Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld on His Fatherhood Struggles and Public Image
Next week, Blue October will release ‘Any Man in America,’ their sixth studio album. The 13 song collection finds the Texas band delivering more of the emotionally-charged melodic rock they’re famous for. Lead vocalist and songwriter Justin Furstenfeld’s lyrics are also as raw as ever. In the last few years the singer has dealt with a battery of personal issues and it all comes pouring out on the new record. Besides an emotionally draining struggle with his ex-wife, Furstenfeld was also thrown into a mental hospital when he suffered a breakdown on an airplane.
“These past few years have been hell,” Furstenfeld tells Noisecreep during a recent conversation with the Blue October founder. “It’s been such a tough time dealing with my mental breakdown and the custody issues. All of my friends just disappeared from my life. It was just me and my songs in the studio for two years straight. I was only seeing my daughter every two months for four days – and that’s if she would show up. For example, I have to go pick her up tomorrow morning in Nebraska and bring her back to Texas for seven days. But she called me up this morning say that she didn’t want to be around me because of someone I’ve been seeing. I felt like saying, “I already bought the tickets. That’s your college fund I’m using up.” I feel a little strange being this honest with you, but I know there are a lot of men going through the same thing as I am right now,” says an exhausted Furstenfeld.
In the past few years, Furstenfeld’s public persona has bit blown to bits. Rumors about his drug abuse and relationship drama have often overshadowed his great work with Blue October. Noisecreep asked the singer how he felt about the press calling him his own worst enemy. “I know a lot people think that I’m nuts. But when you get a text from some guy saying, “I’m going to treat you like John Lennon and blow your face off.” Then tell me if I’m my own worst enemy or that I’m crazy. Or you have some chick tapping into your computer and you find out that she lives two streets down from you. I’ll tell you what, if I’m my own worst enemy, then I’m a damn good one because I’ve sold a million records. No, I don’t talk about these things because I want come off dramatic. It’s just real life. I’m not acting here.”
Watch ‘The Chills’ from Blue October
Noisecreep then asks Furstenfeld if he thinks his raw and emotive lyrics in Blue October sometimes gives away too much about his personal life. “Of course my lyrics attract people that are going through the stuff that I am. That’s why I do it. I do it for those people. I don’t write music for people that are brave. Blue October isn’t meant for dudes that wake up and say, “I’m the sh–!” I write for people in pain.”
On ‘Any Man in America,’ Furstenfeld’s vocals bring to mind Peter Gabriel’s alluring blend of delicacy and power. “I grew up on his solo stuff and I’ve always been a huge fan of his voice. He has a really great way of being dramatic but not too personal. He’s kind of vague in his delivery. Sometimes I scream at my radio, “Dude, just say it! What’s her name, what’s her number and where does she live?” But that’s not Peter [laughs].
“I’ve always been into songwriters that call people out on their sh–. But if you’re going to do that as a writer, you have to be willing to point the finger right back at yourself too. I definitely have no problem doing that.”
Blue October’s ‘Any Man in America’ will be out on August 16th.