Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld Talks About His Mental Breakdown
After achieving his dream of becoming a successful full-time musician, Blue October vocalist-guitarist Justin Furstenfeld almost lost it all.
After forming in the mid-’90s, Blue October became an alternative rock radio staple when their fourth album, 2006’s ‘Foiled,’ hit pay dirt. The record yielded two smash singles: ‘Hate Me’ and ‘Into the Ocean.’ All of a sudden, Furstenberg and his bandmates became a headlining act. In 2009 Blue October released ‘Approaching Normal,’ their first album since finding stardom. Unfortunately, it was around that time that things started to go sour for Furstenfeld.
On October 22, 2009, Blue October announced that the rest of their tour had been canceled due to Furstenfeld suffering a severe mental anxiety attack. Even though he would end up returning to live performing a few months later, rumors still swirled about Furstenfeld’s mental state. “I’m ready to say it all today,” laughs Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld during a tell-all interview with Noisecreep. The singer is on the line promoting Blue October’s upcoming album, ‘Any Man in America.’
“What happened was that I had been touring for 20 years of my life, trying to build some kind of career in music,” he said. “Finally I had a song called ‘Hate Me’ blow up, but I had never wanted to be famous. My goal was to try and have the kind of career Cocteau Twins or Red House Painters had — a cool band type of thing. But all of sudden Blue October got really big, really quick. In the middle of all that happening, I got married and had a child.
“My daughter ended up changing my life. She inspired me to get sober and try and be the best man ever. But the problem was that I was never home, so the relationship between her mom and I started to wither away. It got to the point where I came home from tour and discovered some things about her,” says Furstenfeld.
Since he was being so candid, Noisecreep dug deeper. “Basically, my ex admitted to me that she was also in love with some other dude and had been for the last 10 months,” Furstenfeld said. “She told me this the day I was supposed to go to Capitol Hill to talk about suicide prevention. To make things worse, I also found out that my daughter had been treating this gentleman as her dad.
“It was so hard to take. I never cheated on her — I respect women too much. So it’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m just standing there getting told this. I couldn’t even cry because my poor little daughter is looking at me. I remember my coffee cup dropping to the floor. Then the cab gets there to bring me to the airport and I had to hug my daughter and tell her everything was going to be OK even though I was devastated.”
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Once Furstenfeld got to the airport, things got even worse. “I remember getting on the airplane, but I don’t remember anything else. I supposedly walked off the plane in Minneapolis and asked for a police officer to assist me because I was going to get back onto the plane and hurt someone. I don’t remember any of that except for getting patted-down and being put into a police car.
“The cop then tells me that I’m going to a state hospital. My father is a retired police office and had been on the phone with them and he explained that I wasn’t a threat. He also told them that I had bi-polar and blackout issues in the past when I had lost control of certain situations. We’re talking about my little girl asking me, ‘Where are you going? When are you coming back?’ All of those emotions blew up on the plane. So I ended up staying in the hospital for some time.”
Stay tuned until next week for the next part of our exclusive interview with Furstenfeld.
‘Any Man in America’ will hit stores this summer via Up/Down Records/RED Distribution.