Harvard Of The South … Interview, Concert Photo’s and A Story From The Road
Harvard of the South (often stylized HARVARD of the SOUTH) is a four-piece rock band side project/supergroup which released its first recordings and played its first live concerts in 2014, but has its beginnings in collaborations between Longwave/Hurricane Bells singer/guitarist Steve Schiltz and Blue October which date back to 2011. Harvard of the South released their debut EP Miracle in October 2014, and plan to release a full-length LP in 2015
Blue October drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld became a fan of the band Longwave upon hearing their 2003 album Strangest Things. He shared the album with his brother Justin, and in interviews at the time, they touted Longwave as being their favorite band. During Blue October’s History for Sale tour in 2004, they would play the entire Strangest Things album over the PA during set changes at their shows, thus exposing countless Blue October fans to Longwave’s music. Blue October’s manager reached out to Longwave with the idea of the two bands touring together. The tour plans came to fruition in 2009, with Longwave opening Blue October’s Approaching Normal summer tour. At the Boston date of this tour, Justin Furstenfeld joined Longwave on stage to sing the song “I Know It’s Coming Someday”, which is his favorite song from Strangest Things. Soon after the release of the Longwave album Secrets are Sinister, Longwave guitarist Shannon Ferguson became a father and announced he was taking a break from the band. The remaining members of Longwave decided to place the band on hiatus and work on other projects. Longwave singer Steve Schiltz set to work on a solo project which he dubbed “Hurricane Bells”. Hurricane Bells was invited to open Blue October’s spring 2010 Reason to Live tour, however Schiltz did not have a live backing band. He was able to form a live band with help from the members of the other bands on the tour, which were Daniel Orvik of Stars of Track and Field, Ashen Keilyn of Scout, and Jeremy Furstenfeld and Ryan Delahoussaye of Blue October. During the tour, Steve would often join Blue October on stage to sing on the song “Into the Ocean“. At the end of the 2010 tour, Blue October guitarist C.B. Hudson quit the band. On Blue October’s next album, Any Man in America, Steve Schiltz was asked to play guitar, which he did in exchange for Justin Furstenfeld providing harmonica on the new Hurricane Bells album, Down Comes The Rain, which included a cover of “Into the Ocean”. Steve and Justin and Jeremy also began collaborating on songs which were outside of either Blue October or Hurricane Bells. Julian Mandrake was hired to replace C.B. Hudson as Blue October’s guitarist, but he parted ways with the band over creative differences during pre-production sessions for Blue October’s 2013 album Sway. Again Steve Schiltz was invited to come to Texas to play on a Blue October album, and further collaboration occurred. Between 2011 and 2013 the group composed eleven songs, and recorded them at Jeremy’s house. Blue October’s bassist Matt Noveskey was brought in to round out the group, and recording was completed in early 2014. Harvard of the South played their first concerts opening for Blue October in San Marcos, Texas March 21-22, 2014. The San Marcos concerts also featured Steve playing guitar with Blue October on their song “Bleed Out”. Steve Schiltz mixed the Harvard of the South album in the summer of 2014, and in October the first five songs were released as a limited edition EP. The group played ten more concerts opening for Blue October in November 2014, with more dates planned for Spring 2015.