Meant to Live
(From left) Jerome Fontamillas; Tim Foreman; Jon Foreman; Drew Shirley; Chad Butler
It isn’t often that a band perceived as a mainstream Christian group finds secular audiences going into a tizzy at their gigs. But this was the mid ’90s and the Christian alt rock scene was growing. American alt rock band Switchfoot, which oddly used a surfing term as their bandname, was at the forefront of it, delivering songs such as Meant to live, Dare you to move and Hello hurricane.
Now, two decades later, founder Jon Foreman on vocals and guitar, Tim Foreman on bass, Chad Butler on drums, Drew Shirley on guitar, and Jerome Fontamillas on guitar and keyboard, are in India on their maiden trip as a part of Micromax VH1 Rock Rules. Suanshu Khurana spoke to Jon and Jerome on the band’s identity and popularity post A Walk to Remember.
What did music mean back when you started tinkering with a guitar? How has the vision evolved since then?
Jon: When I was a child, we would often visit Disneyland to see the parade. My parents tell me that I disappeared once. They soon discovered that I was marching with the band, thinking I was in the band. I feel like it’s always been my thing. I hear a song and I am taken somewhere else. That’s still the case. Now I have more understanding of how to use music as a vehicle that I can drive around in, rather than be in the back seat.
Jon, you once said that “existence has to be more than about a bank account and a full stomach”. This is what you can ‘afford’ to say after a Grammy win. What about the late ‘90s, when you were starting out. Was music enough to fill you up?
Jon: We have to be careful to not let people define success for us. Other people’s dreams of success cannot become your own advertisement. My dream was to treat people well and enjoy my life and do something that I was proud of. It didn’t matter if my socks were of the same colour or if I had a car. Music was enough to fill me up then.
Songs for the film A Walk to Remember made you reach a wider audience. How did the project work out?
Jerome: A high school friend of Jon’s worked for the company that was putting the music together for A Walk to Remember. She suggested Switchfoot’s music be used. We never realised how big those four-five songs would become.
While straddling Christian and mainstream markets and finding a way through label red tape,
Switchfoot has survived with the same line up.
Jerome: There are five of us and each of us have different musical ideas and tastes. We are a band that is passionate about creating music and playing our music well. There will always be conflicts but we are like family so we always work it out.
You always had issues for being labelled as a Christian band. What part of things do you not subscribe to? You are still sold extensively at Christian retail outlets.
Jerome: We always have issues. We grew up as Christians and a lot of what we write about is what we believe in but we definitely do not try to put our music in that label because we feel our music is for
Is there a new album in the pipeline?
Jerome: Yes, we are at the starting stages of a new album; still trying to find inspiration. Maybe being in
India will give us the inspiration. Bollywood perhaps.
Your music is extremely popular in India. As happy as we are, one wishes you had come earlier.
Jerome: We wish we had. Actually Jon came earlier, a couple of years back, and he just raved about it. I guess it just made sense this time. We are really excited.
At the Delhi gig, will it be a mix of old and new?
Jerome: Yes, a mix of old and new and a lot of sweat. It is going to be a big sweaty rock show.
Switchfoot will perform on Saturday at Hard Rock Cafe, 8.30 pm onwards. Tickets available at bookmyshow.com for Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000
Source:: Indian Express