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Q&A: Justin Furstenfeld on his San Marcos homecoming

Q&A: Justin Furstenfeld on his San Marcos homecoming

| On 01, Sep 2012

Blue October rocks Texas Music Theater in San Marcos in 2011. PHOTO by DALTON CAMPBELL

Blue October rocks Texas Music Theater in San Marcos in 2011. PHOTO by DALTON CAMPBELL


San Marcos’ favorite hometown post-grunge rock band is set to perform its first show on the square in more than a year.

Blue October got its start playing venues in the river city more than a decade ago, before breakout hits like “Hate Me” introduced the group to an international audience.

Fronted by local resident Justin Furstenfeld, the band will bring its mix of angsty vocals and soaring, stadium-sized hooks to the Texas Music Theater on Sept. 29, just two days shy of the bluest month.

Newly married and showing some love for his adopted hometown, Furstenfeld answered a couple of questions via email:

Do you approach a show in San Marcos any differently than you would in, say, Cleveland?

When we play San Marcos we are very particular about the show. It’s very important to us. It’s where my brother and I live. It’s where I raise my children. It’s where I’ve found that people can be people and egos are left on the outskirts of town. It’s where we first started our band, where we first recorded our major label album in a house on West San Antonio Street.

I remember tearing up the old Kismet, the Cafe on the Square, Lucy’s, the Triple Crown, we even played Palmer’s if you can believe that, but the old Gordo’s is where we would tear the shit out of San Marcos. But the place back then was a musical shithole. The place would be packed and going strong, and next thing you know the sound system would die on us, letting the fans down over and over.

So we kinda gave up on playing there until my good friend Allen Shy, now the owner of the Texas Music Theater, whispered over a drink one night that he was going to gut Gordo’s and finally make a venue in San Marcos that everyone could be proud of, and bands would be able to truly showcase their art and have a good time in an atmosphere that would make me completely feel at home.

At first I thought wow what a task, but that lasted half a second knowing that this was Allen, the man I’ve looked up to and who has inspired me with all of his amazing accomplishments over the 15 years I’ve known him. And, like I thought, he blew me away with the Texas Music Theater.

So out of respect for Allen and all he’s done for me as well as San Marcos, I tend to take my San Marcos shows very seriously. At most shows we play 17 songs. At TMT we play close to 30.

All of the people in San Marcos have helped make us who we are. They’ve kept us humble, and for me a lot of them saved my life. This will be our first show of the two-month “Quiet Mind” tour from East to West Coast.

This show means the most to me because no matter how dark my life has gotten in the past, San Marcos has gotten me through it. My wife and I are proud San Martians, and I will gladly ask anyone to step outside into the alley of TMT if you have a problem with my town. God love it. God love TMT. Most of all, everyone in Blue October wants to thank everyone for years of support.

Do you see this becoming an annual gig for you?

The only reason we can still play San Marcos is because of the Texas Music Theater. So as far as annual? Hmmm, how about as long as everyone keeps the TMT going strong. Then you can count on us and many other touring bands playing San Marcos for a long time. I mean, look around: Do you see another venue in town with such class?

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A version of this article was published in the Fall 2012 edition of Bobcat Magazine, a publication of the San Marcos Mercury.

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