Having crashed Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart with breakthrough single “Hate Me,” Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld was looking forward to changing things up with a happy album about his new life as a father.
Then his marriage fell apart, a bitter custody battle ensued and Furstenfeld responded to the pain and indignation with a blow-by-blow account in the form of a concept album, the just-released “Any Man in America.”
Here’s Furstenfeld on one of rock’s more unflinchingly personal breakup albums ever.
Question: How did it feel to share such intensely personal lyrics (not that your other lyrics haven’t been personal)?
Answer: I had no choice. I was backed into a corner. When I was making this album, it was gonna be strictly about being happy with the family. It was supposed to be my happy album. Then, I started going through a divorce and a custody battle. And accusations started being thrown my way.
At first, I started laughing. I was like, “Yeah, right. Who’s gonna believe that?” And judges and courts started believing it.
So I put this album out because I needed people to know what was going on. . . .
I’m damn proud that I put it all out there, because I need my daughter to know that I wasn’t any of those things that Mommy said I was. I didn’t want to be in jail going, “Hi, honey, it’s me. I didn’t do that, really.”
I know you’re probably going, “Drama, drama, drama,” but I do not know why the hell she put this kind of s- -t on me. I had three weeks to reword everything on my album or else they were coming for me. And I was like, “OK, I’m not changing a thing. I’m gonna see what you do. Come for me.”
Q: You were told you had to change things on the album?
A: I was told I had to publicly take back all the horrible things I’d said. I’m like, “No, they were facts.” And I can prove it. . . . So if you want to take me to court over this, we can bring up everything from the divorce, am I correct?
Q: The way you set the tone with “The Feel Again (Stay),” it sounds like you wanted things to work out.
A: My daughter, she’s so beautiful. I never wanted her to be without me. . . . And the more I wanted to see my daughter, the more they said no.
So I’m very proud of this album. I think it’s the best album that we’ve ever done, and I think it could help a lot of people if we go to the right channels, if we make it a campaign instead of just a tour. It could really help people – not just dads, but kids and parents – understand that it’s not child’s play. It’s lives, you know? I’m not trying to change the world. I’m just trying to stay out of jail.
Q: What did you think when you heard that the album had debuted at No. 8, your first Top 10 appearance?
A: I was like, “Why did it do that?” I think it was because of the $3.99 deal at Amazon. But I think this is gonna be a marathon for me. Not like a “Hate Me,” where I’m gonna rope it and ride it for two years, then do an acoustic “Hate Me.” It’s gonna be an album where I want to make a video for every single song. I want to put a book out that explains what is said and what happened. I want to get sued a little bit. I want to get in trouble a little bit so I can get things changed.
Q: Does your daughter know about the album?
A: My daughter doesn’t even know I’m in a band.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8.
Where: Foundry on First, 402 S. First St., Phoenix.
Details: 602-252-4008, dannyzeliskopresents.com.