San Diego alt-rockers Switchfoot are quintessential Soul Surfers.
The quintet are currently on a 45-date North American tour promoting their upcoming ninth album, Fading West, and an accompanying documentary of the same name that explores the connection between the band, all hardcore surfers, and the ocean. They recently dropped into New York City to play a gig and preview the doc at the Gramercy Theatre, and Fuse tagged along.
"Fading West is basically our opening act," says frontman Jon Foreman. "We've shown it in North Dakota, St. Louis, Detroit, just a bunch of towns that don't see the ocean a lot."
He adds, "Did you know that Bruce Springsteen had a job at a [surfboard] shaper's studio? Surfing and rock n' roll have a long-standing connection." He then flashes a big, totally-stoked grin. Foreman and Switchfoot stand at the center of that connection.
Fuse follows the band to a Manhattan studio to visit Ted Jensen, who is mixing the new LP, out in January. The Grammy-winning studio whiz—who has worked with the Eagles, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, the Pixies, Kings of Leon, Maroon 5 and more—previews the effort for the band, playing a gorgeous atmospheric track and a more aggressive, bass-heavy rocker.
The group then stroll the city ("this is a crazy town to walk in... those taxis don't stop they just hit the gas") during a few hours off before heading to their gig. They meet fans in the street, including one young devotee who even brings out a mandolin to cover a Switchfoot song. They have a long talk and even console the fan, whose sister, also a hardcore Switchfoot obsessive and musician, recently passed away.
"This tour especially, it seems like every person we meet has some sort of story," says Foreman. "We all deal with pain and loss differently. But for whatever reason, the music has been bringing those stories out. So to hear someone talk about losing their sister, the music can bring healing out of that."
He pauses then adds, "That's what it's all about."
Watch the full behind-the-scenes clip above, then check out the trailer for Switchfoot's Fading West documentary below.