Blue October in 2009
|Origin||Houston, Texas, US|
|Labels||RoDan Entertainment/Scoop, Brando, Universal, Up/Down Records|
|The Last Wish, Imogen Heap, Zayra Alvarez, Harvard of the South, Canvas, (a+)machines|
Blue October is an American alternative rock band originally from Houston, Texas. The band was formed in 1995 and currently consists of Justin Furstenfeld (lead vocals, guitar), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums, percussion), Ryan Delahoussaye (violin/viola, mandolin, piano, backing vocals), Matt Noveskey (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Will Knaak (lead guitar). The band has had eleven top 40 singles over their past seven studio albums and is best known for their platinum singles "Hate Me" and "Into the Ocean" from their 2006 platinum album Foiled.
Blue October was formed by lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld, his brother Jeremy, and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye. The band was discovered by former Kid Rock manager Michael Rand performing at the Atchafalaya River Cafe in Houston in 1998. His agency proceeded to book over 350 dates on the group unsigned. Extensive publicity and artist development was regimented. This work eventually led to Michael bringing the band to Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris under the direction of long time A&R rep Reen Nalli. The group moved to San Marcos, Texas in December 1996 and were signed to Universal Records in 1999.
Managed by Justin and Jeremy's parents under the name RoDan Entertainment, Blue October released their first album, The Answers, in 1998; a well-received debut which sold over 5,000 copies in Houston alone. Due to a fan-based connection with ABC's KTRK-TV (Channel 13), Blue October was able to schedule an early-morning news performance -- the band's first live television performance. Other unreleased songs from this period, such as "Rust", "Colorado 5591", "His Name Is Crazy", "Gun Metal Blue", "Dollar 30 Gravy", and "5 Day Walk" can be found on YouTube.
Blue October caught the attention of the major record labels while working with producer dB (Don Byczynski) in early 1998. Pre-production started for getting Blue October a more "radio ready" sound, with new songs and to rewrite material off The Answers. Tracking was done in a studio setup at Justin's home in San Marcos, Texas. The recordings were sent to Universal, then in 1999 Blue October signed to Universal Records for the release of their second album, Consent to Treatment. The band was dropped by Universal Records in 2000.
After being dropped, the band recruited new guitarist C.B. Hudson and got back on the road. In November 2002 the band signed with Texas-based management company Rainmaker Artists. Rainmaker immediately signed to their record label. Just before entering the studio Matt Noveskey left the band for personal reasons. The remaining band members persevered on entering the studio to record what would be become their 3rd album History for Sale. The first single from History For Sale was "Calling You" released in February 2003. On March 20, 2003 radio station "102.1 the EDGE" in Dallas added "Calling You" to regular rotation, and it began to spread to radio stations across the country receiving over 56,585 spins on the US airwaves. Rainmaker took the band to New York where the band played multiple live showcases over a week period in early May 2003 for Atlantic Records, Columbia Records and Universal Records. Blue October was then offered records deals by each company. Ultimately the band returned to Universal Republic Records in May 2003. History for Sale was then re-released on Universal Republic in August 2003. History for Sale was largely a response to the control Universal had placed on the group during the Consent to Treatment production process. This is evident in songs such as "Somebody" and "Inner Glow". "Calling You" remained the group's largest mainstream success until their 2006 single, "Hate Me".
The band made their network television premiere on April 14, 2006, performing "Hate Me", the first single from Foiled on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. They appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on June 28, 2006. Blue October was also on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2006. On November 14, 2006 Blue October opened for the Rolling Stones in Boise, Idaho. Hate Me was released to Modern Rock radio stations and quickly climbed to number two on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. Hate Me remained in the top 5 of the Modern Rock chart for 20 straight weeks. While in the number two chart position "Hate Me" was jumped over twice by both Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. "Hate Me" would never reach number one. The music video for "Hate Me" debuted on VH1, later making a splash at No. 13 on VH1's user-controlled video countdown show VSpot Top 20 Countdown. It eventually peaked at No. 2 for the week ending on May 5, 2006. "Into the Ocean", the second single from the album, was released on July 17, 2006. The music video for the song debuted at number three on VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown during the show's final week of 2006 and reached the number one spot in mid-February 2007. "Into the Ocean" hit #20 on the Modern Rock Tracks. The next single from the band was "She's My Ride Home", which they performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on April 25, 2007.
On February 22, 2007 Blue October's 4th album "Foiled" was certified platinum. "Foiled" went on to sell 1.4 million albums in the US. Both "Hate Me" and "Into the Ocean" were also certified as platinum selling singles. This was heralded as special moment for the band, Rainmaker, Brando, and key executives at Universal Republic who had signed, dropped and then resigned the band.
As a result of reaching a new audience that Blue October has found with its Foiled album, Blue October has recently[when?] undergone an expansion of its tour locations. Originally restricted to Texas and parts of the Midwest and Southwest United States, Blue October is now touring locations covering the entire continental United States, in addition adding locations in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and the Netherlands to their schedule.
In August 2008, Justin featured in a sold out four-city tour with Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. During this tour, Justin premiered two new songs, "Blue Skies" and "My Never", which would be included on the band's fifth studio album. Twilight author Stephanie Meyer is a fan of Blue October, and their music has helped inspire part of the popular book series.
The band's fifth studio album, Approaching Normal, was released on March 24, 2009. It was distributed via--as its predecessors--Universal; however, the band opted to use a different production style, by using digital audio workstations like FL Studio instead of recording it with live instruments. Also, rather than Justin Furstenfeld producing the album, Approaching Normal was produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, Peter Gabriel, Dave Matthews Band). The album debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart. The band released two versions of the album, each with a different bonus track: an "explicit" version, with "The End" as the bonus track, and a "clean" version, with "Graceful Dancing" as the bonus track. "Graceful Dancing" was also released in late 2008 as a "special gift" to fans signed under the band's email list.
"Dirt Room" was the first single from the album, released on December 23, 2008. "Dirt Room" became Blue October's second Top 5 Modern Rock single (fourth Top 40 Modern Rock hit) peaking at number 7 on April 8, 2009. "Say It" was released as the second single on April 24, 2009. "Say It" was Blue October's fifth Top 40 Modern Rock hit peaking at number 29 on July 24, 2009. "Say it" also crossed over to the Hot AC radio format giving the band its fourth Top 40 Hot AC hit peaking at number 28 on October 13, 2009. The song was first performed at Edgefest 17 on April 27, 2008, in Dallas, Texas.
In May 2009, Blue October's show in Pittsburgh was cancelled by the Fire Marshal and the Pittsburgh Police Department due to overcrowding and unsafe conditions. Not wanting to disappoint fans, the band set up their gear on the corner outside the venue and played a mini-set to the delight of fans.
On October 22, 2009, Blue October announced that the rest of the tour had been canceled due to Justin Furstenfield suffering a severe mental anxiety attack. He returned to perform at Stubb's Outdoor Amphitheater in Texas a month or two after his attack. The tour was rescheduled in 2010.
In July 2010 Blue October played a series of acoustic concerts that were recorded for a live unplugged album, entitled Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening With Blue October, released on May 10, 2011. In February 2011, the band announced on their website that they will embark on an acoustic tour between March and May 2011.
On June 1, 2010 the band announced they were beginning pre-production on their next studio album to be produced by Tim Palmer. During the winter of 2010/2011, they headed back to the studio to finish recording the album and debuted it August 16, 2011. The title of the new album is Any Man In America.
During the week of February 14-18, Blue October singer Justin Furstenfeld did a stint as a guest DJ on Austin's KROX-FM radio station. Justin previewed four new tracks on the air, presumably on the new album, titled "The Chills", "The Waiting, "The Getting Over It Part" and "The Flight (Lincoln to Minneapolis)". On April 3, 2011 Justin Furstenfeld announced that the album would be distributed by RED Distribution, a Sony imprint for independent artists. Their former label, Universal Motown had offered them a 360 deal, which the band rejected, opting instead to become independent and form their own label, Up/Down Records. On May 4, 2011 Blue October played the first full song of the new album live, called "The Feel Again". On May 6, 2011 Blue October played a second song in Saint Louis, Missouri from their upcoming album titled "The Follow Through". Justin performed a duet with Patricia from the band "The Soldier Thread" for the song.
On July 25, 2011, the official music video for the first single, "The Chills", was released via the Vevo channel.
On August 16, 2011 "Any Man In America" was released in the US. On August 25, 2011 "Any Man In America" debuted at number 8 on the Billboard Album Sales Chart giving Blue October their first top 10 album sales chart debut.
On September 24, 2011 "The Chills" the first single from "Any Man In America" peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart giving Blue October their 6th Top 40 Modern Rock radio hit.
In October 2012 Justin Furstenfeld had nearly completed writing the songs for Blue October's 7th album. He entered the studio with the band and producer David Castell (who also co-produced Foiled and produced History For Sale) at the beginning of 2013. The official release date was August 20, 2013. The band plans to release the first single from the album in February 2013. One song, "Light You Up" made its live debut on October 7 in Millvale, Pa. On Tuesday, December 18, the band released a new single called "The Scar", which is a Blue October rendition of a 5591 song.
Drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld announced on Twitter that the band started rehearsals for the new album on January 14, 2013. They ended rehearsals on January 30 and were prepared to enter the studio to start recording the album. On February 5, 2013, the band entered the studio to start recording the new album. Justin Furstenfeld divulged in an interview that the studio had been rented out to them for all of February and March. On his official Twitter account, Justin listed the songs being recorded for the new album which includes the songs: "Light You Up", "Still Broken", "Sway" (the title track) and "Sorry Hearts". The song, "Still Broken" was originally released as a Last Wish song on their 1995 album The First of February, but ultimately did not make it onto the album. The song, "Sorry Hearts" was released on an accompanying EP, Debris.
The band finished recording the new album on March 27, 2013. The first single, entitled "Bleed Out", was released on June 17, 2013. Several songs were considered for the first single including "Bleed Out", "Angels in Everything", "Things We Do at Night", and "Light You Up". The album received positive critical acclaim, with Music Eyz citing "it's easy to see that our favourite tormented soul is on the mend and still creating some of the most powerful and emotional music out there." On August 10, 2013 they released a second single, "Angels in Everything", for international markets.
The video for the song "Fear" was published on November 2, 2014 to Blue October's YouTube VEVO channel.
On November 20, 2015, the live DVD/album "Things We Do At Night - Live from Texas" was released.
On February 13, 2015, the band announced that they were starting work on their eighth studio album via their official Twitter feed. The band entered the recording studio in August 2015 and finished recording the album in early November. The band recorded eleven songs for the new album, making this their shortest album to date. An acoustic version of one of the songs, entitled "Home", was played live in Las Vegas on September 19. The album, also titled Home, was released April 22, 2016. The title track and first single "Home" made its radio premier December 16, 2015. The official video for "Home" was premiered on Billboard on April 13, 2016. Tim Palmer, who worked on the albums Any Man in America and Sway co-produced and mixed the album. The song "Home" reached the top 30 of the US Adult Pop Songs chart.
Blue October was started by Justin Furstenfeld and Ryan Delahoussaye, who met in high school. Prior to forming the full band, the duo played together under the name "Harvest" with Justin singing and playing guitar and Ryan playing mandolin and violin and singing backup. Ryan was working at a restaurant in Houston at the time, and invited restaurant patron Elizabeth "Liz" Rapstein Phillips (née Mullally) to join on bass after striking up a conversation upon noticing she had a drum tuning key on her keychain. Justin's older brother Jeremy was watching the group practice at Liz's house one day. Liz had a drum kit and Justin persuaded Jeremy to join in on drums, even though he had never played before. The band played their first show just a few weeks after Jeremy joined. Jeremy lived in San Marcos, and the other members (except Liz) moved to join him there in 1996. Liz left the band in 1998 and was replaced by Matt Noveskey. The band wanted to add a second guitar player to allow Justin to focus more on singing during shows, and auditioned guitar players in 1999. Brant Coulter was chosen as lead guitarist, however he left the band in late 2000 when Blue October was dropped from Universal Records. C.B. Hudson joined on lead guitar in late 2000 after a chance meeting with Justin at a restaurant in San Marcos. At the end of the Consent to Treatment tour in 2002, Matt Noveskey left the band due to health reasons and was replaced by Dwayne Casey. Dwayne and Matt both played on the band's next album, History For Sale, and Dwayne toured with the band in 2003. In August 2003 Dwayne was replaced by Piper Skih Swinford (née Dagnino), who is married to one of Blue October's co-managers and is also an established professional bassist. Piper toured with the band through 2004 and appeared on the live album/DVD Argue With a Tree... During preparations for recording the band's next album Foiled, Matt Novesky was called back in as the official bassist, thereby returning the band to their most recognizable lineup. This lineup recorded and toured the next two Blue October albums. At the end of the Approaching Normal tour, C.B. Hudson announced he was leaving the band to focus on raising a family and pursuing his dream of owning a recording studio. C.B. was replaced by former Canvas guitarist Julian Mandrake who had previously been a touring guitarist for Blue October in 2006, covering Justin's guitar parts while Justin was recovering from a broken leg. Julian played with Blue October on their Ugly Side acoustic tour and also on the Any Man in America tour. During the recording sessions for Sway in early 2013, C.B. Hudson was asked to come back and play on the album and to play shows over the summer of 2013, once again returning Blue October to their previous lineup. C.B. recorded with the band for their 2016 album Home and appeared in publicity photos with the band, however he had to take a leave from the band due to a collarbone injury sustained during a dirt bike accident and Matthew Ostrander filled in on lead guitar in 2016 for the Home tour. On April 13, 2016 it was confirmed that C.B. would not be returning. On January 24, 2018 Matthew Ostrander posted a video on instagram announcing he had informed the band ten days prior that he was stepping down. In February 2018, Will Knaak was announced as the new lead guitarist.