Blue October's Justin Furstenfeld Says He's In a Different Place Now
Justin Furstenfeld, the 37-year-old front man, vocalist and creative force behind Texas rockers Blue October, has turned a corner, both lyrically and in his personal life. His band's new album, Sway, released today, is a far cry from 2011's angst-ridden Any Man In America, which was written while Furstenfeld was going through both a divorce and a custody battle for his daughter.
Photo by Groovehouse Justin Furstenfeld at Sam Houston Race Park in 2010
While on tour in support of the band's previous album at the time, 2009's Approaching Normal, Furstenfeld had an interview with the Houston Press, which, to put it lightly, didn't go all that smoothly. The interview and background behind it became John Nova Lomax's controversial "Little Boy Blue" cover story, which appeared in June 2010 and outraged many among the Blue October faithful. A little more than three years later, though, the singer-songwriter sounds content to let the past be the past.
"I'm in a different place now," Furstenfeld says. "The last time I was interviewed by you guys, I was in the middle of losing my mind. It was a really dark time in my life, and I kind of lost my way for a while."
Blue October toured extensively during the Any Man era. Furstenfeld was hoping that someone, anyone, would hear his story and that one day he would wake up, and things would be different.
"That was just an album that had to be written," he says. "It wasn't for album sales; it was an album about divorce and losing time with your child.
"I was hoping that album would change laws," Furstenfeld continues, his voice dripping with contempt for his own arrogance. Then he sighs, pauses and continues with a chuckle, "but it didn't happen that way. Instead, it came across as me fighting a lost cause."
He was on the road, away from home, from his family and, despite all his efforts, he still wasn't allowed to see his daughter.
"I began drinking heavily and using again, because it was the only thing that could fight off the pain," Furstenfeld says, "and I lost what I was fighting for."
So what changed? In a word, perspective. Instead of continuing to bemoan the way things were, Furstenfeld decided to change himself for the better. At the behest and ultimatum of his friends and family, he checked himself into rehab and reemerged with a new outlook on life.
"There's no excuse for it," he remembers his wife telling him. "Get off your ass. Be a real father and a real man."
Some kind of woman.
Furstenfeld says of his wife, "This is the first girl, the first person, really, to look at me and go, 'Shut up. You think you're all that? Not right now. But I know you have it in you.'"
His life has changed, and fans will hear as much in his new music.
"The difference in the music is that I didn't write another album about how hard life is for Justin Furstenfeld," he says with a chuckle. "I mean, you're blessed to have this awesome job making music, so show them where you are now, where the band is now."
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