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Written Work

Chaos vs. Control
May 11, 2015

The space between Chaos and Control:

"Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man." -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

Last night, I was playing a solo set in a club just outside of Cincinnati. We were nearing the end of the night when, all of a sudden, the lights went out. It was odd; we didn't lose power to the microphones or the PA, but somehow the lighting console had crashed. In that uncertain moment something beautiful happened: The entire crowd began to light the stage with cell phones and cigarette lighters. It was truly magic -- a crowd of strangers knit together in a moment of pure, spontaneous beauty. An unplanned instant of joy born out of chaos...

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Recording Is the Art of Forgetting - Enjoy Yourself
December 1, 2014

"Recording is the art of forgetting." I found the phrase written in my journal the other day. I suppose it's only fitting that I seem to have forgotten where I first heard it. If the phrase is true, then I've forgotten a lot -- I've made a career out of it even. I live in an age of digital media where all is recorded -- videos, selfies, closed circuit TV, Facebook and Twitter capture most of the human experience. If a tree falls in the forest and no one posts a picture on Instagram, did it make a sound? Maybe. Maybe not...

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When We Come Alive
September 10, 2014

"Life is a concept, not a reality." -- Ferris Jabr

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

What does it mean to be alive? Is it breath? Growth? A steady succession of thoughts, feelings or actions? Scientists have no definite answer to the question. They say life is a process, not just a specific collection of materials. Bacteria, plants and humans all demonstrate radically different ways of being alive. So the question comes back to you: How do you define life? In many ways, the answer will come to define you...

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Madness and the Crayfish Factory
June 19, 2014

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved..." -- Jack Kerouac

Madness is relative; you could say that one man's insanity is another man's pleasure. The dragons that some of us are running from are the very dragons that others are chasing. My own form of madness began at a little pub in Kommetjie, South Africa. My bandmates and I were enjoying one last meal together with our hosts and the local crew. After a couple of amazing weeks in South Africa, it was time to go home. Smiles and laughter accompanied some great food and an incredible group of people: the perfect way to end the trip. But our journey to South Africa had one more adventure left in it: that night, our drummer Chad had taken a dare...

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April 30, 2014

Sometimes perspective only comes in the rear-view mirror, looking back on life. My journey into adulthood started a few months after I turned 20, recording the first Switchfoot album with a couple of friends. We had no real agenda -- just a couple of songs and a shared love for music. We didn't take anything too seriously, (least of all ourselves) so we named the record The Legend of Chin after my best friend Willis Chin, and we put pictures of him all over the CD instead of us. Why? No reason, really. If we had a manger at the time she might have called it a bad career move. But we had no manager and no career. We were young and life was an incredible adventure: a question mark that had no definite answer. No maps, no responsibilities, and no rules -- just a couple of friends with a reckless excitement for the road ahead...

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Why I Refuse To Protest Protestors
March 27, 2014

Rock and roll has been my education ever since I dropped out of college. But not even college and certainly not rock and roll could have prepared me for what I experienced the other day. My band and I were in Oklahoma on tour -- hanging out backstage getting ready for the show when I heard a loud voice yelling out in front the venue. I thought it must be some sort of emergency so I grabbed a jacket and ran outside to see what had happened. As I rounded the corner I was shocked at what I saw. There was a line of people waiting to get into the venue. And across the street there were a few folks gathered around a man with a megaphone shouting that "Switchfoot will lead you straight to hell"...

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Music Lessons
October 5, 2012

Nietzsche said "without music, life would be a mistake." And, though I've made plenty of mistakes in music and in life, I think I agree with him. Music has given me a language that words cannot. In many ways, my life lessons have been music lessons: the song has taught me how to live and life has taught me how to sing. I want you to join me in my music lessons. I want to convince you that the your song is important.

In our society that values practicality, music appears to be superfluous and unnecessary. At first glance, music has no utilitarian purpose. The song itself cannot harvest grain or cook a chicken or anything like that. Using our pragmatic school system as a barometer, our society places very little importance on the value of music. Our budget cuts have declared an education in the arts to be all but expendable. Yes, there is math and science and language in music. But the human experience illustrates the importance of music better than the equations...

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