Two types of bands come out of a hiatus. Recording artists, such as Weezer and Fall Out Boy, which return re-energized. Or groups like No Doubt and OutKast, which have been on break for years but have not made new music and have rarely played live in recent years.
File Switchfoot in the first camp. After 20 years of nonstop recording and touring, the straightforward rockers announced at the end of 2017 that the members would focus on something other than the band.
“We decided to take 2018 off,” bassist-songwriter Tim Foreman said by phone from his San Diego home. “It’s been a constant grind for so many years. Taking a break from the band was the best thing we could have done. We learned a lot about ourselves.”
Foreman and his brother, vocalist-guitarist Jon Foreman, planned to hang out with each other and surf in their laid-back hometown and enjoy their families last year.
“That was the plan,” Foreman said. “There wasn’t pressure to do a thing. We just wanted to relax and do what we liked to do.”
Most mornings the Foreman brothers would surf. It’s not surprising since they have been surfers since they were kids. The name of their band comes from a surfing term. To switch your feet means to take a new stance facing the opposite direction while riding a wave.
Their afternoons and evenings were wide open.
“So guess what we did when we had all of this down time,” Foreman asked.
The brothers were more prolific than ever, since they had no pressure, writing more than 150 songs.
“I think that had a lot to do with it,” Foreman said. “Some people need deadlines to get anything done, but we just accomplished so much during our phase that we have dubbed our ‘all of the joy’ period.”
They had some uncertainty about what to do with the new material. They considered releasing an album as a duo, but opted not to.
“We spent a year connecting with all of the people that supported us all of these years, and we somehow made a Switchfoot album, as well,” Foreman said. “We never expected that, but we were thrilled to have the songs for ‘Native Tongue.’”
When Switchfoot formed during the post-grunge era, the group — which also includes guitarist Drew Shirley, drummer Chad Butler and keyboardist Jerome Fontamillas — was a contemporary Christian act. However, by the time the band made its major label debut with Columbia with “The Beautiful Letdown” in 2003, Switchfoot had become a mainstream rock act.
“Things change in life and change can be a great thing,” Foreman said. “We’ve made adjustments through the years. The cool thing is that we’re still together and doing what we love to do. Regarding Christianity, it’s our faith, not a genre. If we were labeled Christian rockers, it would limit who we would reach. Our music is for everybody.”
A number of their new songs, which are primarily anthemic with big hooks, are inspired by their beliefs. “All I Need” is about letting go and for God to take control. “Wonderful Feeling” and “Let It Happen” also glorify God.
“All of this material came out so naturally,” Foreman said. “It’s pure Switchfoot.”
After taking such a long break, don’t count on a hiatus from Switchfoot for a long time. It will perform Friday (10/4) at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids.
“Our schedule is so loaded — but it’s a good thing,” Foreman said. “It makes sense since ‘Native Tongue’ came out this year (January). We’re not going to take time off like this anytime in the near future. It’s all about work now, and we’re fine with that.”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday (10/4)
WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
TICKETS: $27 to $47, Paramount Ticket Office, (319) 366-8203 or paramounttheatrecr.com
BAND’S WEBSITE: switchfoot.com