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Switchfoot at the Fillmore Detroit, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Saturday, March 2, 2019

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. And that seems to be the case for Switchfoot and its fans.

The San Diego rock troupe took a brief hiatus after touring to support its 2016 album "Where the Light Shines Through." It came back refreshed for "Native Tongue," its 11th studio album, and the group was clearly mixed; The 14-song set, which includes collaborations with members of OneRepublic and others, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Christian albums chart.

In its wake Switchfoot is, of course, on the road, with no plans to stop -- until the next time, at least...

• Drummer Chad Butler, 44, says by phone that Switchfoot's break proved to be "a really good time for us, for different reasons." That included time spent at home with the group members' families, though the quintet stayed in touch and continued surfing together. "Hitting the pause button on the band and really just kind of reflecting, asking ourselves big questions, like 'Why am I doing what I'm doing?'...that was a good thing. And during that time we began to find ourselves still making music and still working on songs, with a different attitude -- just chasing joy and not really working on a project, per se, but the love of music. We couldn't stay out of the studio, and eventually it was, 'Wow, I think we're making a record...'"

• "Native Tongue" explores some different styles and sounds than Switchfoot has explored before. "The longer we're together the more we want to push ourselves into new musical territory," Butler says. "I think music's changing, too. I think the whole playlist concept allows for diversity, and I would say this is our most diverse record yet. I definitely see that as a positive. When I was a kid I sort of compartmentalized music and bands and artists -- 'Oh, this is that kind of music...' That's a wall that's been broken down over the years."

• That said, Switchfoot retains a stronghold in the Christian rock world alongside its success in the pop and rock mainstreams. "I guess I embrace any audience that wasn’t to listen to our music and connect with it," Butler says. "We've always just called ourselves a rock band, for lack of a better term. Rock 'n' roll is the pretty wide lane we live in. As a believer, I see faith as something that's integral into art and all parts of life. I think it's natural that an artist's views on the world would be expressed in their songs. I think that’s a beautiful thing. But I look out at our audience and I see people from all different backgrounds and beliefs, singing the same song together. That's the beautiful power of music, to unify and connect people from various backgrounds."

Switchfoot, Tyson Motsenbocker and Colony House perform play Sunday, March 3 at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors at 6:30 p.m. $35-$59.50 313-961-5451 or thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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