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Switchfoot brings ‘Fading West’ documentary and tour to town

Alternative-rock band Switchfoot is coming to The Franklin Theatre on Oct. 1 for a unique, up-close-and-personal evening with fans.

The event will feature a screening of the band’s documentary “Fading West,” an acoustic performance and a Q-and-A session with band members.

“Fading West” follows the band on their 2012 world tour to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa and to their hometown of San Diego, Calif.

The film allowed the band to fuse two passions of theirs: surfing and music. And surfing and music are what brought the band together in the first place.

“It’s been a dream of ours for two years to plan a world tour around our favorite surf spots around the globe and to document the journey,” drummer Chad Butler said. “We grew up surfing together and then played music together ever since we were in high school, so it’s been a big part of who we are as people and the band.”

The Grammy Award-winning band hoped their travels would lead to new material.

“We really looked for inspiration in each of these locations – different towns, different environments – and in the process of the year, we found a bunch of new songs that came out of these experiences and countries,” Butler said.

And the opportunity to create a soundtrack for a film is something the band has always wanted to do, Butler said. “What better way than to make the film ourselves?” he said.

At first, the band thought the documentary would just be about waves and music, but it quickly became a transparent look into their lives.

“It ended up being a much more honest look at us as a band and the brotherhood we have and the dynamics of trying to support each other as husbands and fathers,” Butler said.

The film premiered July 31 in Los Angeles. And for Butler, giving audiences such a candid glimpse into their lives wasn’t easy at first.

“It was a little nerve-racking when you pull the curtain back on who you are offstage,” he said. “We want to protect the one thing we have control over at home and yet in this film, we’re opening the door to our family, to the dynamic and brotherhood of the band.”

The surprises that arose while filming proved to be the best catalyst for making music.

“The unexpected things that happened along the way formed the most heartfelt songs on the record,” Butler said.

Three of these songs appear on the currently available “Fading West EP.” Fans who purchase a physical copy of the EP at the show will also receive an exclusive fourth track.

This extra track will not appear on the upcoming full-length album, “Fading West,” which is set to be released Jan. 14.

Switchfoot formed in 1996 and has since released eight studio albums and performed their energetic rock show for fans all over the world.

But this fall tour is unique. It allows the band to interact with audiences in smaller, more comfortable settings.

“We’re adapting the rock show down to a more intimate situation where we can talk with the audience and just make it a really memorable night for us and everybody that comes out,” Butler said.

He also said he’s excited to interact with fans and is looking forward to the variety of questions audience members may have.

The band will play songs from the new EP, as well as fan favorites, during the event.

And they will continue touring through Nov. 24 with stops in more than 30 U.S. cities. Eager Nashville fans have already snapped up tickets, leaving both Franklin Theatre shows sold out.

For Switchfoot, this latest project is one of not only seeing dreams come to fruition, but seeing them exceed original expectations.

“This is absolutely a culmination of years of dreaming about combining all the elements of who we are into one project,” Butler said. “To have a film and an album, both titled ‘Fading West,’ and have it so integrated is better than we could have imagined.”

Vision staff writer Ally Willis will be reviewing Switchfoot’s early showing on Oct. 1 at The Franklin Theatre. Check back for her concert coverage.

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