Singer Justin Furstenfeld enthusiastically answers the phone.
“Hi! This is Justin Furstenfeld from Blue October, tober, tober, tober,” he says, mimicking over-the-top TV commercials. “Let me shut this off.”
With a strong sense of humor intact, Furstenfeld is enjoying a renewed life. With well-documented struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction, happiness hasn’t always come easy.
“Happiness comes in waves,” says Furstenfeld, whose band returns to the Celebrity Theatre on Friday, May 12. “I think I’ve mastered the art of sucking up the moment. I’m really, really protective of my good moments. I don’t want any moment to be wasted.
“I demand to be prepared. When we’re in the studio, everything has to be prepared. It has to be right, perfect, or I’ll work on it until it is. But the happy moments, it’s crazy. It’s such a different place for me.”
With sobriety came positivity. He weeded out most of the negative influences in his life. The public sign of his revamped outlook is the single “Home,” from the album of the same name. Take the chorus: “Like dancing in the kitchen in the pale moonlight/ Only care in the world is that our kids are all right/ Daddy loves momma and momma loves him/ Tomorrow we get to do it over again.”
“It’s been a blessing, really,” he says. “I didn’t think that life could really be this good. Every day is something new and something amazing. I’m just constantly blown away at how good life can get. I’m happy I’m able to put that into song. I didn’t think I could ever write a song like ‘Home.’ When I did, everybody liked it. I was blown away and taken back.
“I’m just happy that people still listen to us and like us. I don’t need to be No. 1 or sell millions of records. As long as people still think our music is good, that’s all I really need.”
Blue October will begin work on its next album in late summer. So far, Furstenfeld says the songs have an ’80s vibe.
“It’s all about simplicity and the beat and the vocal, of course,” he says. “It’s inspired by the ’80s, but it’s really good songwriting. The songs are there. It’s not a bunch of bells and whistles.
“It’s like The Cure and the Cocteau Twins. That’s what our new stuff sounds like. It’s like night and day.”
When Blue October returns to the Valley, fans can expect a two-and-a-half-hour show.
“We’re going to play a lot of old stuff and new stuff,” Furstenfeld says. “We have nine albums now. We put a bunch of songs in the set so everyone can be happy. There’s an acoustic part of it, a jam part of it. It makes you feel really good. When you leave, you want to go hug your mom or something.”
Blue October w/Ryan Delahoussaye, Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, 602.267.1600, celebritytheatre.com, 8 p.m. Friday, May 12, $14.69-$60.