“My favorite thing about playing TC is getting to see Matt’s parents,” said lead vocalist and guitarist Justin Furstenfeld. “The Noveskys are like our second parents – hi Bill, hi Linda, we love you!” No wonder Northern Michigan shows are something of a homecoming for the alt rock band.
Brother Jeremy Furstenfeld tackles drum duties. C.B. Hudson joins up on guitar, while Ryan Delahoussaye takes a multi-instrumental role. And on bass, Matt Novesky - a Traverse City hometown boy.
Formed in 1995 by brothers Justin and Jeremy Furstenfeld, Ryan Delahoussaye, and TC homie Matt Novesky, the band was discovered by music manager Michael Rand while performing at a cafe in Houston, and were immediately booked on an extensive tour.
The band took that opportunity and ran with it, releasing a half-dozen albums from 1998-2011 and scoring a number two hit with their single “Hate Me.”
Now they’re on album number seven, “Sway,” which is still going strong nine months after its release, and has been called their “most accessible” and thoughtful album to date.
Helping the album along is the video for the set’s title track, a shadowy yet optimistic clip that finds Furstenfeld channeling a little of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz, and a lot of U2’s Bono, as the rest of his band sets down a solid foundation.
The title track’s video underscores embracing life to the fullest, Justin Furstenfeld said.
“The only idea I wanted to put across was that each of the members of Blue October are a family - we complete each other as a team,” he said.
The aim was to see each bandmate in their element, he continued.
“Going into the shoot, I wanted everyone confident and happy with themselves, so when it was finished, we got to see each member in a place of peace,” he said.
The initial idea for the video wasn’t so esoteric, however: It was more along the lines of the plot line from the movie “Footloose,” an idea that quickly got kicked to the curb.
“It was originally supposed to be a video about renegade teenagers who lived in a place where dancing and music were forbidden,” he said. “That is until I rethought it and said, ‘Nah!’”
Blue October is enjoying critical and fan reaction to “Sway,” and planning their summer tour, including that much-anticipated stop in TC.
Justin Furstenfeld – whose difficult struggles with depression, addiction, and loss have often surfaced in his song lyrics – is looking more confident and healthy, as well. He’s given up drugs, alcohol, and smoking to focus on making the most of his musical talents.
It’s been a long road for the band, but they’ve learned how to roll with the punches, and that’s found them success, and hopefully a little of that peace that Furstenfeld talked about, too.
“I truly believe we are blessed to still be able to do this for a living,” he said. “And I’m really grateful that we continue to just make honest music from our hearts.”
Blue October will be in concert at Ground Zero in Traverse City on Fri., May 23. For more info, visit groundzeroonline.com or blueoctober.com.