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Well-Raised and Confused

Mood rockers Blue October struggle after life's answers

Just like that, Jeremy became the band's largely unflappable timekeeper. Justin, on the other hand, was having trouble staying on course personally. A six-year relationship with his girlfriend was coming unwound, and his drug use wasn't helping matters.

"The thing that was bringing me down was the coke," he says bluntly. "I wanted to get out of the drug scene in Houston, because all my friends were kind of fading away from that stuff."

Furstenfeld and Delahoussaye originally contemplated moving to Austin, but Jeremy's bucolic existence in San Marcos convinced them to follow suit. Once there, Furstenfeld got down to the business of writing music for himself. He and Delahoussaye found day jobs and even played local gigs as a duo wherever they could. All three, meanwhile, were shuttling between San Marcos and Houston for Blue October rehearsals with Mullally, as well as the occasional live gig.

Last fall, Blue October came to Houston to record The Answers at Sound Arts with producer Brian Baker. Richly textured and immaculately recorded, the CD is hardly a low-budget, amateur-hour affair. To achieve such a professional first outing, the band enlisted the financial help of the Furstenfelds' parents. Their father, Dan, is managing the band at this point and is working to get the band bookings in Dallas and other parts of Texas.

"My mom's side of the family had always been kind of musical," says Justin, who wrote The Answers' track "Sweet and Somber Pigeon Wings" with his grandfather in mind. "He played guitar like B.B. King. So I guess that's why I wound up picking up the guitar. But my dad taught me my first chords."

Though Justin admits Blue October's back-and-forth lifestyle can get a bit hectic, he likes to look at the band's current situation in rather idealistic terms.

"We're living a life on the river, writing beautiful songs and staying clean," he says.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to have parents with deep pockets to keep the wheels from falling off the dream.

Blue October performs Saturday, February 21, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. Doors open at 8 p.m. Cover is $8. Draper and Whipple open. For info, call 862-3838.

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