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Music

Risky business for Blue October

The last time the Houston rockers played here, frontman Justin Furstenfeld ended up in a wheelchair. They boldly challenge that karma.

By JAY CRIDLIN
Published January 18, 2007


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Blue October singer Justin Furstenfeld seems to harbor no grudge toward the Tampa Bay area - even though he has every right to be bitter.

Fueled by the hit Hate Me, the Houston rockers were poised for a breakout 2006 until April 29, when they played a concert at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater. After the show, the band was goofing around running the bases when Furstenfeld slipped on home plate, smashing his leg and tearing ligaments in his knee. The injury put him in a wheelchair and sidelined Blue October just as its album, Foiled, was taking off.

Blue October was supposed to re- turn to Tampa in December for the 97X Next Big Thing 6, but Furstenfeld reinjured the leg weeks before the show, knocking them out again.

Furstenfeld is finally healthy, and he's ready for another show in the bay area, Saturday at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg.

 

This area hasn't been very good to you, has it?

As far as you guys giving us a lot of support, it's one of the best. But the karma there? I don't know what's going on. Every time I come to Tampa I hurt myself. Maybe this time I'll be dressed up in a mummy suit so it'll pad me if I fall. laughs

 

It wasn't exactly the most rock 'n' roll injury. It wasn't like Iggy Pop slashing his chest with a broken beer bottle or anything.

Yeah, it was basically stupidity - a child coming out of a grown 30-year-old, running around the bases in dress shoes and a suit, forgetting that home plate gathers sand.

 

Did you get any cool get-well cards from fans?

I basically got e-mails upon e-mails upon e-mails - people wanting to help me pay for the surgery, and things like that. I would never take money from anybody - it was just really nice to know that people were there, though. People wanted to put together benefit shows and stuff, and I was like, "Dude, it's cool! I broke my leg, I'll take care of it!"

 

How did the band react? You couldn't pick a worse time for it to happen.

I'm going to have to throw a real big party for those guys for supporting me, because they've been the best friends and the most understanding people. It's their job, and when they're off work, they're not getting paid.

 

Do you still have a limp?

My wife calls it my pimp walk. So I'll go with that.

 

Did you guys freak out when you opened for the Rolling Stones in November?

You have no clue, dude. . . . I walked out and it was just boom, a crowd of 30,000 people. I freaked out when they actually clapped, and we got a minor standing ovation when we were done. I was just like, "What?" I would expect them to be like, "Get off the stage!"

 

Is meeting Mick and Keith like meeting the pope? Are there rites and rituals you have to observe?

Someone of Mick's stature, you have to understand that he's probably not going to shake your hand. He's going to tap you on the wrist, because that's how he shakes hands. He's a smart guy; he doesn't want to get germs. . . . Seeing Mick right next to me, and having Keith Richards' arm around me while I'm sitting in a wheelchair taking a picture -I was just like, "What the hell did I do right?"

 

Is that the most star-struck you've ever been?

Honestly, I think meeting 50 Cent was. I got to sit down for about two hours and just hang with him.

 

What did you talk about?

Religion, love, parents, the music industry, business. . . . He's one of the smartest guys I've ever met in my life.

Jay Cridlin can be reached at cridlin@tampabay.com.

 

Preview

Blue October

7 p.m. Saturday at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg. Tickets are $20. (727) 896-1244.

[Last modified January 17, 2007, 07:24:41]


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