Celebrating the music that sparks your soul

Switchfoot

“I was in my early 20’s, it was the season of life when everything was new. I was just married, we moved from a stable, rural community to the big city. I had lots of hopes and dreams as I was trying to prepare for whatever my future was going to be. That was when my Brother-in-law gave me Switchfoot’s Learning to Breathe CD. He gave it to me at his parents house which was in a really rural area of Pennsylvania, I mean Amish country. And I remember walking through the wide open fields on a cold, winter’s day and I couldn’t stop listening, because not only was the music impacting me, it was the first time lyrics from any band had really resonated with me. The first song on the CD is “Dare You to Move”, when I listened to it I felt like the words were challenging me to be better, calling out to me, in my soul, to be my best self. The songs compelled me to be more reflective and the message of each song continued to challenge me even after I stopped listening. I’ve been following them ever since.

During another transitional time in my life, I was basically re-inventing myself, I wanted to be a better husband, a better father, I wanted a better path for my career. My wife and I had recently adopted a child with special needs and we spent a month on the beach, in New Jersey at the Ronald McDonald House during her treatments. Our necessities like food and housing were covered so it gave me the opportunity, everyday to walk on the beach, sometimes for hours, and I would listen to Switchfoot’s music over and over and over. The songs were motivating me to be more, to find my purpose. They were asking questions like ‘This is your life, are you who you want to be?’, and instead of giving me the answers they were encouraging me to think deeply. I really felt like I was being healed, internally, I felt vulnerable and raw. It was probably one of the most defining times in my life, resulting in stronger personal relationships and the decision to pursue a career that would help others enjoy life more.”

Switchfoot was the first band I totally fell in love with. Before my cousin introduced me to them when I was 12, I listened to a lot of country music. When I heard “Your Love is a Song” my life changed. I think I liked it so much because there was a more subjective take on the lyrics, and even though it wasn’t directly a Christian song, I loved the message it carried. The lyrics of the country music I was listening to before weren’t subjective at all. Ever since then they’ve been a constant in my life. Their music has helped me through hard times in middle school and depression through high school. On my worst days I would pull out “The Blues” and “Sing it Out”. A lot of Switchfoot songs talk about hard times but often highlight hope.

I’ve been to eleven Switchfoot concerts in the last 7 years. It’s been so great to look forward to the shows and meet other fans who like the same music as me. Those are some of the best memories of my life. If I could sit down and talk with Jon I’d want to ask him what motivates him to keep writing music after all this time. It just seems like he’s always creating new material, whether it’s for Switchfoot or his other projects.

Several years ago my wife and I starting asking ourselves if we were truly happy. We were both attorneys working in our own law firm. It was a stressful and demanding job. I mean the money was great, but you can make all the money in the world, but if you’re not happy it doesn’t mean anything. So I encouraged her to think about what would really make her happy and she decided to change jobs. I felt like I had to do what I was called to do, and for me that was to plant a new church. But it was a challenging decision, because in order to start the church I was going to have to give up my law firm and take a new job as a prosecutor with the state along with a 50% cut in pay. About a month after planting the church my wife was diagnosed with cancer. Between her fight with cancer and the burden of our financial situation we started doubting our decision. Why are we going through all this, is it really worth it? Listening to the music really reinforced the idea that ultimately you need to keep faith, hope and love. And that’s what Switchfoot is all about. When you go through hard times if you focus on what really matters you can get through anything. And what really matters is following what we are called to do and make a meaningful impact on peoples lives.

Aside from the music and message, another reason we love Switchfoot is because they really embrace their fans just as the fans embrace them. They kind of joke that it’s a Switchfoot family, and it really kind of is that way. We went to three shows in a row on this tour. At the first show we were up front and they recognized us at the meet and greet before the second show. They asked us, ‘what can we do better tonight that we didn’t do last night?’ My wife said ‘there’s this one song I really like, “Dig New Streams”, and you guys didn’t play it last night, I wish you’d play it tonight.’ Now we’ll never know if they played it that night just because she asked, but they haven’t played it at any other show on this tour. So there seems to be a genuine relationship between them and their fans!

“I didn’t always have the best role models in my life. But when it came to seeing Switchfoot’s music videos, listening to them talk and their lyrics, they were a positive influence, better role models to guide me along as I grew up. I mean, I can remember being excited hearing “Learning to Breathe” when I was two years old, so they’ve pretty much been a part of my entire life.

I met John a couple of years ago behind the venue. I was walking to my car and he was coming out of the tour bus. I was able to thank him for all the music the band has made, and let him know how much the lyrics have impacted my life. I told him that his music gave me positive notes when I didn’t have any, and has provided me with what I need during whatever difficult situation I’m in, whether it’s family problems or whatever I’m going through. It was so cool to be have the chance to tell him that.

Switchfoot has the most positive lyrics of any band I’ve ever listened to. They’ve definitely helped me, actually beyond helped me. I’m so thankful to have been able to grow up with their music.”

switchfoot fans

“Before I started elementary school my older brother was into Switchfoot. So I was about 4 years old and I was like, oh my gosh, these guys are so cool, and the music is so awesome.

They were the first rock n’ roll sounding band I’d ever heard, I remember their sound was really distinctive, and even from a young age it broadened my senses because I realized that music doesn’t have to sound a certain way to be good, you know? As I got older and started digging into the lyrics I realized there were all different kinds of messages I could identify with in music. It opened up a whole new world to me, I recognized other values of music, like the therapeutic aspects of music and the ways it can be like a healthy escape.

Their music has helped me get through multiple challenging times in my life. Even recently, last year, my family went through a pretty tough time, it was a confusing time for me. And being a person of faith, and in ministry, when difficult times happen you think about questioning God. Like why is this happening to me? Listening to some of Switchfoot’s songs that dig in to those kinds of issues helped me understand how I was feeling and helped me talk to God about that. They encouraged me to just hold on, to keep hope. You know hope is one of their biggest themes, it’s one of the biggest reasons they do music, to give hope an anthem.”