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Fading West

Much has changed for Switchfoot since its formation in 1996 – including its name.

Before switching to Switchfoot Chin Up, consisting brothers Jon and Tim Foreman teamed with Chad Butler on drums to form Chin Up.

Nearly two decades later, they’re still evolving.

The 5-piece group from San Diego, Calif. is now made up of Jon (lead vocals, guitar), Tim (bass guitar, backing vocals), Butler (drums, percussion), Jerome Fontamillas (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), and Drew Shirley (guitar, backing vocals).

The band started off as a Christian rock band, and gained mainstream recognition with the inclusion of four of their songs in the movie, A Walk to Remember in 2002.

In 2003, they released The Beautiful Letdown as their major label debut under Columbia records. It included hits such as “Meant to Live” and “Dare You to Move” and went on to sell over 2.6 million copies.

Since then, Switchfoot has toured all across the country and has been praised for their energetic live performances. In 2011, their seventh studio album, Hello Hurricane, received a Grammy for Best Rock Gospel Album.

Front man and guitarist Jon Foreman cites his musical influences as U2, The Beatles, and Keith Green, as well as commenting on his appreciation of vocalist such as Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.

Other influences include Miles Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Michael Jackson, Dave Matthews Band, and Steve Wonder.

“We’ve never fit in any of the genre boxes,” says Jon Foreman. “I think that diversity is our strength. We try to make music for thinking people.”

The band has alluded to the work of philosophers like Soren Kiekegaard and Augustine of Hippo. “Meant to Live,” the band’s biggest hit, was inspired by T.S. Elliot’s poem, “The Hollow Men.”

Switchfoot is still referred to as a Christian rock band, even after signing deals with major labels such a Columbia and Atlantic.

The band has always philosophically disagreed with this label

“We’re Christian by faith, not genre,” Tim Foreman explains. “We’ve always been very open and honest about where the songs are coming from. For us, these songs are for everyone. Calling us ‘Christian rock’ tends to be a box that closes some people out and excludes them, and that’s not what we’re trying to do. Music has always opened my mind—and that’s what we want.”

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