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 with 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 – I have to keep myself good – 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 – 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 Dec. 6, 2013
Caring Santa is a private event at Southridge Mall for children and young adults with special needs who want to visit Santa in an environment that's comfortable for them.
Published Dec. 5, 2013
Perhaps the coolest part of staying at a hotel built inside a former brewery is that it really feels like you're staying at a hotel built inside a former brewery. From the moment we walked into the Brewhouse Inn Suites - in the former Pabst brewhouse - we were swept up in brewing history.
Published Dec. 4, 2013
Brady Street will once again get in on the Festivus action on Saturday, Dec. 7 and attendees will have a chance to air their grievances and participate in feats of strength in an effort to win the highly coveted Festivus pole.
Published Dec. 3, 2013
Splash Studio in the Third Ward announced today that it is in the process of expanding and will more than double the size of the space.
Published Dec. 3, 2013
A couple of months ago, OnMilwaukee.com shared the news that the Walker's Point Youth & Family Center was its charity of choice for Potawatomi's Miracle On Canal Street Program. OnMilwaukee.com continues to support Walker's Point Youth and Family Center beyond the Miracle program, too, and plans to donate a variety of items for the holidays. The organization could use your help, too.
Published Dec. 3, 2013
Some big changes are underway at Lakefront Brewery, but not for the beer.
Published Dec. 2, 2013
This weekend, Justin Carlisle will open an underground, after-hours ramen noodle shop inside Ardent, his restaurant located at 1751 N. Farwell Ave.
Published Dec. 2, 2013
If you're still planning to scoop up local gifts for those luckies on your list, here's another opportunity to do so. On Friday, Dec. 6 the artists in the Marshall Building, 207 E. Buffalo St., are hosting a Last Minute Art Show.
Published Dec. 1, 2013
Camp Bar turned one this month and so OnMilwaukee.com caught up with co-owner Natalia Hackbarth to reflect on the past year - and the future - of this Shorewood bar.
Published Nov. 30, 2013
Order a coffee drink at Coffeetails, connected to the Y-Not II, and feel free to get it with more than just cream or sugar. Frangelico, Baileys, Chambord, Kahlua, Godiva chocolate raspberry vodka or Rumchata - many of which are available in small "airplane" bottles - are just a few of the options.