“You have a choice. You can choose drugs or you can choose your family.”
It’s an ultimatum that no addict wants to hear, especially not a platinum-selling rock star like Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October. But that’s exactly what his wife Sarah said to him, as seen in the powerful and riveting new trailer for the upcoming music documentary GET BACK UP. While the ultimatum is intended to be focused on his immediate family unit, this demand of finality can be seen as a universal plea that includes his band, management and ultimately his fans, as witnessed in powerful and gripping feature-length film as directed by acclaimed Emmy-winning director Norry Niven (Dexter, Chasing Shakespeare, American Idol).
The trailer which gets released on YouTube today offers a snapshot of Blue October’s – and more centrally, Furstenfeld’s – struggles and near-immolation with depression, drug and alcohol-abuse and how it affects the orbit around him and his ultimate and hopeful redemption and triumph of the human spirit.
Filmed over the span of nearly a decade through hundreds of shows worldwide, GET BACK UP isn’t just the story of Blue October’s meteoric rise to the top of the charts and then its equally quick demise. The film also deals with Justin’s mental health issues and thoughts of suicide which leads to a more personal story documenting Furstenfeld’s struggles and how they fractured and damaged his loving family.
“I always knew my head and heart were different. My head was darker… and my heart was much, much bigger,” says Furstenfeld in the film’s trailer. With his self-flagellation and recovery splayed out in the documentary, what ultimately saves him is his newfound balance between head and heart.
Mirroring the continued rise of his health, mind and family, Furstenfeld and Blue October has been on a similar rebound as well. When his addictions got the better of him, the health of the band suffered as well… but now, as he gains more and more strength and gets to a much healthier and happier frame of mind and body, the band’s music has witnessed a resurgence with the release of their ninth album I Hope You’re Happy which debuted at #7 on Billboard’s Album Chart and #2 on its Alternative Album Chart. Known for their previous platinum singles like “Into The Ocean,” “Hate Me,” and “Calling You,” the new album, which embraces Furstenfeld’s new lease on life, enjoyed immediate success with its first two singles “I Hope You’re Happy” and “Daylight,” both of which charted high on US Alternative Airplay Chart. After spending 25 weeks on the US Alternative Airplay Chart and peaking at #14, “I Hope You’re Happy” crossed over to the US Hot AC Chart, reaching #34 and being the 35th most-played song in 2018. “Daylight” hit #22 on the US Alternative Airplay Chart, making “Daylight” the second song from I Hope You’re Happy to impact this chart. Their latest single “King” reached #34 on the Alternative Chart too, making it their third track on that chart’s Top 40 in less than a year. The fact that I Hope You’re Happy was released on indie label Up/Down-Brando Recordsmakes this feat even more notable.