Blue October’s front man Justin Furstenfeld wears his heart on his sleeve, then wipes it onto a sheet of paper. Not literally, but anyone who’s listened to the singer-songwriter’s lyrics, be it mega-hit “Hate Me” or past, poignant tracks like “Jump Rope,” knows that anything he’s feeling is expressed in his songs.
When he was sitting down to write the band’s sixth album, “Any Man in America” (out Aug. 16), Furstenfeld was going through arguably the worst period of his life: divorce and a custody battle. The songwriting process, as it’s always been for the lead singer, was therapeutic, but his personal battles continue.
I spoke with Furstenfeld about what he’s been going through lately, the album (the first single, “The Chills,” is about feeling so helpless in a situation that you want to explode) and the band, which will tour this fall.
Jon Chattman: You’ve never been one to run from your problems in your music. During the writing process, do you ever consider that you’re baring your soul too much? Is there such a thing?
Justin Furstenfeld: Yeah, I do, and yes, there is such a thing. I think when baring your soul ends up hurting more than helping, then it’s too much. But that’s why I started Up/Down Records, to ensure that I can keep making reality music. I know what I want and how to get it. If I don’t, I’ll ask for help.
JC: Going through a custody battle and divorce must have been a terribly painful time. Does this album have an upside, lyrically? Where does the situation stand now, if you don’t mind me asking?
JF: Honestly, the situation is worse than ever. Every day I’m faced with the awful truth that not one single rule or guideline of the agreed-to parenting plan has ever been met. Yet I show up on time every time for my daughter, flying cross-country from Texas to Lincoln every other month, and upon arrival it’s a coin toss whether she’ll show up. Now being the sole provider, this puts me in a position where I am watching her savings account go from “set in stone” to “someone help me.”