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April 19, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
After four of their songs were featured in the heart-wrenching romance film A Walk to Remember, American rock band Switchfoot became a music group to remember. Now, eight albums and more than a decade later, the five surfer dudes who make up the band are bringing their faith-driven sound to The Blue Note on April 26.
Their latest release Vice Verses, which debuted in September, was what guitarist Drew Shirley describes as a big challenge to write because of its emotional, soulful content. The album will be re-released as a remix with covers from the likes of Owl City, Paper Route and Photek on Record Store Day on April 21. The band decided to release the album on Record Store Day because Shirley says the bandmates were considered underdogs at some point in their lives. Because of this, they wanted to support the stores, who he calls underdogs in the battle against free music that can be downloaded from the Internet.
Where: The Blue Note
When: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Time: 8 p.m.
The band won a Grammy in 2011 for Best Rock Gospel album, Hello Hurricane. Although Shirley admits he felt honored, it didn’t affect him as much as he thought it would. The Grammy win did however capture his father’s attention. “It got my dad to recognize that I have a real job,” Shirley says. “He doesn’t listen to rock very much, but he said ‘you guys must be doing something good.’ But just because we won the Grammy doesn’t mean that I play guitar better or have to stop working as hard.”
Along with music, the band’s volunteer efforts, which are profiled on their website, emphasize their role as true do-gooders. With involvement in more than six different organizations, Shirley says the band uses its platform and fame to raise awareness for the issues the charities promote. From donating the proceeds to having audience members sign up to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, the band strongly emphasizes giving back to nonprofit organizations.
The California-based group also established its own surf contest called BroAm to benefit StandUp For Kids, which is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of homeless and at-risk kids. “The charities that deal with kids really get me,” Shirley says. “Often kids are the victims of adult behavior so it’s important to give them a voice.”
Although Shirley says “giving hope to the hopeless” is among the band’s priorities, he also admits that the group is a music band above all else. “We’ve had people married to our music and people buried to our music,” he says. “I think if we can provide the soundtrack to someone’s life, that’s what would be the most meaningful to me.”