Bassist and diehard Michigander Matt Noveskey chatted with Local Spins about his home-state love as the Texas-based Blue October gets set to play Grand Rapids on Sunday.
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Although Blue October bassist Matt Noveskey moved to Texas more than two decades ago, he’s a diehard Michigander at heart.
Born in Adrian, he grew up in Traverse City and graduated from that city’s St. Francis High School, later attending the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University.
In the 1990s, he toured across Michigan with the popular alt-rock outfit Switch, calling those former bandmates “some of my best friends to this day.”
Noveskey still maintains a place in Interlochen and spends parts of every summer in northern Michigan “just for some R and R. I always love coming home. I love playing Grand Rapids and Detroit – tons of family, tons of friends.”
Oh, and for absolute proof of his Great Lakes State devotion? He’s a bleeds-Honolulu-blue, fervid fan of the Detroit Lions.
“When I’m playing in Michigan, I can drape the jersey over my bass rig and not get things thrown at me,” he joked in a phone interview Wednesday from a tour stop in “enemy territory,” aka, Green Bay, Wis.
Call Noveskey a longtime devoted fan of the platinum-selling, inventive alt-rock band Blue October, too, joining the group after an audition in 1998. He was drawn at the time to what he described as “something magnificent” being unfurled by frontman Justin Furstenfeld and the rest of the band in live settings.
And even after more than 25 years as a band, Blue October’s best music has propelled its most recent recordings, Noveskey insisted, including the first part of a “Spinning the Truth Around” triple-album, released last October.
While most legacy bands lean on “the glory days” of past successes, Noveskey said Blue October keeps pushing the envelope and adding to its sonic approach.
“I feel like we just keep getting better. My favorite albums are our last three to four albums,” he said, noting that he most admires bands that are “always evolving and growing” from project to project.
“We don’t just settle on a sound and roll with it. Justin is conscious of not doing the same thing over and over again on every album.”
PLAYING DETROIT AND GR, WITH SUMMER VACATION PLANS IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN
On Sunday, the band – Furstenfeld (guitar, vocals), Noveskey (bass), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums), Ryan Delahoussaye (violin), Will Knaak (lead guitar) and Sus Vasquez (guitar) – brings its national tour to GLC Live at 20 Monroe in Grand Rapids, set to deliver “a good mix” of new and old material for fans. Tickets, $35-$70, available online here. The band plays Royal Oak Music Theatre outside Detroit tonight (March 4).
Noveskey described the new show as more theatrical than past tours with a stepped-up light show and “something for everyone” in the audience.
Of course, tracks like “Spinning the Truth Around,” “The Kitchen Drawer” and “The Shape of Your Heart” from the latest album have been staples in the set list. With 11 studio albums and a bevy of Top 40 alternative, rock and pop hits, the band has plenty to choose from to appease fans.
VIDEO: Blue October, “Spinning the Truth Around”
Noveskey said the new album project is “very much about change,” sparked in part by COVID and the isolation that produced. He noted that he and Justin Furstenfeld both experienced separations in their respective relationships after the world was “shaken upside-down” during the pandemic.
“It’s not all boo-hoo and sadness,” Noveskey said of the new songs. “It’s about embracing change.”
And while he misses his three children while touring behind the new album, Noveskey said he loves being on the road with his comrades and crew.
“I can’t begin to tell you how blessed I am. This is a family,” he said. “This is a business, but that’s not how we operate. When we’re out there, we like to have fun. It feels like a big family.”
That family feeling extends to other bands and musicians from Michigan.
Noveskey, a producer who’s long been involved in artist development, has hosted members of Traverse City’s The Accidentals at his studio and he exudes a “deep desire” to help up-and-coming bands in any way he can.
“I love them to death,” he said of The Accidentals. “Flying the flag for Michigan; that’s important. If you’re from Michigan, come to my studio. I love being part of a big, giant family … Artist development is something I’m really passionate about.”
Noveskey – who hopes to release a long-planned record of his own later this year – also remains really passionate about his home state, with plans for bringing his children back to northern Michigan this summer, including a side trip to Mackinac Island.
“Traverse City is still home to me,” he said, while predicting great things for his beloved Detroit Lions next season. “That’s always going to be home.”
VIDEO: Blue October, “Where Did You Go I’m Less of a Mess These Days”
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