.

   "We spent a whole night underwater playing rock 'n' roll," Foreman says of the clip, which was shot in a tank at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. "They sank the drums and put weights on our guitars and weights on our feet and had scuba gear down there and shot the video underwater."

   HBO has licensed "Stars," and it will be featured on HBO and Cinemax in a 90-second trailer that will air for 13 weeks.

   In keeping with the water theme, the weekend before street date, Switchfoot will play a free show on the Santa Monica (Calif.) Pier.

   "Nothing Is Sound" will be available as a DualDisc to all retailers. But Target customers will receive an exclusive bonus track, and Wal-Mart will offer a free song download.

   Foreman just hopes people like the new music. "We write music for thinking people," he says. "This album is a journey, exploring what it means to be human in a world that's upside down." Link to original article: 

MTV News
Switchfoot Look Like California Raisins After Video Shoot:
Group gets wrinkly fingers from being submerged for hours.
By Chris Harris
>>August 4th 2005

   It's a good thing the Switchfoot dudes are surf rats who totally dig the water, because the treatment for their video for "Stars," the first single from the upcoming Nothing Is Sound, is heavy on the wet stuff.

Frontman Jonathan Foreman seems to recall having at least a few misgivings about the concept,however, at some point between his fourth and fifth straight hours of submersion.

"It was like being on the moon because you've got these scuba divers lumbering past you and these speakers barking commands like, 'Can you turn the light to the left a little bit?' You can't see anything," he said of the clip. "It was very surreal. It was in the middle of the night, so it's like 3 a.m., and I'm thinking, 'What am I doing 20 feet [underwater] at the bottom of this pool?' "

   Thankfully, Foreman, his bass-playing brother, Tim, drummer Chad Butler and keyboardist Jerome Fontamillas survived the water-logged shoot with little more than a severe case of prune hands.

   "We were all trained as Navy SEALs before the video, so we all passed with flying colors,"
Butler joked as he described how a rainmaker device marinated the band with thousands of gallons of water. "We're personally responsible for the drought in California. It all ended up in our video."

   Foreman said Switchfoot chose to release "Stars" as Nothing Is Sound's leadoff single because they wanted to make something of a splash.

   "I'm a fan of a good guitar riff," he said. "My brother and I were in a Led Zeppelin cover band in junior high, and Led Zeppelin cover bands cover riffs. For me, 'Stars' is just a really great, hooky guitar riff, and it feels so good to play live. The song itself is about perspective, and I feel like this is an album that wants to step back from life and look at it objectively. The record's overarching lyrical inspiration would be one of attempting to be truly human in an upside-down world, where I feel like a lot of things are thrown at us, and it begins to be a real challenge to try and find your head and put it on right."

   Before Nothing Is Sound drops on September 13, Switchfoot plan to start previewing all of the disc's 12 tracks on their Web site, starting on September 1 with the record's first song, "Lonely Nation." A short snippet from each cut will be available over the course of those first 12 days of the month; they're calling it the Twelve Days of Switchfoot.

   Much of the album was written and recorded while Switchfoot were on tour, Foreman said, which let them test-drive the songs live and fine-tune them.

   "The biggest impact that recording the record on the road had was the idea of the instability you have on the road," Foreman said. "You can't remember where you put your keys or your wallet, let alone where the bridge of the song was going. It helped the record, and it gave us perspective because you'd come back to the song in a different city with a different frame of mind, and you could sort of get a bird's-eye view of it."

   "And you can't fake it live," said brother Tim. "You know if a song is working or not when you step onstage and play it."

   "In many ways, our crowds every night would help us produce the songs," Jon said. "You can tell. You look in their eyes and you can tell if a chorus is working or not."

   This fall, Switchfoot will head back on the road for a
U.S. headlining tour, but first they'll roll out a new project called Lowercase People, what Foreman called an "interactive online magazine for art, music, literature and international issues of social justice.

   "The things you find yourself talking about with your friends late at night — this new band, this book you just read, maybe something that's going on in Africa — and this will give you a chance to be part of a bigger community than just you and your buddies," he continued. "For us, it's an opportunity to give back to a lot of people who let us sleep on their floors or had given us a tank of gas when we needed it. There's a lot of incredible musicians, artists and writers who we look up to, and this is our chance to spotlight them and what's going on in Africa and India. It will give people a chance to see art truly interact with the world."

   A nonprofit component, a partnership with Geneva Global called the Lowercase People Justice Fund, will raise money for "selected indigenous communities around the world" and fund educational programs. Switchfoot recently visited several South African villages and recorded the Kuyasa Kids children's choir in Cape Town. The band plans to release it on CD and give all the profits to the kids' destitute community.

   "As a rock band, we're not overly idealistic about single-handedly changing the world," Tim Foreman said, "but we do know that people are listening to what we have to say ... so we want to use what platform we have been given to make a difference."

Link to original Article:

Alternative Addiction
Switchfoot To Release 'Nothing Is Sound'
By Chad
>>June 18th 2005

   San Diego rockers Switchfoot plan to release their brand new album "Nothing Is Sound" on September [13].  The first single from this highly anticipated new album is entitled "Stars", and will be hitting radio stations later this month.  The platinum-selling Christian band penned the songs for the fifth studio album during downtime on their recent headlining tour of North America.

   "We brought a practice rig with us on the road -- guitar amps the size of your head and this really tiny fake drum set," says frontman Jon Foreman. "We were backstage banging out new songs all day while we were waiting for sound check."

   Switchfoot wrote and recorded the basic tracks on computers and then sent them through cyberspace to producer John Fields, before putting the finishing touches on them in Foreman's garage back home in San Diego. The band debuted many of the new tunes live across America to gauge the response from fans. "It's kinda like what Cream and Led Zeppelin would do," Foreman says, "try out songs live and then they'd have their whole record done."

   According to Foreman, the album reflects the intensity of touring and the mindset of a band away from home for months at a time. "It's a rock record," he says. "My favorite rock records have been honest, where you feel them way deeper than your ears."

   The album's title comes from a line in the song "Happy Is a Yuppie Word," inspired by a Johnny Cash interview. "The interviewer asked Johnny Cash if he was happy in his life," Foreman says. "And he replied, 'Happy is a yuppie word.' Johnny Cash . . . what more can you say?"

MTV News
Switchfoot's New LP, Surf Contest, Affected By Instability
By Corey Moss
>>May 31st 2005 
   Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman once read an interview with Bob Dylan (or at least he's pretty sure it was Dylan) in which after being asked if he was happy, the singer responded, "Happy is a yuppie word."
   The quote inspired a song on the band's upcoming fifth studio album (titled "Happy Is a Yuppie Word") and ultimately the overall theme running through the record.
   "The lyric we chose for the title of the record [Nothing Is Sound] comes from the song," Foreman explained recently. "The world is at a very volatile stage, with war, how fast things are changing, but deeper than that, the idea that there is an instability within myself and humanity as a whole — that's where these songs are coming from. Maybe that has a lot to do with being on the road. Maybe staying in one place with a 9-to-5 job would make me less receptive."
   Switchfoot, whose The Beautiful Letdown was one of the surprise rock success stories of the past few years, wrote and recorded most of the follow-up on the road.
   "We wanted to release a record this summer, and we were trying to figure out when in the world we would have time to record it," Foreman said. "So we took out a second set of gear, tiny drums and amps, and set up in the dressing room every day and got songs ready. While the opening bands were playing, we were in some tiny room trying to make a record."
   Although not exactly ideal, there were some advantages. For instance, once a song was finished, Switchfoot would test it during their show that night.
   "A lot of times you know a song is good but not how it's going to translate live," Foreman said. "Something might be good in the studio, but you have to change a lot of things to make it work live — stretch this part out, shorten this out, whatever. These songs were developed for the live show. I've heard that's how, back in the day, whether it was Cream or whatever, that's how they used to do it."
   In the end, the band ended up recording portions of the album all around the world, from South Africa to Foreman's bedroom in San Diego. Producer John Fields (Andrew W.K.) oversaw the sessions and put them all together for Nothing Is Sound, due in July.
   "If you can combine the more-professional-sounding elements with the honesty of doing it yourself, those are the best records," Foreman said. "They're honest and pure but listenable."
   While Switchfoot made a lot of friends on tour behind The Beautiful Letdown, the new record features only one guest, former Jellyfish singer Andy Sturmer. "It's just a cool nod to someone I respect," Foreman said. "I love collaborations, but with this record, we felt between the five of us, we had what we needed and knew what we had to do."
   Lyrically, Foreman was certainly influenced by what felt like a never-ending tour, but it only came out vaguely in his words. "Hopefully you don't have to be a guy who is traveling on the road all the time to be able to relate," he said. "These are songs that are deeper than that, about simply humanity, rather than my humanity."
   Switchfoot have yet to select the first single but have narrowed it down to three.
   Meanwhile, the band just hosted its inaugural Switchfoot Bro-Am surf competition, a benefit for the nonprofit organization Care House, which aids homeless children and young mothers in San Diego.
Click for photos from the 2005 Switchfoot Bro-Am.)
   "Not many people know this, but Switchfoot is a surfing term," Foreman said. "It means to put a different foot forward than you normally would. It's one of those moves where back in the '70s it meant something, but it's become less and less used. [Requiring the move] made the contest lighthearted and leveled the playing field. It's like throwing left-handed if you're right-handed. So you'd have a pro kill it on his first wave and then get a one or two [score] on going goofy."
   The highlight for Foreman was surfing on the same team as legend Tom Curren, whose band also played with Switchfoot the same night.
   "It's hard to explain what that means to a kid like myself," Foreman said. "He is the godfather of modern surfing. To be able to hang out with him all day and to play music with him that night, I was impressed and depressed. Not only is he better on the board, he's possibly better on the guitar too. It's not fair!"
Surfing Magazine
Switchfoot's Bro-Am contest keeps everyone in step...
By Evan Slater
>>May 15th 2005
   It’s so much easier to love a band when they’re playing for all the right reasons. And as if you didn’t already know the San Diego-based rock quintet Switchfoot were worthy of your ears, you now have another reason to keep them cranking in your Ipod.
   Always looking for ways to give back, hardcore surfers and original Switchfoot members Jon and Tim Foreman and Chad Butler decided to start a fun, grass-roots, team contest with one obvious twist: each teammate has to ride at least one wave switch during his heat.
   The name of the contest? The Switchfoot Bro-Am. And the result this past Saturday at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas was sometimes unsightly, other times hilarious and occasionally mind-blowing as Tom Curren, Ben Bourgeois, local pros and plenty of other supporters did their best to put their “other” foot forward. Even better: all proceeds from the event went to The Care House, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving homeless teens and troubled youth throughout San Diego County.
   In fun, chest-high peaks the final came down to two young-but-feisty squads: the smack-talking Team Jet Pilot (headed by Taylor Knox’s little brother, Adam, and Nico Becerra) and Surf Ride (headlined by mysto switchfoot maestro Derek Balcomen). The format seemed tailor-made for Balcomen, a 6’2” goofyfoot who shreds a 5’5” 50/50 waveskate and pulls off “switch” airs and backside 360s with ease. His ambidextrous ripping proved to be enough as he quieted the rallying Jet Pilot team halfway through the final.
    That night, during a special, competitors-only concert at the La Paloma Theater, Tom Curren got the crowd going with his folksy, feel-good tunes. Then the headliners came up, the surfing musicians who continue to make the world a better place. “I just want to let you know,” said Jon, before belting into the crowd favorite, “Meant to Live.” “This isn’t about us; it’s about you guys. It’s about doing things as a community. Thanks for helping us make it happen.”
San Diego City Beat Magazine
Switchfoot lives up to the name
by Scoop Stevens
>>May 12th 2005
   The shaggy sandy-blonde boys in Switchfoot grew up in Encinitas and, like all good, beach-living kids, loved to surf. But they haven’t had too many chances to meld the music with the sport. Now, however, it looks like they’re taking a page outta the Jack Johnson playbook.
   After two years of pop-world domination, the group is living up to their surfy name and giving back to the city that bred them by hosting the “Switchfoot Bro-Am” on May 14. The surfing competition benefits Care House, an organization that helps homeless kids in San Diego.
   “The band has developed a relationship with these kids over the past three years,” said Angelica Cobb, a spokesperson with Foot’s record label, CBS. “Through the group’s relationship with Care Kids, they’ve become more educated about the homeless situation in San Diego. Cobb said there are roughly 3,000 homeless people younger than 18 countywide.
   At 7 a.m., the first of 16 teams will hit the water at Encinitas Moonlight Beach, and the band has planned a range of activities for CareKids.
   “With Bro-Am, the band just wanted to create a great day at the beach for these kids, give them clothes and shoes and provide fun activities like surfing and guitar lessons,” Cobb explained.
   While the public can watch the wave action from shore, the band’s concert at the La Paloma Theatre that evening will be by invitation only, with the audience made up of event participants and Care House kids.
   In related news, those fans who were responsible for the 2 million copies Switchfoot sold of their 2003 album, The Beautiful Letdown, may be motivated to buy a second copy soon. The disc has just been released in DualDisc format (CD on one side, DVD on the other) with 5.1 surround sound, videos, a making-of documentary and bonus songs. The band’s two hit singles—“Dare You to Move” and “Meant to Live”—were certified both gold and platinum.
Rolling Stone Magazine
Switchfoot Do "Nothing" - California rockers readying new album, hosting benefit
by Kerry L. Smith
>>May 5th 2005
   Switchfoot will release their fifth studio album, Nothing Is Sound, in July. The platinum-selling Christian rockers penned the songs during downtime on their recent headlining tour of North America.

   "We brought a practice rig with us on the road -- guitar amps the size of your head and this really tiny fake drum set," says frontman Jon Foreman. "We were backstage banging out new songs all day while we were waiting for sound check."

   Switchfoot wrote and recorded the basic tracks on computers and then sent them through cyberspace to producer John Fields, before putting the finishing touches on them in Foreman's garage back home in San Diego. The band debuted many of the new tunes live across America to gauge the response from fans. "It's kinda like what Cream and Led Zeppelin would do," Foreman says, "try out songs live and then they'd have their whole record done."

   According to Foreman, the album reflects the intensity of touring and the mindset of a band away from home for months at a time. "It's a rock record," he says. "My favorite rock records have been honest, where you feel them way deeper than your ears."

   The album's title comes from a line in the song "Happy Is a Yuppie Word," inspired by a Johnny Cash interview. "The interviewer asked Johnny Cash if he was happy in his life," Foreman says. "And he replied, 'Happy is a yuppie word.' Johnny Cash . . . what more can you say?"

   In the midst of both touring and recording, Switchfoot found the time to organize a benefit around their favorite pastime: surfing. On May 14th, the band will host -- and take part in -- the first-annual Bro-Am competition, held on Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California. Proceeds will benefit Care House, a non-profit organization that aids homeless children and young mothers in the San Diego community. "There are gonna be pros and not-so-pros," Foreman says, "but our slogan is 'more bro than pro.'"

   On that night, Switchfoot will play a show at La Paloma Theater, where Foreman spent many nights as a youth viewing surf films and attending shows, and where Switchfoot played their first-ever CD release party. "This is where I saw all the punk bands I grew up listening to," he says. "It's a really special place for us."

Switchfoot Surf Event Benefits Homeless Children
>>Tuesday, April 05, 2005
   Multi-platinum California rock act Switchfoot-named after a surfing technique-will host the Switchfoot Bro-Am, a surf contest/concert event at Moonlight Beach in San Diego, on May 14, 2005, to raise money for Care House, an organization serving homeless kids there in the band's hometown.
   Best known for national hits "Meant To Live" and "Dare You To Move" from its current album, THE BEAUTIFUL LETDOWN, Switchfoot collectively stated, "Surfing and music have occupied most of our lives...introduced us to our dreams, our friends, and most of our favorite places. The support that we've received from the music scene and the surfing community over the years has been simply amazing. So we've dreamed up a way to give back to the San Diego community that has given us so much."
   A strongly promoted local event, the Switchfoot Bro-Am will be held from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm and is raising Care House funds via public awareness and surfing contest entry fees ($500 per four-member team) that include 12 tickets to a Switchfoot concert and Bro-Am awards ceremony later that same evening. The concert will be exclusively held for Bro-Am contestants, radio contest winners, and Care House kids.
   Throughout the day, the Switchfoot Bro-Am sponsors will give homeless kids a great day at the beach, providing free shoes and clothes, surf lessons and INT foam boards, Taylor guitars and guitar lessons, and most of all: a chance to dream. "The biggest thing that we can do for these kids is to show them that they are important and needed and loved," the band says.


TeenPeople Magazine
Switchfoot Ride A Wave...And They're Hangin' 10
by Dana Meltzer
>>January 3rd 2005
   Switchfoot are living the dream of every high school garage band, in every town in America. These San Diego rockers-- singer Jon Foreman, bassist Tim Foreman, drummer Chad Butler and keyboardist Jerome Fontamillas--started playing together after class and before graduation, signed their first deal with a small indie label. Eight years later, their hard-rocking hit, "Meant to Live," the first single from their [fourth] album, The Beautiful Letdown, is topping the Billboard and Top 20 list on MTV. Now Switchfoot (whose name was inspired by a surfing term), are hanging ten on a national 28-date tour. After a sound check in Orem, Utah, Tim Foreman took a break to talk to TEENPEOPLE.COM about sunny California, bad hair days, and high school hijinks.

Meant to Live Means....
"There's got to be something bigger than all of this...that desire that you're searching for something more. All of these songs are written to inspire changes in our own lives."

Music Therapy
"For me, music was a huge thing growing up. It helped me through a lot of hard times and, if our music can do that for other people, that's just an amazing thing."

School of Rock
"My brother Jon and I always played music together. Our first show was when our rock band, Etc., played at a school dance. I talked the school board into paying us $500. Our friends were excited and everyone had a good time. But I think I'd be unrealistic if I said that we actually sounded good."

Clique Here
To an outside observer, I was definitely part of the surfer crowd. But I had nerdy friends and I was probably nerdy. I never committed to a clique because I always really had a rebellion towards boxes and boundaries. I didn't want to ostracize people and be in just one group.
Worst Haircut
"I had the total surfer cut in ninth grade. It was parted on the side, really long on one side and short on the other. It looks like a wave breaking over your head. At the time, I thought that it was ultra-cool. Then, in tenth and eleventh grade, I tried to find those pictures and hide them."

Embarrassing Moment
"I did an entire presentation in my Economics class with my zipper down. My buddies in the back of the class signaled to me. I think maybe five or six people noticed it, which means that within a few days everybody knew about it."

"During my senior year, we signed a record deal with Rethink in Nashville. Our first record came out four days after I graduated from high school. That was pretty intense. A couple of weeks after graduation, we were on the road in Europe."

Time Machine
"What I know now that I didn't know then is that I don't know anything at all. I mean that. The older I get the more I realize that I've got a lot to learn. In high school, I was probably more confident than I should have been. I thought I had a lot more things figured out than I really did."

All About Switchfoot

by Kelly R.

>>December 17th 2004


   We’ve all heard their songs on the radio; “Dare You To Move” and “Meant To Live” have been playing over and over again on radio stations nationwide. These two songs are inspirational, urging the listener to search for a purpose in life. Many of us know the Christian pop/rock group Switchfoot because of these two songs, but many people don't know where they came from, how they got started, or what inspires them to make the music that inspires us.

   Tim Foreman (bass and vocals), Jon Foreman (vocals, guitar), and Chad Butler (drums) all grew up together on the beaches of sunny San Diego; they enjoyed surfing like any other California kids and occasionally competed in surfing competitions. However, surfing was not the only thing that tied them together: they were all connected through a shared religion, and their dads were all preachers in the same church. The boys have always had a big interest in music as well, and their belief in God had inspired them to start writing positive music for their generation. 

  Jon Foreman had some simple recording equipment in his bedroom, and this is where the group decided to get together to create their first official recordings. That same demo tape recorded in Jon’s bedroom made its way to EMI music and Switchfoot was signed. Soon after the signing, Jeromo Fontimillas (guitar, keyboard, vocals) joined the group, completing the lineup we all know today.

   But why the name Switchfoot you ask? Well, in surfing, “switchfoot” is the term used to describe the act of switching feet on a surfboard. Since most of the members of Switchfoot grew up surfing, they thought that this was the best name for their group.

   After being singed to EMI, Switchfoot toured the USA and the world. Word quickly spread about the San Diego natives blend of pop/rock, and they found themselves a legion of fans the world over. With their new found fame and fans, the boys got a chance to share their positive message with thousands of teens.

   To date, Switchfoot has sold over 400,000 copies of their first three albums combined, which is quite the accomplishment for a band driven on music rather than image.


   Switchfoot's fourth album The Beautiful Letdown has been certified double platinum and continues to generate impressive sales, and Switchfoot play an average of 150 shows per year. Tim Foreman has said that with The Beautiful Letdown, "Their future begins." Shortly after recording The Beautiful Letdown, Switchfoot signed with Columbia.

   All the songs on The Beautiful Letdown were inspired by the band's real life experiences--things that they were taught in their respective parent’s church and daily life.

   Tim Foreman also stated that the biggest goal of the band is to "Explore the world in which we live and challenge people to live better lives." The band collectively hopes to challenge teens to go out in the world and make a difference.


   Switchfoot believes that there is nothing better than having a fan come tell them what a difference a song has made in their life. One time during a radio show someone even called in saying they wanted to commit suicide but their song “Meant to Live” challenged him to continue on with his life and not to give up so easily--stories like this one challenge Switchfoot to continue on making good music for their young fans.

   Switchfoot is a great group to listen to, especially in the complicated world we live in today. Make sure to pick up a copy of The Beautiful Letdown the next time you go to your local music store. You will not be disappointed.

Riding The Wave
by Rei Nishimoto

>> Early Spring 2004


For Switchfoot’s Jerome Fontamillas, it’s supportive Filipino parents and surfing that helped land him in rock stardom... 

   Finding success is sometimes a wave away... Just ask San Diego-based Switchfoot: during this past year they were presented with many big opportunities and a big climb up the status ladder. The quartet started as friends who loved music as much as their other big love: surfing. They named the band after a surfing move, and the rest is history.

   Their latest CD, The Beautiful Letdown, took off faster than they ever expected. Tours around the world, strong airplay on radio, and a growing fanbase kept them going, and the venture kept them going.

   This past year saw bigger opportunities for Switchfoot. On top of playing to bigger crowds, they also earned a platinum-status CD, along with television appearances on late night television shows, and meeting some of their heroes, including Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Bono of U2.

   Despite their move up from the clubs to larger-sized venues, Switchfoot prefers playing to an intimate crowd, where they do not want to lose touch with their core audience. “The best shows we’ve done,” says keyboardist/guitarist Jerome Fontamillas, “are in a small, sweaty rock club. We could see it gradually getting bigger and it’s been exciting. But we always look fondly at the times where we play in a small rock club. Playing in front of a bigger audience is also great. Crowds singing along to the songs from the radio--you’re like ‘wow! How do they know all the lyrics?’ But it’s been awesome.”

   Their appearance on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” was a memorable experience. “Oh man...[O’Brien] looked taller in person!” he recalled. “He’s a giant. But he’s a really cool guy. After we played, he picked up the guitar and started messing around. He’s a good guitar player. But he’s relaxed and calm.”

   One of their bigger fans is Mandy Moore, the high-profile actress/singer, who they also collaborated with on a song. “They put in four or five songs [in A Walk To Remember]. We met her on a few occasions. She’s really nice. I think she was a fan before we met her,” explains Fontamillas.

   Being the “new” guy in Switchfoot, he had been mutual friends with the members and has witnessed the evolution before joining in 2000. “It’s...weird!” he says. “We’ve been given this opportunity to play in front of all of these people. We all look at it as getting the best job in the world--performing in front of people. We just consider ourselves lucky. The past four years I’ve been with them, the growth has been substantial. The older you get, the more life experience you go through. It’s great because we’re a tight-knit group. We’re very close friends.”

   Fontamillas joined Switchfoot in 2000 as a session player on the band’s independently released Learning To Breathe album, after his previous band Fold Zandura broke up. He was a bass player, but switched to playing keyboards and guitar in Switchfoot, which were both what he originally began playing. “[Switchfoot] didn’t need a bass player,” he explained. “My main instrument is the keyboards. That’s probably my best instrument, but I love playing the bass and guitar. Luckily, I get an opportunity to play keyboards and guitar with Switchfoot, which is a lot more fun.”

   Upon the first time Fontamillas joined the band, the Foreman brothers--vocalist/guitarist Jon and bassist Tim--had the ability to write deep and meaningful lyrics left a lasting impression. But it was the song “Dare You To Move” that drew him in.

   “When I joined four years ago,” he remembers, “they already had ‘Dare You To Move.’ I liked the music that’s coming out of this band. Four years later, that song’s on this album and it’s still as powerful as it was when I first joined the band.”

   For Fontamillas, his musical training came at an early age. “My parents forced me to play the piano at a young age. I didn’t really like it, but the older I got, it started to grow on me,” he said. “I started picking up the bass and guitar in late high school. It was the cool thing to do at the time.”

   But unlike many strict Filipino or Asian families, his family was supportive toward his decision to make music his career. “You know what a pain that all Asian kids have to go through!” he laughs, when remembering this defining moment. “Lucky for me, my parents have been very supportive. Obviously, they’ve had their concerns. With Asian families, they want to make sure your life is stable--being a musician, you’re living on the edge. But they supported me. They wouldn’t kick me out of the house. My parents wanted me to stay with them for as long as I can. In that sense, they really didn’t understand the dedication that had to happen, but they trusted my decision is what I wanted to do.

   “It’s paying off now because we’re doing pretty well. They’re finally seeing the wider vision that I’ve been trying to express to them a long time ago. Asian parents--they’re in their own world! It’s hard for them to see outside the bubble.”

   Finally, one aspect Fontamillas is slowly learning is that the rest of the band has mastered the art of surfing. The band members, when they are home, are found frequenting the various beaches in the North Coastal areas of San Diego. Being that he, admittedly, is not quite at the same level as his bandmates, he boldly shared the secrets that he learned about how to surf.

   “90% of surfing is paddling,” he reveals. “The key is you have to have good upper body strength. My first time surfing, it tired me out paddling through these waves. But if you could just learn to paddle, you’ve got 90% of it! Getting out isn’t that hard. Paddling is all that you do.”

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