Christmases in Southern California resemble sipping hot cocoa around a campfire at the beach, and Switchfoot wants to share that experience this holiday season.
The San Diego-based rock band is on the road with “this is our Christmas tour,” which follows the November 4 release of its “this is our Christmas album.”
To wrap up its first nationwide holiday excursion, the band will make its debut at the Mesa Arts Center’s Ikeda Theater on Sunday, December 18. The group is excited to experience the different seasons across the United States while spreading the cheer of a sunny California Christmas.
“I can’t believe it’s actually here — we have been talking about making a Christmas album for years and we finally did it, so this is our first Christmas tour,” says bassist Tim Foreman. “We put a lot into both the album and the dreaming up of this tour. It’s been a long time in the works, and I can’t wait to get on the road and see this baby get off the ground.”
Alongside Foreman, Switchfoot consists of his brother, vocalist/guitarist Jon Foreman, drummer Chad Butler and keyboardist and guitarist Jerome Fontamillas.
The band kicked off “this is our Christmas tour” just after Thanksgiving Day, and will hit 17 cities across the country.
“It’s rare to play venues, at this point in our career, that we haven’t played before,” Foreman says. “That’s always exciting.”
The bassist is looking forward to fans taking away a lighthearted sense of community from Switchfoot’s performance, which is why they make music.
“We embrace that communal aspect at our show. It’s a special, almost sacred thing. Whenever you get a bunch of humans gathered together in one space, singing the same songs, it feels deeply human to do that,” Foreman says.
“So a sense of belonging, especially in a world where we’re constantly reminded of our differences, you have a sense of unity, and Christmas is such a great time to do that.”
Each of Switchfoot’s shows is a true one-of-a-kind experience, as they rarely follow their setlists. Oftentimes, they scrap it altogether and play song requests shouted from the back of the crowd, which is what Foreman believes makes live music great.
“We feel like the people in the room are the most important part of the show,” he says. “So we take a lot of joy from being able to read the room and dive into the spirit of what feels right for that moment and who’s in the room.”
Because Switchfoot doesn’t have an opener for this tour, they’re performing two acts, beginning with a stripped down, heavily acoustic set followed by a “big rock show.” Fans can expect a blend of the band’s classic tracks from over the years and their new Christmas songs.
As a reflection of the members’ roots, the set designs include a campfire-like setup for the first act, with a beachy vibe captured in the second.
“We wanted part of both the album and the tour to bring the idiosyncratic nuances of a West Coast California Christmas to other parts of the country,” Foreman says. “The things that make Christmas in places such as California are unique to the rest of the world, and (we) embrace that.”
“this is our Christmas album” has 12 tracks, the last of which “Hometown Christmas,” features NEEDTOBREATHE.
Although Switchfoot had been discussing the creation of a Christmas album and tour for years, its “real impetus” was the pandemic in 2020. Christmas was a highlight of the year, with many people stuck at home for the holiday season and leaning into the festivities and spirit early.
While putting together cheerful playlists of his favorite holiday tunes, Foreman realized that modern Christmas songs lack the ability to “fill space” the way he wants.
As a result, the band tackled the songwriting and recording process seeking to create a collection of songs that they “want to see in the world, to actually fill that void.”
“A lot of Christmas albums are made in the middle of summer. Our album was actually recorded for the most part during Christmastime of last year,” Foreman says. “So that also felt important for us, just to be able to be wholeheartedly immersed in the season.”
“this is our Christmas tour” commenced only two months after Switchfoot’s nationwide summer trek for its 2021 album “Interrobang.” Their first full-blown tour since the pandemic, they looped around the United States with Collective Soul from July to September.
“I think one of the silver linings of having things taken away is that you no longer take them for granted,” Foreman says. “So, it was really special to get back out and play music in the same space as other people, look each other in the eyes and sing songs together.”
The band has plans lined up for the new year that they have not announced yet, so Foreman encourages fans to stay tuned.
“It’s a big year for us coming up because it marks the 20th anniversary of ‘The Beautiful Letdown,’ which was a really important album for us, and so we’ve got some things planned to celebrate that journey,” he says.
Before that, however, Foreman looks forward to a California Christmas with his family — sun, surf, sand and all.
An Evening with Switchfoot
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday, December 18
WHERE: 1 E. Main Street, Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center, Mesa
COST: Tickets start at $34.75
INFO: 480-644-6500, switchfoot.com/pages/tour