Rock band Switchfoot, recently able to add “Grammy Award-winning” to its list of superlatives, released its new album, Vice Verses this week to further high acclaim.
The band won music's top prize earlier this year for its last album, Hello Hurricane. The band's success in both the Christian and secular music market genres continues to skyrocket.
Switchfoot announced on it's Facebook page late Friday: "Tune in to ABC tomorrow at 5pm PST / 8pm EST to catch the premier of 'The Original' music video on the Nebraska @ Wisconsin College Football game! Sweet!!" The song is from the new album.
With its play on words, Vice Verses coherently suggests the album’s theme: everything has two sides, writes the band’s media relations person, Rick Hoganson.
“Every blessing comes with a set of curses,” singer-guitarist Jon Foreman sings on the title track, all the while wondering if “there’s a meaning to it all.” That theme runs through the album’s 12 songs and is even reflected in the album’s black and white cover, Hoganson said.
“The whole thing is about polarity,” Foreman said. “We wanted to write about the polarity of what it means to be human, the lights and darks. I’m always intrigued by the tension that exists between life and death.
“When making Hello Hurricane, there was a graveyard right by the hotel we were staying at while we were mixing it, and I spent a little bit of time there each morning walking through and sorting it out … really Vice Verses started there. This record is as much about loss as it is about what we still have while we’re living,” Foreman said.
Hello Hurricane was released in 2009, and it symbolized a rebirth of sorts, according to Hoganson. After a “good run” under Columbia Records, Switchfoot self-financed the building of its own studio and the recording of the album and released it on “lowercase people” via Atlantic Records.
Hello Hurricane was considered a new chapter for Switchfoot, and Vice Verses is thought of as a sort of sequel. Foreman said the album is “a brand new chapter, but would not exist without Hello Hurricane” and refers to it as a “surgical procedure where everything is clean-cut.”
BREATHEcast.com review of the album in July before its official release stated, "With scorching, mile-a-minute guitars, and bouncy rhythms that are hard to resist dancing to, Vice Verses is the band's most energetic album to date."
Foreman recently told Christianity Today that Switchfoot band members “never expected actually to make money for music. That was never the point. And so for me, to be able to do what I love with my life is the definition of making a living. Existence has to be more than about a bank account and a full stomach.”
The band has performed for more than 15 years and some wonder if the creative juices, and the energy is still flowing.
“Man, I love what I do,” Foreman told CT. “I've got another Fiction Family record already recorded and ready to put out. And I've got another 50 or 60 songs I'm going to whittle down for some form of a solo project. I'm not tired. I love what I do, and it gives me a lot of energy to be able to sing along with people that believe these songs.”
The San Diego band first formed in 1996 when Foreman and his brother, Tim, formed the group. Band members were all high school friends. During the band’s early formation, the San Diego indie rock scene was thriving as bands such as Rocket From the Crypt and Drive Like Jehu had just started to gain national attention.
The band annually hosts the Switchfoot Bro-Am surf contest, an event that benefits the San Diego-based Stand Up for Kids, a national nonprofit helping homeless and at-risk youth. The Bro-Am also includes a charity auction, and festival concert. The event has raised over $500,000.
“San Diego has given us so much,” Foreman said. “Bro-Am is the most rewarding week of our lives. I’ve been given so much, it’s natural for me to give back to these kids who have been dealt a tricky hand. These are amazing kids who are dealing with all sorts of issues.”
In addition to his role in Switchfoot, Foreman still finds time for Fiction Family, the acoustic outfit that he fronts alongside Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins.
“We love music and playing together,” he said. “We thrive on the communal aspect of song and the stories that are invested within. We’ve been through a lot together … Incredible, wonderful moments and also really destructive, painful moments. You can feel that weight in some of the songs. It’s an incredible dream-come-true to say, ‘It’s time for a new Switchfoot record’ and to be able to go into the studio and make the album exactly how we want to make it.”