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Remember when Christian rock conjured up images of guys with poodle perms wearing bumblebee stripes (Stryper) and high school productions of Jesus Christ Superstar stiffly performed to an amplified vinyl record?

Those a bit more in the know maybe had a few albums by nine-fingered guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy, whose meticulous picking and McCartneyesque voice would have screamed "cult audience" no matter what he sang about. Some might have followed the careers of crossover artists who left the mainstream for the Christian Bookstore Market (i.e. Kansas' Kerry Livgren) or performers who went from the latter to the former (Amy Grant's wooing of the mainstream was only assisted, perhaps assured, by all the press about members of the Christian rock community calling her a "traitor").

More recently, bands like U2, Creed, and P.O.D. have blurred the lines between Christian rock and plain old rock and roll by bringing faith to some good songs instead of just singing to the faithful.

Local-boys-made-good Switchfoot (their website header reads "Diego Rock USA") earned double-platinum sales with 2003's The Beautiful Letdown, landed two singles in the top-five Billboard charts ("Meant to Live" and "Dare You to Move"), scored gigs on The Tonight Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and sold out arenas all over the country.

Switchfoot is in the CD rack right there between Matthew Sweet and System of a Down, and their Live in San Diego DVD has been certified RIAA gold in sales (no small feat for a music DVD). The band's fifth studio album Nothing Is Sound was released September 13. Lead singer/guitarist Jon Foreman provided the following replies to our "Lists" queries:

MOST REWARDING OR ENCOURAGING THING A FAN EVER SAID TO YOU?

"'Your music got me through some tough times.' Music has done that for me, so to return the favor is always a humbling experience."

REASONS SURFING IS BETTER SKATING?

1. "Broken collarbone."

2. "Broken wrist."

3. "Broken nose."

4. "Broken finger."

5. "Several hundred scrapes and bruises would account for most of my other reasons."

IMPRESSIONS ON "THE TONIGHT SHOW" AND "CONAN"?

"The Tonight Show was extremely cold. Other than that and meeting the guest snakes, nothing really happened. However, Conan is a bit of a guitar buff and tried on my Firebird for size. He's not a bad player, either."

ANOTHER LOCAL PERFORMER YOU THINK IS DESTINED FOR FAME?

"Reeve Oliver, because incredible rock and roll tunes are hard to come by."

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