★ BLUE OCTOBER
From page 14 of Classic Rock Magazine November 2006
Meet the Texan band whose eclectic sound is amalgam of mood-altering drugs, answerphone messages, Imogen Heap on backing vocals and, er, electric violins.
WORDS: SIÂN LLEWELLYN
It’s taken the best part of a decade for Blue October to become America’s latest overnight success as their massive hit single Hate Me dominates US rock radio. These days it might be de rigeur for bands to capitalise upon a ‘woe is me, I’m depressed’ schtick, but for Blue October it’s the real deal. Frontman Justin Furstenfeld has been in therapy since he was barely a teenager and today controls his depression through medication. So when Classic Rock speaks to the man who spits out lyrics like ‘ Hate me today/Hate me tomorrow/Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you ’ like his life depends upon it, it’s a surprise to find him affable, charming and quick to laugh.
“I already thought we were successful,” smiles Justin, when asked how the new-found glory is affecting him. “Just making a living by making music was enough of an achievement for me.”
Furstenfeld is something of a musical Anglophile, and Blue October’s fifth album Foiled is full of British influences. He cites The Cure, The Smiths and Peter Gabriel as favourites, and you may recognise the backing vocalist upon Congratulations – a song that owes a debt to Marillion – as British singersongwriter Imogen Heap. “I’m still a bit shocked by that one,” admits Justin. “I never thought it would happen, but I sent her the song and she liked it.”
Although Blue October signed to major label Universal early on in their
career, they were dropped after two albums. “We weren’t selling records,” shrugs the singer. “And however romantically you look at rock’n’roll, it’s still a business. We understood that.” It’s also the reason the band had no qualms in re-signing with them when they subsequently scored a minor hit on the American Wedding soundtrack.
In a twist of fate, the release of the single that has pushed them over the edge – the aforementioned Hate Me (which features a genuine answer-phone message from Justin’s mother) – coincided with an accident that has rendered the usually active frontman incapacitated. “Right now I have a broken knee,” he says. Not that that’s stopped the band touring, they just drafted in an extra guitarist. “I just have to use crutches and I sit on a stool so I can’t play guitar. It’s not the most rock’n’roll image, but at least we’re still getting out there.”
One thing you notice when you see Blue October live is their “notso-secret weapon”, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye (the band is completed by guitarist CB Hudson, bassist Matt Noveskey and Justin’s brother Jeremy on drums). “The thing with Ryan,” confides Justin, “is that one second he’s playing the violin and the next he’s on mandolin. Then he’ll play piano and sing on nearly every song. He definitely helps us be as original as we are.”
• Foiled is out now on Universal Records