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story.lead_photo.caption Justin Furstenfeld

Blue October fans know that the group’s lead singer, Justin Furstenfeld, has had more than his share of problems: alcoholism, depression, bipolar disorder. Rather than keep his troubles to himself, however, Furstenfeld prefers to share his travails with the world, in the hopes that others with similar woes might find solace.

“I decided to do a solo tour while the band was getting a new album ready,” he says. “I’m doing some songs on piano and acoustic guitar that have never been released before, along with some performance art portions, and a question and answer session with fans. What we do is, we take the first 50 people who arrive, and have them write out their questions and put them in a hat, and then I draw them out and answer them.So it’s all over the map, as to what the fans want to know about.”

He has released a third edition of Crazy Making, his book of handwritten notes, photographs and lyrics from all of Blue October’s albums and EPs, from 1998’s The Answers to 2011’s Any Man in America, plus lyrics to a dozen unreleased songs.

Furstenfeld attributes his better place in life to having stopped drinking a year ago: “I’m just blessed. … It’s been a challenge, learning survival skills instead of victimization. If I get sad or upset, I just go outside. This is the best I’ve ever felt.”

The tour, which began April 4 in Los Angeles, wraps up tonight at Juanita’s Cantina in Little Rock, which is not merely a coincidence, Furstenfeld says.

“I wanted to end the tour at Juanita’s because I’ve been on a diet, and I’m hungry,” he says. “Blue October used to play there a lot, and I’m sure we will be back in the fall after we put out our next album Aug. 20 and hit the road again.”

Furstenfeld has a new wife and a 9-month-old child, Sayde Bell, who are on the road with him, helping keep him in line. His first marriage, he adds, ended in divorce and a custody battle, which resulted in his losing his rights to see his other daughter.

“Behind every man is a better woman,” he says. “When I realized it was Mother’s Day recently, I got off the bus at a Wal-Mart before they woke up and bought my wife a dozen roses and some chocolates.”

An Open Book: An Evening with Justin Furstenfeld

Opening act: Ashleigh Stone

9 p.m. today, Juanita’s, 614 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock

Admission: $25

(501) 372-1228

Weekend, Pages 37 on 05/16/2013

Print Headline: Furstenfeld tour ends here

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