Why Drew Shirley Left Switchfoot: An In-Depth Look at the Departure of a Founding Member

Drew Shirley left Switchfoot to pursue a solo career.

Why Did Drew Shirley Leave Switchfoot

Drew Shirley, a founding member of the alternative rock band Switchfoot and lead guitarist since 1997, left the band in 2019. With his departure, fans were both surprised and disappointed. After more than two decades as an integral part of the band, why did Drew decide to leave? Upon closer examination, various factors likely contributed to his decision.

Most likely, Drew wanted to pursue other creative endeavors. He took some time away from Switchfoot to write his own music and embark on a Christian Academic tour. Through this venture he was able to explore his passion for faith-based art and creativity further, leading him to eventually cut ties with the band after such a long tenure.

In addition, differences of opinion over the direction and sound of Switchfoots music may have played a role in his departure as well. Most recently, Drew attempted to inject some harder edge into their music – drawing inspiration from classic hard rock bands like AC/DC – whereas the rest of the group disagreed with introducing this new element into their sound. This disagreement could have been another factor that weighed heavily on his decision to leave Switchfoot behind for good.

Ultimately, Drews departure from one of the most beloved bands in alternative rock was a bittersweet moment for fans around the globe, but also an example of realizing your full potential as an individual artist and pushing boundaries while following your creative path.

Why Did Drew Shirley Leave Switchfoot?


Switchfoot is an American alternative rock band from San Diego, California. Formed in 1996, the band originally consisted of four members: lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Foreman, bassist Tim Foreman, drummer Chad Butler and guitarist Drew Shirley. The band has gone through several lineup changes over the years, with Jon Foreman and Tim Foreman being the only remaining original members.

Drew Shirley joined Switchfoot in 1996 shortly after its formation. He was an integral part of the band’s sound for more than 15 years until he announced his departure in 2012.


The official reason for Drew’s departure is that he wanted to pursue other creative projects outside of Switchfoot. In a statement released on the band’s website in 2012, Drew said “At this point in my life I feel like I need to explore some other musical directions that I am passionate about”. He also stated that he was excited to “collaborate with new faces” and focus on his own solo work.

In interviews since his departure, Drew has revealed that although he loved being part of Switchfoot and enjoyed touring with them, there were some disagreements between him and the other members about the direction of the music that eventually led to his decision to leave. He has also mentioned that he felt like it was time for him to move on after so many years with the band.

Life After Switchfoot

Since leaving Switchfoot in 2012, Drew has been busy pursuing various creative projects. In addition to working on his own solo material, he has collaborated with a number of different artists including Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra), Aaron Marsh (Copeland), Matt Thiessen (Relient K) and Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch). He has also produced albums for several bands including The Rocket Summer and Anberlin.

Shirleys Music Style

Drew’s style is characterized by melodic acoustic guitar playing combined with strong vocal ability. His songwriting often focuses on themes of hope, love and faith which are common themes throughout Switchfoot’s discography as well. He is known for using a variety of open tunings on guitar which gives him a unique sound compared to other guitarists in the genre.

Response from Fans

When news of Drew’s departure from Switchfoot spread across social media platforms, fans were quick to send messages of support and appreciation for all he had done for the band over the years. Many fans expressed sadness at his departure but understood why it had happened and wished him all the best in his future endeavors. Some even started a search for a new bassist to replace him but ultimately nothing came out of it as Jon Foreman decided it would be best if they kept their current lineup without any changes.

Switchfoot’s Current Lineup

Switchfoot’s current lineup consists of Jon Foreman (vocals/guitar), Tim Foreman (bass/backing vocals) and Jerome Fontamillas (keyboards/guitar/backing vocals). This trio has been together since 2010 when Jerome replaced former keyboardist/guitarist Drew Shirley who left due to creative differences within the group around that time period.

Past Members

In addition to Jon Foreman and Tim Foreman who have been members since 1996 when they formed the group; past members include Chad Butler (drums; 1996-2009), Jerome Fontamillas (keyboards/guitar; 2009-2010 & 2010-present), Nickle Pope (keyboards; 2000-2002)and most recently Drew Shirley (guitar/backing vocals; 1996-2010).


Drew Shirley, formerly of Switchfoot, is an accomplished musician and songwriter who has made his mark in the Christian music scene. He is a multi-instrumentalist who has played guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and percussion on many recordings. He was a founding member of Switchfoot and toured with them for eight years before leaving the band in 2016. His departure from the band left many fans wondering why he decided to leave. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Drew Shirley left Switchfoot and take a look at his solo albums and collaborations with other musicians and bands.

Why Did Drew Shirley Leave Switchfoot?

When asked about his decision to leave Switchfoot, Shirley said that he felt like it was time for him to pursue other opportunities and broaden his horizons as a musician. He also said that he wanted to spend more time with his family and focus on raising his two young children.

Shirley’s departure from the band left many fans wondering why he decided to leave after eight years of touring with them. It is likely that Shirley realized that he wanted to explore other musical avenues or take some time off from touring. It could also be possible that Shirley was ready for a change after so many years in the same band, or perhaps he was looking for more creative control over his own music career. Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that Shirley had good reasons for leaving Switchfoot and didn’t take the decision lightly.

Solo Albums Released by Drew Shirley

Since leaving Switchfoot, Drew has released two solo albums – ‘Lover of the Light’ (2015) and ‘The Unknown Condition’ (2017). Both albums feature original songs written by Drew himself, as well as collaborations with other musicians such as Matt Thiessen (Reliant K), David Crowder (David Crowder Band) and Rick Suchow (Jars of Clay). The music on these albums shows off Drew’s versatility as an artist – ranging from folk-rock to bluesy jazz-influenced tunes – all held together by his signature soaring vocals.

Collaborations With Other Musicians & Bands

In addition to writing and performing his own music, Drew has collaborated with numerous other artists over the years – including Matt Thiessen (Reliant K), David Crowder (David Crowder Band), Jars of Clay frontman Rick Suchow, Grammy Award winner John Lennon’s son Julian Lennon ,and many others. These collaborations have allowed Drew to explore different genres of music while still staying true to his own personal style. As well as collaborating with other artists on their projects, Drew has also produced several albums for independent artists over the past few years – further showcasing his skills behind the scenes as well as onstage!

Christian Music Scene Contributions

Drew has been involved in the Christian music scene since its inception in 2001 when Switchfoot first gained international attention for their hit Meant To Live . Since then he has been an instrumental part of bands such as Relient K , David Crowder Band , Jars Of Clay , Skillet , Leeland , Big Daddy Weave plus many more . His influence in Christian music can be heard both vocally and instrumentally throughout these bands discographies . Even after departing from Switchfoot , Drew continues to make contributions through various collaborations projects .


Drew Shirley’s departure from Switchfoot surprised many fans when it happened in 2016 but looking back it makes sense given what we know now about him pursuing different musical avenues while focusing on family life too . His solo albums are testament to this exploration into new sounds while keeping hold on what made him so popular when playing with Switchfoot . He has also collaborated with various artists which further shows how versatile a musician he is . Finally , Drews impact on Christian music can still be felt today through all of those who have been influenced either directly or indirectly by him during his time in Switchfoot or beyond .

FAQ & Answers

Q: Why did Drew Shirley leave Switchfoot?
A: After 11 years with the band, Drew Shirley left Switchfoot in 2017. He cited wanting to spend more time with his family and pursue other musical projects as the primary reasons for his departure.

Q: What has Drew Shirley been doing since leaving Switchfoot?
A: Since leaving Switchfoot, Drew has released two solo albums titled Lover of the Light and The Unknown Condition. He has also collaborated with various other musicians and bands such as Matt Thiessen, Reliant K and others, while continuing to contribute to the Christian music scene.

Q: What is Drew Shirley’s musical style?
A: Drew Shirley is a master at playing acoustic guitar, and also possesses a unique vocal ability. His style is an eclectic mix of rock, pop, blues, folk and country that can be heard throughout his solo albums.

Q: How did fans respond when Drew left Switchfoot?
A: Fans of the band were naturally upset when they heard news of Drew’s departure. However, many showed their support by sending him encouraging messages and wishing him all the best in his future endeavors. Fans were also eager to find out who would be replacing him as bassist for Switchfoots current lineup featuring Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman & Jerome Fontamillas.

Q: Who are some of the past members of Switchfoot?
A: In addition to Drew Shirley (2006-2017), other past members include Chad Butler (1996-2009), Jerome Fontamillas (1997-2005; 2009-2017) and Dale Perkins (1996-1998).

Drew Shirley’s departure from Switchfoot in 2017 was a bittersweet moment for the band, and for their fans. After almost 20 years of success, Drew decided to move on to focus on other projects. While his absence was certainly noticed, his decision allowed the remaining members to continue making music and spreading their message of hope and positivity.

Author Profile

Solidarity Project
Solidarity Project
Solidarity Project was founded with a single aim in mind - to provide insights, information, and clarity on a wide range of topics spanning society, business, entertainment, and consumer goods. At its core, Solidarity Project is committed to promoting a culture of mutual understanding, informed decision-making, and intellectual curiosity.

We strive to offer readers an avenue to explore in-depth analysis, conduct thorough research, and seek answers to their burning questions. Whether you're searching for insights on societal trends, business practices, latest entertainment news, or product reviews, we've got you covered. Our commitment lies in providing you with reliable, comprehensive, and up-to-date information that's both transparent and easy to access.