Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving in "Movember"; Jon Foreman writes again for the Huffington Post; Live record from the "Hello Hurricane" tour?

Check out the new Thanksgiving greeting from the Switchfoot boys. Jerome is hilarious in this one:



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Jon Foreman, the man everyone knows as singer guy from Switchfoot, wrote yet another deep, challenging essay for the Huffington Post. Here it is, in all it's brilliance.

I feel a strange sense of isolation when I'm on tour. During the part of the day that I spend off-stage and off-air a gloomy detachment begins to set in. I watch the towns fly by on the side of the road. I call home from a new city day after day. I feel lonely and yet I want to be alone for some reason. Sometimes I walk around a bit, find a coffee shop and observe. I watch young couples in love, a man walking his dog, people rushing through the traffic to get somewhere else. And for these brief moments of stillness I become the old man on the park bench watching life from the outside. During these quiet intervals of reflection I often see pieces of myself in the folks around me.

Today I have a day-off in Albuquerque. That's right, the town that never looks like it's spelled quite right. There's a chill in the air today. Allegedly it snowed a bit this morning. Even if the white stuff didn't stick, the styrofoam snowflakes are up in ribbons and bows to decorate the local shopping center near the hotel where our bus is parked. I sit in this caffeinated postmodern watering hole feeling completely disconnected from the yuletide trappings, almost irritated by the decor. Maybe my sentiment stems from my detached life on the road. Or perhaps, I feel this way simply because it's not even Thanksgiving yet and Christmas is more than a month away. Either way, as I sit here bracing myself for the pending shopping season. I read that last sentence and start to feel downright Grinchy. I hate feeling Grinchy...

From where I sit I can see a bearded man on the corner asking for change with his hand-made cardboard sign, "homeless, please help." Other more elaborate cardboard signs inside the coffee shop are also looking for my money -- advertising a warm glass of Christmas cheer for only a few bucks. The line moves briskly inside the coffee shop, full of interesting human specimens, every one of them a story in process. I try to read each one like a novel -- full of intentions, hopes, fears, dreams, and desires. The man outside on the corner has a story too. Where are his parents? Does he have any kids? I can identify with this bearded outcast more than than anyone in the coffee shop, but nobody else seems all too interested.

My mind starts to think about the economics of the situation. Are the coffee shop and my bearded friend outside in direct competition? Does he simply need a better product? Are we declaring his cause to be less valuable than a cup of coffee when tell the barista our choice? These people are lined up to buy coffee for the same reason that I'm here. This is a product that we know. We might complain about how expensive it is, but we prove that the warm beverage is "worth" our hard-earned pay by throwing our money down time and time again. In our free market economy, the man on the corner is offering an alternative use for the scarce resource of our currency. But his "product" is a bit more nebulous than even the most complex soy latte. Still this language of product and consumption just doesn't fit his situation. He's a human soul, and with a few unlucky turns I could easily see myself in his situation. My detached thoughts this morning feel stuck in the traffic, stuck at the corner of Consumption and Compassion.

At a mall during the Christmas Season the line gets pretty blurry between consumption and compassion. On the one hand, we are buying for others, what could be more compassionate!? And in these shaky economic times, we are told that our purchases are crucial. Our consumption helps to create jobs as the "invisible hand" of free economics helps to support the American economy. But what about my bearded friend outside the mall? I can hear Scrooge in my head: "He needs to get a job. He needs to stop freeloading off of the hardworking American Public. His situation is the simple justice of the free market economy." Maybe... but we all know that the story simply isn't that simple.

Even though the statistics only tell part of the story, they can help illuminate the complexities of the situation: One in five people in a soup kitchen line is a child. (America's Second Harvest, Hunger 1997: The Faces & Facts). Research indicates that 40% of homeless men have served in the armed forces. (Rosenheck, Robert, Homeless Veterans, in Homelessness in America, 1996). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20-25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness. These are daughters and sons, brothers and sisters. These are stories in need of hope.

We all need grace from time to time. I look back on my own life. I grew up in a stable home environment with a pretty good education and some solid friends. Over the years I have had incredible chances to achieve, to live, to learn. And even with all of this I have made some horrible decisions in my life. To a certain extent, justice means that I'm on the corner looking for change. No, we all need compassion that goes beyond the free market economy. And though it might be high on our wish list this Christmas compassion is not that easy to give away. Maybe Adam Smith, the father of modern economics might be able to shed some light on the line between compassion and justice.

"...we feel ourselves to be under a stricter obligation to act according to justice, than agreeably to friendship, charity, or generosity; that the practice of these last mentioned virtues seems to be left in some measure to our own choice, but that, somehow or other, we feel ourselves to be in a peculiar manner tied, bound, and obliged to the observation of justice." —Smith, A. (1759 The Theory of Moral Sentiments)

So justice and compassion are set into separate piles of thought. Justice becomes imperative, (bringing murderers and thieves to trial) but Scrooges are tolerated. Recent events on Wall Street might even make us question whether justice comes to the Scrooges who break the law... but that's a different story. Like I wrote about a few weeks ago, there are no law to regulate kindness.

I suppose there is even a sense of justice to the shopping mall. The consumer is judge and jury. Her money is hers alone. She, the autonomous individual weighs all of the evidence: the marketing dollars, the products reputation, the past experiences are all brought into the courtroom of the consumer. And then in a split moment of decision, the almighty consumer swings her gavel and chooses her verdict. The purchase is made. The exchange marks the karma of consumption, the justice of the free market system.

But the "justice" of this system enslaves millions around the world. The "justice" of industry destroys the weak, ignores the hungry, and disfigures our planet. Our consumption is not sustainable monetarily, ecologically, or spiritually. The illusion of the individual is equally flawed. I, the almighty American consumer did not grow this morning's coffee beans. I did not knit my socks or cut my own hair. In fact, I, the consumer actually know very little about the products that I consume. My entire world is facilitated by others in an ever shrinking global economy.

Wealth is a subjective term that compares one individual with the rest. As such, the concept of wealth is only possible in community. Our affluence is always relative to those around us. The average American is richer than most humans that have ever lived upon the planet. As such, wealth necessitates poverty. Scarcity is necessary for sales. Hunger is necessary for consumption. The consumer is restless- yearning to be satiated. But the consummation of the sale does not gratify our appetite for long.

Where do these desires come from? Certainly there are needs. Food, clothing, shelter, companionship. But we have deeper desires that are harder to explain. We want to be accepted, validated. We want to know that our lives have worth, that this day has meaning and purpose. We are searching for the meaning behind our physical existence. I walk through the hallowed halls of our times. I see good looking models smiling down at me, wearing colorful new sweater-vests and lingerie. I smell the food-court. I feel overwhelmed, like a fish staring at a million hooks. An endless palate of color, size, shape, style, marketing variations in the cathedral of consumption. All of this a few yards from the man on the corner with his simple request for change.

We are the target market, we are the demographic. The purchase adds to a bottom line that will help pay for the overhead of raw goods, rent, and human resources (a telling title), ultimately investing back into the machine of progress. A dog chasing his tail. The endless desire of the consumer, (me) fueling the fires of industry around the world. Our Cathedrals of Consumption are well stocked with the "justice" of the free market economy. And compassionate acts will always be in direct competition with my endless desire for novelty. Do we define our desires or do our desires define us? Do we define our purchases of do our purchases define us?

I am not looking for a redistribution of wealth. No, this would require a significant amount of trust in the political system that, quite frankly I do not have. No, I am not looking for a redistribution of wealth I am looking for a redefining of wealth. A new understanding of fulfillment, of satisfaction, of satiation, of joy that transcends the consuming transaction. A definition of wealth that accounts for more than the individual and looks to the community at large. Maybe this season's celebration, (a commercial season that I can't believe is already here) could be a chance to be more than a consumer, more than an individual. Maybe we could partake in community. Maybe we could befriend the outsider, feed the hungry, and be wealthy in ways we've never known. We could spend time together instead of throwing money at the mall.

I'm not saying to throw money at man on the corner. But I am saying that he is our brother. He is our father. He is our community. There is wealth hidden in his situation. It's not well lit or well advertised. There is wealth in giving him your respect. There is wealth in discovering his story. You might be able to trust him with your compassion. Yes, we are consumers. But we need not be consumed.


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Switchfoot sent out a new email, with new details on the Holiday Package for 2009. Looks like "The Best Yet" live DVD is finally done and ready!

Dear Friends -

The Holidays are right around the corner, which means our special Holiday Package is now available! This year our new live DVD - 'The Best Yet - Live' - is available to purchase exclusively with the holiday package. Featuring 12 songs, this DVD was shot in Nashville in 2008 during our Music Builds Tour. Please see track-listing below:
1. Stars
2. Oh! Gravity
3. Gone
4. We Are One Tonight / Shadow Proves The Sunshine
5. This is Home
6. This is Your Life
7. American Dream
8. Dirty Second Hands
9. On Fire
10. Awakening
11. Meant to Live
12. Dare You to Move



The Holiday Package includes:
*'The Best Yet - Live' DVD
*Choice of shirt
*2 Stickers
*Studio poster
*Oh! EP
*Signed Christmas card

The DELUXE Holiday Package is the same as above, except you get a new
hoodie instead of a t-shirt. Click here to purchase your Holiday Package now!

Switchfoot's Hello Hurricane Tour
Switchfoot has added more dates to the Hello Hurricane Tour. Please
make sure you check out all the tour dates to see if we are coming to a
city near you. All dates are ONSALE NOW unless otherwise noted.

11/8 San Diego, CA East County Performing Arts Center (SOLD OUT)
11/11 West Hollywood, CA The Roxy Theatre (SOLD OUT)
11/13 Scottsdale, AZ Martini Ranch (SOLD OUT)
11/14 Tucson, AZ The Rock (SOLD OUT)
11/16 Oklahoma City, OK Diamond Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
11/17 Dallas, TX House of Blues (SOLD OUT)
11/18 Austin, TX The Parish (SOLD OUT)
11/20 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
11/21 New Orleans, LA Parish @ House of Blues (SOLD OUT)
11/22 Nashville, TN Exit In (SOLD OUT)
11/23 Nashville, TN Exit In
11/24 Atlanta, GA CW Center Stage (SOLD OUT)
11/27 Anaheim, CA House of Blues (SOLD OUT)
11/28 Ventura, CA Majestic Ventura Theater
12/3 Charlotte, NC Amos' Southend
12/4 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
12/5 Richmond, VA WDYL Snowball @ The National
12/7 Baltimore, MD Rams Head Live
12/8 New York, NY The Fillmore Irving Plaza
12/9 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
12/10 Providence, RI Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
12/11 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
12/12 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre
12/13 Washington, DC 930 Club
12/14 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
12/19 San Bernardino, CA X103.9's Very Merry Christmas Party @
Cal State
1/8 Reno, NV Knitting Factory
1/9 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom*
1/11 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
1/12 Seattle, WA Showbox
1/13 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom**
1/15 Edmonton, AB The Starlite Room**
1/16 Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall**
1/17 Saskatoon, SK Louis' Pub**
1/18 Winnipeg, MB Garrick Centre**
1/21 Kitchener, ON Elements**
1/22 Toronto, ON Phoenix Theatre**
1/23 Montreal, QC Studio Jpr
1/30 Hamilton, NZ Parachute Music Festival

*onsale Dec 6
**onsale Nov 27

As always, thanks for listening, and Hello Hurricane!
- Tim, Chad, Jon, Jerome and Drew

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The Tennessean did a story on Switchfoot. Watch for a very interesting quote from Jon Foreman:

When his band thought about devoting the first set on their new tour to the 12 songs on new record Hello Hurricane, Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman had his moments of doubt.

Turns out he shouldn’t have even thought twice, because every crowd on the tour thus far seems to already know what Foreman’s going to sing before he sings it, he says. And they’re usually singing along with him, too, even though Hurricane has only been officially available for a little over a week.

“Let’s just say that with this set of all-new songs, I’ve never been more thankful for piracy,” says Foreman, whose band heads to Nashville for a two-date stint at Exit/In Sunday and Monday, Nov. 22–23. “For once, you can be really thankful that everybody is so excited about the music that they can’t wait for the release date.”

Members of the San Diego-based active rock band had retreated to separate musical corners following their last studio release, 2006’s Oh! Gravity, the third album the band had issued in fairly rapid succession. (It followed their 2003 breakthrough The Beautiful Letdown, featuring the huge singles “Meant To Live” and “Dare You To Move,” and 2005 follow-up Nothing Is Sound.)

Read the rest here.

^"I’ve never been more thankful for piracy.” That's a very strong statement from the Switchfoot front man. So.... that means those of you who got the leak of "Hello Hurricane," you are now allowed to feel a little less ashamed of yourselves. ;)

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The Ventura County Reporter also did a story on Switchfoot. Far less in-depth and exclusive, but it still offered an interesting angle.

The alternative rock radio format of the early ’90s was undoubtedly special. Riding on the coattails of the cultural force that was Nirvana and Pearl Jam, suddenly music once found only on college campus stations was pulling in big ratings. What was refreshing about modern rock radio most of all, besides being responsible for casting hair metal to the wind, was the sheer variety of genres. It was a place where the moody metal of Alice in Chains could play nicely alongside melody merchants like the Lemonheads and even twangsters like the Jayhawks.

Then the worst happened. A sonic apocalypse, if you will, occurred in the form of chin rock or butt rock or tough guy rock or whatever disparaging term you’d like to call it. Basically, the sound that started to dominate the once all-accepting radio format was accessible riff rock nearly devoid of any meaning or emotion.

Some of the more recognizable culprits were and are Nickelback, Creed, Puddle of Mudd, Saliva, Stained and Hinder — bands with songs that tend to be used frequently as pro wrestling entrance themes. Even the Top 40 takeover machine of American Idol has its champion of chin with Daughtry.

Occasionally, though, bands do manage success at alternative radio while saying something meaningful in the process. One such credible act currently on the airwaves is San Diego’s Switchfoot.


^HAHA! I'm glad they don't consider Switchfoot butt rock. :P Read the rest here.

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As Switchfoot tweeted, the band band played a song for My Fox Atlanta yesterday morning. Here's the message:

Switchfoot:

- Good day Atlanta, fox 5 - playing always for the tv set- here we come: anchormen, beware... Everyone else feel free to tune in

- Super funny moment this morning, the Teleprompter had us down as "switchwood" ...but mostly, stay classy... jf

^That wouldn't be the only mistake the station would make. Watch for it here in an Interview with Jon Foreman



^Yes, we ARE meant to love, but that's not the song title. :P

Here's Switchfoot playing "Always"



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Here's a video of Switchfoot playing "Mess of Me" at last night's show in Atlanta:



And from the second Nashville show, "Faust, Midas, and Myself"!



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Speaking of the "Hello Hurricane" tour, Oh! Nicole from the boards had this to say...

"I was talking to the guys for a while last night and one of them told me they had recorded that night's show and are planning on putting out some kind of live CD of it."

WOO! Hopefully this is true.

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Switchfoot have confirmed UK dates in 2010, as Cross Rhytms reports.

BEST SELLING San Diego rock band Switchfoot have confirmed British dates for 2010. The band are set to play at Big Church Day Out (Leicestershire) at Stanford Hall on 29th May, and Big Church Day Out (West Sussex) at Wiston Hall on 31st May. Switchfoot will also be playing at Belfast's Fuel 10 event on 11th to 13th June and Edinburgh's Frenzy festival on 12th June.


^UK friends, get ready for the Hurricane!

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Here's another "Hello Hurricane" review by Shipwreckislandstudios.com

Well it’s a release that seems to focus mainly on having a real rough around the edges feel on the heavier compositions with a majority of the slicker production elements that has become the popular norm being thrown entirely out the window. This isn’t saying that Hello Hurricane is a challenging album to listen to; it just doesn’t stick to any one solid plan of attack. If there was any one place where the group does employ some intricate production methods it would be when the guys decide to take a breather and deliver the mid-tempo to slower ballad type tracks. What makes Hello Hurricane even more interesting is the fact that the band has gone back to basics, so to speak, with the decision to release the album on their independent label. It is decisions like this where it seems musicians truly come full circle not only with the material they create but, more importantly, themselves. Even though Hello Hurricane doesn’t quite garner as much as attention as The Beautiful Letdown there is something in the presentation as a whole that makes the finished product quintessential Switchfoot.


Read the rest here.

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CHARTS

"Mess of Me" holds at No. 26 on the Alternative charts. Be sure to keep requesting at a local rock station near you! Link below:

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VOTING

I know a lot of us Americans will be busy stuffing ourselves with Turkey and other Thanksgiving victuals, but if you can, take some time out of your busy schedules to keep voting strong for Switchfoot on the following links. Thank guys. You rock!

- Sirius Alt Nation has an option to request songs. Here's the message they have on their main website. LINK

- Alternative Addiction: What we need to do is,

- Fill-in vote "Mess of Me" in the box, after voting for one of the artists already in the countdown.

THEN

- Request the song here. Scroll down, then simply press the "request" link.

- The Christian Rock 20 Poll. (NO. 1!)

- WRRV (NO. 1!)

- 98.7 (Los Angeles) Badass 8 WE FELL TO NO. 7 LAST NIGHT! We need to put the pressure back on and get higher! The station is starting to spin the song more... VOTE.

- 91x (San Diego) Christy Taylor's REALLY BIG Countdown Keep requesting each day to keep it on the countdown! We fell no. 4 last night. Let's get it back up!

- RadioU's Top Ten Most Wanted. We still have the top spot! Well done! Let's keep it that way!

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Again, please also go here to see a list of stations already playing "Mess of Me" and phone numbers to call in and request the song with!! This is our time to shine, friends!

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