The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Switchfoot rock band tells a bigger story

By Nicole West

Switchfoot, the alternative rock band from San Diego, comes to San Antonio this weekend with a new spin on the modern rock concert.

For their 25th stop, Switchfoot will visit San Antonio 7 p.m. Sunday in the Laurie Auditorium at Trinity University, but they’ll do more than just play music. The Grammy Award-winning band will show their first independent film during a 43-city ‘Fading West’ tour.

Ticket prices range $29.38 to $47.62. To purchase tickets, visit

Switchfoot has been in business for the last 17 years, but drummer Chad Butler said during an Oct. 2 phone interview that he hopes to keep their music resonating with college students. Now in their 30s, band members are showing their longevity at the same time they are keeping the music fresh.

In their film, the band highlights their experiences and character-building challenges that led them to become who they are today. Transforming into a band of musicians from a band of surfers is the feature of their story. The film reveals how the band is passionate about surfing, and how their music keeps bringing them back to the water.

Butler said when they set out to make the film, they set out to make a surf movie and rockumentary. “But it’s become so much more than that through the highs and lows we experienced throughout the year together.”

Creating the film “was an attempt to tell a story bigger than a three-minute pop song,” Butler said. “For us, the film is a very personal look at the brotherhood of the band.”

The film will serve as the opening act for each show during their tour, followed by their performance, then a Q&A session.

Switchfoot began its journey in 1996 when two brothers, Jon and Tim Foreman, started a band with Butler, their high school friend.

It all started at the University of California San Diego when the members started playing music together. Since they met, the rock band has orchestrated music into eight albums, selling 5.5 million copies worldwide. The band won a Grammy Award in 2009 for their “Hello Hurricane” album.

For their ninth album, the band wanted new musical inspiration, Butler said. They found the inspiration throughout different countries shown in the film.

“Bringing the film to San Antonio is something we’re really looking forward to,” Butler said. The film portrays their lives as musicians and surfers and will be released digitally toward the end of 2013.

Butler said colleges and universities are their most common venue, harkening to their college beginnings.

“We all came to play music together when we were in college and I think it’s a time of life when you’re obviously into music but also asking good questions …,” Butler said.

The band, Butler said, asked themselves questions during the making of the film such as, “Why do I do what I do?” He said they want college students to walk away with a found appreciation for their own lives and ask themselves the same question.

“You know, there’s a song, ‘Who We Are,’ off the record that’s on the EP too, and it’s about identity and I think knowing who we are off stage is an example of finding your true self,” Butler said.

A snippet of the lyrics from ‘Who We Are’ build on that theme:

“They said the fight would break us

But the struggle helped to make

Who we are”

The film was recorded during the course of the band’s 2012 world tour. During that time they encountered situations where they had to reevaluate who they were and why they did what they did, Butler said. That experience inspired the song, ‘Love Alone is Worth the Fight.’

Butler shared with The Mesquite the band’s experience during the tour which began in September.

“We took a film crew with us for a year on the road to film this,” Butler said. “The result has been really exciting to see that on a big screen and just share that with each city we’re premiering the film in.”

New Inspiration

During 2012, when the film crew followed the band around the world, they found inspiration for their new album from various countries such as Indonesia, Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

“We were looking for new sounds, new musical inspiration, different environments, different cultures, different instruments … ” Butler said.

When listening to the new album, listeners are able to hear the different environments and locations visited, he said.

For the tour, the band has released a digital three-song EP titled, “Fading West.” Fans will be able to buy a physical copy of the EP exclusively at the concert. Their full ninth album will be released Jan. 14.

About the Author

Nicole West
Nicole West is The Mesquite’s Cultura Editor. Nicole is a communications major with a minor in business. She attended San Antonio College Fall 2012, where she served as a reporter of The Ranger. She is a 2013 participant of the Emmy-award winning Proyecto U broadcast collaborative advised by Communications faculty and KWEX 41/Univision San Antonio, and a 2010 Holmes High School graduate where she was head photographer of her high school yearbook. She recently completed an internship with Gemini Ink, a literary arts center located in San Antonio and is currently interning with San Antonio Magazine. In September 2013, Nicole was selected as an outstanding prospective student for the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism's Rodgers Fellowship.

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