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Blue October in Royal Oak, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018

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It's taken 23 years and nine albums for Blue October's Justin Furstenfeld to be happy.

And now the once-tortured artist, who wore his struggles with substance abuse and domestic issues on the sleeve of his angsty songs, wasn't being facetious when he titled the Texas group's latest album "I Hope You're Happy."

The new set came out during mid-August and debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Alternative Albums and No. 4 on the Rock Albums charts. It's spawned the singles "I Hope You're Happy" and "Daylight," and it's also put the quintet, which also includes Furstenfeld's brother Jeremy on drums, back on the road, where fans are getting a chance to see how he's wearing his new temperament...

Furstenfeld, 42, says by phone that six years of sobriety and some settling of child custody issues from his first marriage have helped him take a different and more inclusive tact on "I Hope You're Happy." "It's not an album about Justin, really. I didn't want to do another, 'Oh, Justin is going through so much right now. Omigod, look at how saaaaaad he is...' I wanted to go, 'God, life's so f***ing good!' I truly believe that, man, come on -- this world is so crazy and life is so short, and I just found pure happiness six years ago. I'm not gonna let anything screw it up. I'm gonna be loving and kind and appreciate every moment and every relationship I can make."

The album is also Blue October's most contemporary, polished and pop-leaning release to date, stepping away from the hard rock of its predecessors and mining influences form New Wave, hip-hop, pop and even some jazz. "I really wanted to take the rock element out of it," explains Furstenfeld, who produced the album, "'cause I'm kind of in a place right now where a power chord just makes me sick to my stomach. What I love about today's music is that it's forever changing. I've always been a fan of colorful, different styles of music my whole life, and I just wanted to blend all of it and have a lot of fun, so it's all over the place and I love it."

Furstenfeld acknowledges that the stylistic shift has run afoul of some fans, but he feels that the most dedicated will understand and appreciate the change. "I think they expect something different and wacky and weird and out of the box from us. I'll be more excited if they say, 'I'm not really sure about this...,' like I did with 'OK Computer' from Radiohead at first. But if you don't raise eyebrows it means you're being too ordinary. We can always make an album where we get together and play some rock 'n' roll, but I'm just not into that right now."

Blue October and Longwave perform Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors at 7 p.m. $28.50 advance, $30 day of show. 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

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