Red Light Management’s Bruce Flohr With Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman On Celebrating ‘The Beautiful Letdown’

Butler Family Photos August 2022
FULL-CIRCLE RELATIONSHIP: Red Light Management’s Bruce Flohr (third from left) and longtime clients Switchfoot snap a photo at Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, California, on Aug. 20, 2022. Photo by Erick Frost

When Switchfoot first met Red Light Management’s Chief Strategy Officer and EVP Bruce Flohr he was working as an A&R rep at RCA Records. Flohr explains that he was given the demos for The Beautiful Letdown, “loved them and wanted to sign the band.” But at the same time, Flohr was in conversations with Coran Capshaw to join Red Light. Negotiations at RCA ended, while Flohr headed to Red Light and Switchfoot ended up signing with Columbia Records. Fast forward a few years and Flohr ran into Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman at a 2006 show at LA’s Greek Theatre. Foreman told Flohr Switchfoot was looking for management and he and the band have been working together ever since.

Now Switchfoot is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its fourth studio album, the triple-platinum breakthrough The Beautiful Letdown, with two special releases and a 30+ date North American tour featuring the alternative rock band playing the album in its entirety.

After releasing a re-recorded version – The Beautiful Letdown (Our Version) – in May, the band is putting out The Beautiful Letdown (Our Version) [Deluxe Edition] on Sept. 15, featuring The Jonas Brothers, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, Jon Bellion, Ingrid Andress, Twenty One Pilots’ Tyler Joseph and more.

The tour launched in late August and runs through November with stops including Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, Seattle’s The Moore Theatre, Los Angeles’ The Wiltern and more.

Switchfoot has sold an average of 1,087 tickets per show with an average gross of $54,734, based on its three-year box office averages.

Pollstar: What does the album The Beautiful Letdown mean to the band and its career?
Jon Foreman: The Beautiful Letdown is a record that lives up to its name. The story of the album goes something like this: We recorded the album, got signed to a major label, and we headed off to New York City to play our first show there for the head of the label.

The evening didn’t go according to plan. The president of the label hated what he heard and walked out on us during the second song, saying he didn’t hear any hits. (Ironically he walked out during a song called “Dare You to Move,” which did really well for us).

When we got dropped we came face to face with our own insecurities. We came to the conclusion that we still believed in these songs and felt like they were worth fighting for.
So the record came out on RED and we started a tour in Florida, with three rented cars. By the time we made it back home to California, we weren’t the only ones singing the songs on the record. The album took off and sold more than 2 million copies.

For me, the entire story of The Beautiful Letdown (even getting dropped!) gives me such gratitude. That album is at the core of who we are as a band.

How did you approach re-recording The Beautiful Letdown?
Foreman: We wanted to recreate the record for everyone who’s supported us over the years, so we began recording The Beautiful Letdown (Our Version) to celebrate the journey we’ve been on together.

Some of our favorite voices have told us that that album was an important part of their musical journey. So we reached out to a few of them to see if they’d be interested in singing one of the tunes. At first it was just Tyler Joseph (from Twenty One Pilots), Jon Bellion, Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic, and the Jonas Brothers … but pretty soon every track on the album was spoken for, even the B-sides!

What’s your favorite thing about managing Switchfoot?
Bruce Flohr: What I love about being on team Switchfoot is they’re one of the few bands that you can work with where you can literally throw them into any situation and you’re confident that they’re gonna come out victorious. We have constantly challenged each other to push the envelope … and they always rise to the occasion. I think it’s part of them never believing their own hype but also there’s something about the surfer mentality where no wave is too big if you’re really good at surfing. And these guys, they just have that attitude where it’s just, “Let us paddle out. We’ll take care of the rest.”

What’s your take on working with your manager Bruce?
Foreman: Bruce is a wonderful friend and a great manager. He’s giving, passionate, and filled with wild ideas. He also loves to teach anyone who wants to learn. But his true strength is a rare combination of cockiness and humility – both attributes showing up in spades when needed.

How’s the tour going?
Foreman: So far, this tour has felt really enjoyable. To hear everyone in the room singing a song together is always my goal. … It’s not the first time we’ve played a record straight through on tour. We played Hello Hurricane straight through the album every night to tour that album. But that album came out the day the tour started – so no one knew the words until later in the tour. This time, we’ve all had 20 years to practice. Ha!

Any shows you’re especially excited about?
Flohr: The Ryman’s a pretty special place for all of us. [With] the band’s hometown in Southern California, a sold out Wiltern show is going to be very powerful. We worked with our agents at UTA (Alec Vidmar and Justin Hill) very, very closely in not only figuring out the cities, but the actual rooms that are perfect for the production we’re bringing and the story we want to tell. That’s what Switchfoot does best on stage – they really do take you on a journey, especially with this one. This tour [has] an ebb and a flow to it because it’s an entire album.

How are ticket sales going?

Flohr: Eighty percent of the shows currently are sold out and it looks like all of them will go clean. The velocity of the ticket sales shows the impact of this record. There are people that are rediscovering Switchfoot and coming out, but there’s also that new generation of fans coming out. … [Looking] at the next three years for Switchfoot, we feel very bullish about that based on the new festivals that are reaching out, wanting us to be part of their festival, and the venues and the promoters that are reaching out, wanting us to continue this tour and what’s after that.