Blue October frontman Justin Furstenfeld is on tour promoting his book of lyrics and writings called "Crazy Making." The book explains what's behind many of Blue October's songs.
The tour, called "An Open Book: An Evening With Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October," stops at Turner Hall on Saturday, April 13. Tickets are $25.
The shows feature a spoken word performance, an acoustic set and a question-and-answer session where fans write down questions and he answers them with honesty.
Blue October is a Texas-based American rock band that formed in 1995. Furstenfeld's brother, Jeremy, is the band's drummer.
Furstenfeld has indeed been an open book about his struggles with bipolar disorder, anxiety and psychotic tendencies through his lyrics, writing and spoken word pieces. He is also sharing his new-found joys of being a husband and father.
I chatted withÂ Furstenfeld on the phone today.
Molly: So how's the tour so far?
Justin Furstenfeld: Great. We were in Denver last night and a blizzard rolled through. I'm from Texas where that would be the end of the world, but actually, I like snow.
Molly: Are you on tour with your family?
JF: Yes, I only tour with my wife and daughter. I got married about a year ago and I have a 7-month-old daughter.
When I travel with Blue October, they come with me, too. We have a separate bus. I don't drink or do anything anymore â€“ I have to keep myself good â€“ and we just need more of a family bus now.
It's fun. We watch a lot of Wiggles. That's the job I want someday.
Molly: Have you written any material for kids?
JF: Yeah, I mess around. My wife tells me to put a book out about a punk rock kid touring the country and I will someday. I love kids. I know I sound like a wah-wah, but it's true.
Molly: How has being a dad affected your art?
JF: It's made my art more intense. It's opened the door to a whole other realm of my own innocence from when I was a kid. I lost it along the way, and when I had a child it opened that door back up. It's really something else to go back and live through someone else instead of yourself.
Molly: What compelled you to write the book?
JF: I have been writing songs my whole life and people are always asking why I have to be so dramatic or why I'm so dark and so I started writing a book a long time ago about where the songs come from. So they could understand better. I got to tell the whole story behind the songs.
I always loved poetry. I grew up reading Edgar Allan Poe. I always thought the words and the songs were separate.
Molly: What appeals to you about spoken word versus singing with a band?
JF: I love the stripped-down. During this tour, I might start playing and stop and start speaking the words and then start playing again. People see that it's actually thoughts and feelings â€“ not just composed "cat and the hat on the mat."
These shows are so quiet. It's really nice to have evenings like this. It's like a meditation. And yet it's really intense, real.
Last night we had 500 in Denver and it seemed like people really understood it was coming from the heart.
It's not about entertaining in the same way (as with the band), it's about being brutually honest and real about everything you're saying.
In Denver, I was talking about how I was an a**hole. I cheated. I was not a good person. People yelled out, "You son of a b*tch!" They were mad at me and I loved it. They were giving real, honest reactions. Not, "Aw, it's OK. We love you."
I realized I messed up. And I love a real reaction. That's the beauty of making art: you're powerless over peoples' reactions.
Molly: You've struggled with mental health issues. Is art healing for you?
JF: I don't know what I would do without it. I don't know what my purpose would be. I'd still be a great father and husband, but art is the life blood. It keeps me going. It still excites me like it's Christmas Day and I'm a kid.
Molly: What should fans expect from the show?
JF: Very honest stories about where (my music and art) came from. Then the audience can write down questions, I usually get about 50, and I get some crazy questions and I answer them as truthfully and honestly as I can. Often, they don't make me look very good, but I don't care anymore. It's about putting it out there in the open.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Jan. 28, 2015
Actually, The Brass Tap, 7808 W. Layton Ave., has more than 80 brass taps, all lined up in a row behind the bar and ready to dispense craft beers - stouts to lagers to IPAs. The first Wisconsin franchise opened last week at the end of a strip mall in Greenfield.
Published Jan. 25, 2015
Whether your kid is more bouncy or more craft-oriented, there's a Brew City birthday party that can accommodate his / her wishes - and hopefully your budget.
Published Jan. 25, 2015
OnMilwaukee.com recently stopped in at Fink's for a brandy old fashioned and to talk with bartender Mario Lanza about music, travel, dogs and neck tattoos.
Published Jan. 24, 2015
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission named Kimberly Blaeser as the new Wisconsin poet laureate for 2015-16. Recently, OnMilwaukee.com caught up with Blaeser and chatted with her about her writing, her family life, how being Native American influences her work, her favorite writers, the power of a good nap and what exactly the poet laureate does.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Buddha Lounge, 1504 E. North Ave., opened on Monday and OnMilwaukee.com stopped by to sample the sushi and drink an Asian beer or two.
Published Jan. 21, 2015
Pride has always been a residual effect of riding, building or promoting Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and once again, the H-D pride is reinforced through the Harley-Davidson Museum's latest exhibit called "(P)ART: Photographs Revealing the Art of Mechanical Form." This new exhibit opened last week and runs through Sunday, May 17.
Published Jan. 18, 2015
Angela Damiani is the president of Newaukee, an organization once known as a young professionals group that rebranded itself in 2014 as a "social architecture firm." OnMilwaukee.com recently chatted with Damiani about her role in the organization, her vision for the future and got a peak at her life beyond Newaukee which recently included a wedding.
Published Jan. 17, 2015
Earlier this month, Steph Davies announced that her art and gift consignment shop, Waxwing, would close at the end of February. Well, plans have changed and The Waxwing will remain open through January 2016.
Published Jan. 17, 2015
Rockerbox moved to Road America in Elkhart Lake after being in Riverwest for a decade. So now get ready for the first Brewtown Rumble. The street festival will feature bikes, music, food, drinks, a swap meet, custom bike contest, vending, a pin-up girl contest and more. It take place on Sunday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Best Place.
Published Jan. 16, 2015
Earlier this week, the Estabrook Beer Garden was vandalized. Although insurance will cover the cost of repair, a $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest of the people responsible for the vandalism.