'Honest Music for Thinking People'

Switchfoot's drummer talks about his music and faith heritage and what's playing on Jesus' iPod.

 Music from Switchfoot's New Album "Oh! Gravity"

Watch the Music Video for the Single "Oh! Gravity"

Chad Butler has music in his blood. His father, Chuck, was the lead singer and songwriter for the 70s band "Parable" and has been called a "Christian rock pioneer." Butler's band, Switchfoot, has become one of the most popular acts around--selling out shows across the country--and has been one of only a handful of groups to enjoy both mainstream and Christian radio play. Switchfoot's 2003 album, "The Beautiful Letdown," was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), received four Dove awards in 2004 and sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide due to hits, "Dare You to Move" and "Meant to Live." Their 2005 album, "Nothing Is Sound,"  was certified gold and peaked at number three on the The Billboard 200 chart. 


In 2005, Bulter spoke to Beliefnet about his faith, spirituality in mainstream music, and how surfing can be meditative. Beliefnet is reposting the interview with a music video from Switchfoot's new album, "Oh! Gravity."

How do you define your spiritual life now?

I would definitely call myself a follower of Christ. I grew up in a Christian household. My father is a pastor in a nondenominational [church], Calvary Chapel [in San Marcos, California.] And he’s a musician. [He was the lead singer/songwriter for the bands, "Parable" and "The Chuck Butler Band"].

Does he play for his church?

Yeah. He’s been a worship leader since before I was born. I think that had a great influence on me. He had a love for God and a love for music that was contagious. I actually grew up on the road in the back of a 15-passenger van on tour with his rock band. I remember sitting on the seat in the back of the van with guitars all around me, traveling around the world.

Was it a Christian rock band?

In the '70s, during the hippy Jesus movement—the hippy revival—I don’t think there was a Christian-rock genre; it was just very honest, real, heartfelt music about the most important thing in his life, which at the time was Jesus Christ. So a lot of the songs were reflecting his experience of conversion.

It’s an interesting thing now looking at my life and seeing myself on the road with my kids—many times in a 15-passenger van with guitars all around us—and feeling like I have just an amazing heritage of faith. My dad definitely influenced me in my spiritual journey.  

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Interview by Dena Ross
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