By June 30, 2015 Read More →

Catching Up With Switchfoot

Catching Up with Switchfoot
By Efren Martinez

We’ve all been enjoying Switchfoot’s music since before they were known as Switchfoot. Back in 1996, they called themselves Chin Up. Since then, the Grammy Award winning band has had more than a successful career, with world-wide recognition and a giving heart that is as huge as their accomplishments. Just recently I spoke with Drew Shirley by phone to bring you this Switchfoot interview.

MV: So Drew, what have you all been up to since your last LP and film, Fading West?

DS: We’ve been touring a lot. In fact we’ve done a great deal of international touring. We just got back from Europe, India and Australia.

MV: How did that go? Did you run into any surprises?

DS: We did, ya know we’ve never played in India before, so that was a real different thing. We found the audiences to be totally ready for us. People were pretty crazy with excitement, it was like an early punk rock show in Southern California. Delightfully, we found India to be filled with beautiful people and the country was just so interesting and different from the US. It was pretty to fun to play for an audience that’s so far away and that has never seen you play, but knows all the words to your songs.

MV: Your charity work has been widely recognized with the Bro-Am Surf Contest and Concert. Can you tell us a little about that?

DS: We started the Bro-Am Surf Contest 11 years ago with the idea to help kids join the two causes of music and Rock & Roll together. We had no idea that it would become such a huge thing. The San Diego community has really taken a hold of it, and has made it what it is today, which is over ten thousand who attend each event! It’s a festival. How it works is that all the bands and vendors donate their time, and it’s all for the Bro-Am foundation. Thus far we’ve raised over a million dollars that’s benefited several San Diego based children’s charities. Some of the recipients that benefit from The Bro-Am Foundation would be the youth scholarship program for music, music rehabilitation, stopping youth homelessness, and we also help programs that give music lesson for kids who can’t afford them. So ya, it centers around kids and in fact a lot of our audiences are really young, so we knew that we had to center it around them, the kids and our heart is for that.

MV: I imagine all of you are fathers and there are so many wonderful charities out there to choose from that benefit kids. Was there a personal life changing experience on how and why Switchfoot decided to create The Bro-Am Foundation?

DS Ya, absolutely. Everyone in the band has children, although when we started The Bro-Am; only one of us did. So it really has to do with our hearts for the city we live in, and the kids that are around in this area. I’ve lived here for over 30 years, so I’ve witnessed many of our charitable programs getting cut, especially our music program to the point where they were almost all gone. Music kept all of us in the band out of trouble. It’s been therapy, counseling and it’s been a way to make great friends and also make a living. We want to give that gift to other kids and try to help them with what we have. So I’d say the real reason is for the love of children, they’ve always been in our hearts.

MV: What’s the feel from all of you in the band on your upcoming summer tour; the “Tour De Compadres” that starts on July 9th in San Francisco?

DS: We’re excited about this, we will be out touring with some friends of ours, a band called Need To Breath, Colony House & Drew Holcomb is also on the bill. We’ve been wanting to tour with them for a while, but timing hadn’t worked out in the past till now. We have been friends with Need to Breath for a long time, so when they approached us to do a tour, we said of course, we’d love to look into that, it would be a great fit so that’s how the Tour De Comprades played out.

MV: Word has it that lead singer Jon Foreman is putting out a 4 EP concept project over the rest of the year. Can you tell me how that’s been going?

DS: Jon has a solo EP coming out and the band loves it, and is in full support of it. None of us played on it, it’s something that he’s done mostly on his own that he’s collaborated with some outside producers and musicians. It’s just another facet of Swithfoot. A lot of the songs…Ya know I guess we joke around like one of the best compliments and also the worst compliments is “Hey that song was really good. Maybe you should put it on your solo album.” So there are so many songs that Jon has written that we’d like to see make the light of day. We want them to be heard. It’s really great material, so he just decided to do a solo release of 4 EP’s that will come out over the span of this year. These songs are easier to digest I’d say, as listeners. A lot of these songs we’ve played around with them in the studio for a bit, but we’ve decided it’d be best to not include them in a Switchfoot album, but maybe they could go on a Jon Foreman solo album. So it really works out for everyone, especially the listeners who might not ever have had a chance to hear so many of these great songs Jon keeps cranking out.

MV: Any chance we might be able to hear any of them during the “Tour De Compadres” tour or is that still up in the air?

DS: Ya, that’s still up in the air. Ya know, we don’t really make our set list until right before the show. But what he does a lot of is what he calls an aftershow. An aftershow is basically once the whole gig is over, he’ll take an acoustic guitar and send out a tweet or go outside the bus or a little store front and or wherever he feels comfortable to play a lot of his solo material.

MV: On July 9th the band will be in concert at The Masonic in San Francisco. What message would you like to send out to your fans who will be attending that show?

DS: We bring our whole heart into the show. Our band is one of those bands that loves to play live. We love playing these songs together. We’re blessed that we actually like each other and our music, so there are not any songs that we’re like bummed that we have to play. But every show is different; there is an element of surprise because our singer Jon Foreman will change the songs, change the set list a lot of times at our big shows depending if someone yells out a song or if we just feel like playing a different song at any given time to give our fans what they want. We don’t use any tracks, so we can play anything we want. Of course knowing the song always is better, it’s always a fun surprise. Of course Jon jumps into the crowd and runs around so it’s really an interactive experience for us and our fans. In fact our big thing at our shows is communication with the audience, like I said, Jon has been known to jump into the crowd and that’s really memorable because it breaks down that barrier between performer and audience, we really are all in this together.

Efren Martinez

Switchfoot Live In San Francisco!
July 9 The Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco
Tickets here

Band Members
Jon Foreman
Tim Foreman
Chad Butler
Jerome Fontamillas
Drew Shirley

San Diego


More info here on The Bro-Am Presented by Hurley

Switchfoot Fading West Available Now
Also @ iTunes, Amazon & wherever cool music is sold.




Posted in: global, music

About the Author:

I answered the call back in 1983; mixing Music and Entertainment with an eccentric European style has always come easy for me. In the early 80's I was the Disc Jockey for most of the high school dances in Modesto. In the late 80's I found myself in Hollywood working as a dancer and sound engineer for various professional recording industries. In 1990 my wife of 25 years and I started (The Quake Mobile DJ ®) which was seeded from San Francisco's 1985, The Quake, radio station that only lasted a short while on the air. 26 years later The Quake Mobile DJ is bigger & better than ever in the Entertainment industry. Real-Estate, photojournalism, event promoter, saving animals, travel and fitness are a few other of my interests. I also enjoy motivational speaking to children and to those who are struggling with addiction. In my life, I have always been a very direct person and once I see a goal I won't quit till I've achieved it. But out of all of the above I feel in my heart that the best inspiration in my life is my wife and my love for the faith that I practice. Phil 4:20