Blue October Vocalist Gets Personal on New Album [Interview]

Story by Anne Erickson

Blue October frontman says everybody can relate to themes on ‘Any Man in America’

Texas hard rock quintet Blue October have a knack for delivering passionately performed modern rock nuggets and lyrics that are so personal, they hurt. On the band’s just released album, Any Man in America, frontman Justin Furstenfeld finds himself as vulnerable as ever, opening up to the listener with tales of divorce and a custody battle that overlap a sea of heavy guitars and thick rhythms.

Emotive, earnest and real are good descriptors for the new album, and the mix will likely appeal to their core of loyal fans, as well as Blue October newbies.

A few hours before a gig in Dallas, Furstenfeld chatted with Audio Ink Radio about the new album (“It’s basically an audio journal”), touring and why Any Man in America has “a story behind it everybody can relate to.”

Blue October are out on a cross-country trek, mixing acoustic and plugged-in shows. Which do you prefer?

It really depends on my mood. For the acoustic gigs, I get to sit back and chill and concentrate on words. I like the electric stuff, because I can go crazy and the energy is off the wall. So, it really depends on the mood, because I like both.

You dropped your sixth studio album, Any Man in America, last week, and it debuted a soaring No. 8 on Billboard. Would it be accurate to say this is your most personal album yet?

Yes, it’s very personal. It’s about my God-given right to be a dad, and it may sound like a stretch, because most bands don’t want to talk about something so personal, but I found out most deadbeat dads aren’t deadbeat dads: They’re just bankrupt and can’t afford to pay [child support] anymore. I was frustrated with the legal system, and the more honest I am, it seems the more people want me to shut up. It’s like, now that my daughter is in the target’s view, you want me to be quiet about that? No. I’m open about everything.

Did you find the songs took on a particular theme?

It’s basically an audio journal. When I was a kid, I was always told I said too much, and I was always honest. I’ve never regretted being honest, and I’ve never gotten in trouble for being honest, until now. Why? Because it has to do with my daughter. It doesn’t make sense that the more honest you are, the more trouble you get in.

Why the title, Any Man in America?

Because the album is about that this can happen to any man in America. This doesn’t just relate to me. I’ve heard of thousands of cases of people in same boat as me, and they can’t see their kids because they’ve been accused of something they didn’t do. … It’s always on my mind because of my daughter. I have a very supportive girlfriend who helped me through everything, and I don’t know how she does it. She’s a great role model.

What are you most proud of on the album?

The fact I could actually have a vessel to get this out when I wasn’t allowed to talk about it in court, and that I got it out in a way people want to listen to it. I think it sounds fun and wonderful, but has a story behind it that everybody can relate to. Everybody has heard of divorce, love and loss.

Blue October are touring Europe in October and November, and you’ve already toured the U.S. extensively this year. What do enjoy about being out on the road?

I like that I stay busy, and it’s out of my studio. When I’m at home, I’m constantly writing, and I never stop. I have to remember to take my girlfriend on a date and do things like that. I’m out of the loop, because I’m writing so much. So, touring makes me stay active.

Photo credit: Teresa Jolie.

 

Watch Blue October’s Official Video for ‘The Chills’:




4 Comments

  1. […] Read the entire interview here. […]

  2. Whitney Parajon
    24 Aug 2011, 5:31 pm

    Great interview! Just enjoyed a small, private acoustic show and the big balls-to-the-wall show on the same day in Dallas last week. Best. Day. Ever. He’s right, though. His music is so raw and so emotional that you almost feel uncomfortable listening to it. It makes you want to cringe and cry and scream and runaway all at the same time. I had goosebumps through both shows. I’d interviewed his brother, Jeremy, a few years back and wrote an article about the band. I brought it to the show last week and they all signed it and made a point to thank me for what I wrote. Now that’s a real band.

  3. Kathy
    24 Aug 2011, 8:08 pm

    I agree with Justin’s frustrations…a Dad who truly wants to be with his child…but have to mention the MANY Mom’s who raise kids on their own because the dads have moved on and left them to be both Mom and Dad…with no help…I feel hid pain…but Aldo feel for other who are on the other side in just as much pain!

  4. Tim
    13 Sep 2011, 12:57 pm

    As a single dad, and a Blue October fan from back in the day… Justin hit it right on the mark! Any Man in America!

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