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‘Struggle and balance’: Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld opens up for documentary

The rock band Blue October is touring in support of its latest album, “I Hope You’re Happy.” (Courtesy of Chris Barber)

Through personal and professional highs and lows, Justin Furstenfeld has weathered the storm.

The Blue October vocalist has opened his life up to cameras to film the documentary “Get Back Up.” The documentary will begin a film festival circuit later this year.

“I feel amazing about it,” he says in a recent phone interview. “A lot of time went into it. It makes me feel like the people that are around me in my life are special and without them it would be completely different. Was it hard to film? It wasn’t. It must have been hard for the people close to me years ago to actually see me like this.”

The documentary trailer offers a snapshot of Blue October’s – and more centrally, Furstenfeld’s – struggles and near-immolation with depression, drug and alcohol abuse and how they affect the people around him and his ultimate redemption and triumph of the human spirit.

Filmed over the span of nearly a decade through hundreds of shows worldwide, the documentary isn’t just the story of Blue October’s meteoric rise to the top of the charts and then its equally quick fall.

The film also deals with Furstenfeld’s mental health issues and thoughts of suicide, which lead to a more personal story documenting his struggles and how they fractured and damaged his loving family.

“It was a struggle to watch it as a complete film,” he says. “It was a journey in me trying to be a better person. I’ve come a long way, and I’m proud to be at this point.”

Furstenfeld says this project was different because the promotion for it consists of him showing up and say, “Hi.”

“I point to the director to answer the questions,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a different ballgame. I’m honored to be part of it, and I’m grateful that it’s resonating with a lot of people. There will always be that struggle and balance.”

Last year, Furstenfeld and Blue October released “I Hope You’re Happy,” the band’s ninth album.

During that time, Furstenfeld hasn’t slowed down. The band is ready to begin recording its next album.

“Focusing is the biggest obstacle for me,” he says. “Carving out the time to write. It’s a balance, because I want to make sure that my family time is just that – time with my family. Writing is for writing. I want to be present for both parts of my life, because they have to exist together. I want each one to get the respect they deserve.”

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