Singer Justin Furstenfeld says watching the documentary “Get Back Up” about his band Blue October was “eye opening.”
The documentary, which debuts this month, was filmed over the span of a decade through hundreds of shows. The film traces Blue October’s rise to the top of the charts, its quick demise, and Furstenfeld’s mental health issues and thoughts of suicide.
“I didn’t know half the things I had done to people until I watched the documentary,” Furstenfeld says. “It was such a liberating moment to watch people say sweet things about me, and say things that stung pretty bad. That’s what life’s about—learning from our mistakes and working through them.”
For a small pay-per-view fee, fans can tune in to watch the official film premiere together, post comments and have their questions answered by Furstenfeld via a Q&A following the credits. The livestreams are 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. (PST) Thursday, May 21, via getbackup.tv.
Furstenfeld is also participating in the 320 Festival: A Mental Health Movement, May 8 to May 10 on 320festival.com. Created by Kevin Lyman (founder of the Vans Warped Tour, USC professor and CEO of the Kevin Lyman Group and Unite the United) and Talinda Bennington (320 Changes Direction co-founder, and Chester Bennington’s widow), 320 Festival aims to change the way everyone talks about mental health through educational sessions, musical performances and workshops.
Prior to the pandemic, Blue October was on tour promoting its ninth album, “I Hope You’re Happy,” which debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s Album Chart. Known for its previous platinum singles like “Into the Ocean,” “Hate Me” and “Calling You,” Blue October scored two recent hits, the title track and “Daylight.”
Furstenfeld says quarantining on his 4-acre property in Texas during the pandemic has been “awkward.”
“I toured 25 years of my life,” Furstenfeld says. “It’s a life or death thing. The pandemic has given me the chance to connect with people even closer than a meet and greet or a show.
“Now I get to go in there every Tuesday night, do a show about recovery and work steps with people who want to get sober. I love that.
“On Friday night, I talk about small business and music that I’m into. The next Tuesday night is about recovery, another Friday stage show for 5,000 people around the world. We’re right there in front of them. That’s what we have right now. It’s a precious, spiritual time.”
The pandemic has forced Furstenfeld to step out of his comfort zone and he’s treating it as a time to “cleanse.”
“I do things I might have never done before, like jogging,” he says. “I fricking hate it. Now I’m jogging a mile and a half, 2 miles at a time. I’m not Carl Lewis, but I’m trying. I’m trying to be better and trying to do better things for myself. I’m eating clean and taking my kid to homeschooling in the living room and making sure he stays off his iPad.”
Those feelings have resonated throughout his family. His daughter moved from Nebraska to live with Furstenfeld and his family. He was worried he would be on tour as she became comfortable in her new space, but the pandemic allowed him to be home.
“I’m super blessed to be in a family where whenever I walk in the front door from the studio, the kids say, ‘Dad! You’re home!’” he adds.