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Blue OctoberIn 2000, Blue October signed to Universal Records and released the album Consent To Treatment. The single that was chosen did very little at radio, and the band was consequently dropped about a year later. In 2003, Blue October released independently their follow up record History For Sale with much success, picking up lots of regional rock support and national AC support when the single ‘Calling You’ was added to the American Wedding soundtrack. The band re-signed with Universal and re-released the independent record and more recently their latest endeavor ‘Foiled.’ Their new single ‘Hate Me’ has been charting in the top 5 for about 8 weeks and the record has been selling consistently beyond expectation. Obvious questions arise.

“We suspected Consent to Treatment wouldn’t do well when we made it,��? says guitarist CB Hudson. “Radio was completely overtaken by Limp Bizkit and rap rock, there really wasn’t a place for a band like ours. We didn’t have creative control on the record and made a lot of changes for the label and the whole thing just wasn’t right. Not the right timing.��? After being dropped from the label, the band continued to tour heavily in support of the release. They then turned to their manager’s label, Brando Records, for the release of their second album. “We were able to work with Dave Castell and we had full creative control of the record. We had grown a lot from being on the road and we were just better all around.��?

The success of the single ‘Calling You’ grabbed the attention of many labels, not just their former home. “We had a lot of label interest around that time and were doing a lot of showcases. Normally labels send out one or two people to check out the set and then take off, but Universal brought practically their entire staff. There were about a hundred people there and everyone was really excited! That really impressed us. Getting on a new label, you have to deal with all of the marketing issues of developing a story and finding out what the band is about. We had a previous relationship with Universal, so seeing their excitement let us know we could hit the ground running.��?

Justin Furstenfeld of Blue OctoberThis renewed relationship with the label came with a few changes, primarily creative control. “We recorded some in LA, Dallas and Austin. We did it at our own pace and with our own people. The label brought some producers in and we worked with them a little, but out of all the songs we worked on with them, we kept maybe one of them. Justin [Furstenfeld] is a true artist and he already knows in his head where something should go. There is a vision for the songs and working with Dave Castell again we were able to capture what we really wanted. This record is exactly how it was envisioned.��?

The result of this creative freedom is the most critically acclaimed album of their careers, propelling the band to a level of success they began to question was possible. There is a lesson in here, but I am not sure if it’s for the major labels or the artists. Perhaps both. Blue October is called to their art and they have never wavered in their commitment to creating honest and compelling music. Being dropped and picked back up has had little effect on what they create and they kept on as if they’d never have another deal. Universal recognized their mistake in dropping the band prematurely and went way above and beyond to get them back and then gave them the freedom they needed. Not every band deserves a great label, and not every label deserves a great band, but when all are worthy and cooperative in their efforts, the outcome can be inspiring.

AJ, KOAR

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