Incubus is an American Grammy Award-nominated rock band, from Calabasas, California. Formed in 1991 by vocalist Brandon Boyd, lead guitarist Mike Einziger, and drummer Jose Pasillas while enrolled in high school. The band expanded to include bassist Alex Katunich (a.k.a. "Dirk Lance"), and Gavin Koppell (a.k.a. "DJ Lyfe"), both of whom were eventually replaced by bassist Ben Kenney (formerly of The Roots), and DJ Kilmore, respectively.
Incubus has received both critical acclaim and commercial success, reaching multi-platinum sales, as well as releasing several highly successful singles. The band started branching out creatively and earned mainstream recognition with the release of their 1999 album Make Yourself. In 2001, Incubus became hugely successful with the single "Drive" and their follow up album Morning View. Their latest studio album, Light Grenades, debuted at #1 in 2006 and has received Gold certification in the U.S. Incubus released their first greatest hits album Monuments and Melodies in June 2009, accompanied by a tour of the United States and Canada.
Beginnings, Fungus Amongus, and Enjoy Incubus (1991?1997)
Vocalist Boyd, drummer Pasillas, bassist Alex Katunich and guitarist Einziger began playing together when they were in tenth grade. Einzinger contacted Joanne Stanulonis, a well known music and math teacher who was always working with school age musical acts, usually on the set or in the studio or on tour. Joanne had just finished touring with Steve Vai's teenage musical prodigies, "Bad4Good." With her connections to the music industry and the savior faire to book minor aged acts on Sunset Strip, Joanne booked Incubus at The Roxy, The Troubadour, and The Whiskey before they graduated highschool. Through Joanne's friendship with Producer Jim Wirt and his wife Kathleen, Joanne arranged free recording and studio time at 4th Street Recording. It was there "Fungus Amongus" was produced and recorded. In 1995, Gavin Koppell (known by stage name DJ Lyfe) joined them. The band's first major-label release was 1997's six-track EP Enjoy Incubus, created so the group would have something to sell while touring with Korn in Europe.
S.C.I.E.N.C.E., Incubus' second studio album (in reality this was their first studio album as Fungus Amongus was merely a compilation of various demos recorded over some months by Jim Wirt), was released on September 9, 1997, and Incubus opened for bands like Korn, 311, and Sublime. In February, 1998, Incubus dismissed Koppel and immediately replaced him with Chris Kilmore. Incubus participated in the Ozzfest and Family Values Tour concerts and toured with System of a Down and Ultraspank during the fall. DJ Kilmore (first name Chris) replaced DJ Lyfe.
Make Yourself (1999?2001)
After constant touring throughout 1998, and after selling over 100,000 copies of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. without the support of radio or television exposure, Incubus took a break for two years and then released their critically acclaimed third album Make Yourself.
After just 2 weeks in the studio with producer Jim Wirt, the band was unhappy with the recordings and opted to continue recording without a producer. After another 3 weeks of recording, R.E.M./Nirvana producer Scott Litt took an interest in their songs and started taking part in the recording sessions, mainly focusing on songs like "Drive" and "Stellar." According to the band, Scott's involvement in the record came mostly during the mixing process.
Make Yourself was released on October 26, 1999. Right after their album's release, the band went on tour with Primus and Buckethead, a tour which lasted for the remainder of the year. The first song that kicked off the album, "Privilege", was featured on MTV Sports: Pure Ride for the PlayStation. The band also released the single, "Pardon Me", but it was initially not well-received by radio stations. Brandon and Mike decided to perform a live acoustic version of the song at the few radio stations who were showing interest, and this in turn spread the word of the song. Many radio stations began to play the acoustic version, including the highly influential Los Angeles radio giant KROQ.
With sparked interest in the song, radio stations began playing the studio version of "Pardon Me". In response, Incubus made a video for the song and released a six song EP titled When Incubus Attacks (Vol. 1) on August 22, 2000. The EP contained the acoustic version of "Pardon Me". In its first week, the EP sold nearly 40,000 copies, and scored #41 on the Billboard Album Charts. To start off 2000, the band headed out on Tour with System of a Down, and Mr. Bungle until March, at which point they embarked on a headline tour in clubs until April.
Due to the success of "Pardon Me," Make Yourself hit Gold Status (500,000 copies sold) in April 2000. Incubus continued to tour overseas, and returned home at the end of May to go on a tour of the United States with long time friends 311. "Stellar," the next single from the album was soon released, and its video received afternoon airplay on MTV and TRL, becoming a huge success on Modern Rock Chart. In July, Incubus were once again on the Ozzfest bill, until the late summer.
The band then took a short break after finishing the Ozzfest 2000 Tour, playing two acoustic shows at Artist Direct Studios. On October 5, 2000, Make Yourself went Platinum (1,000,000 copies sold), and shortly after, the band went on tour with Deftones. The band re-released Fungus Amongus on November 7, 2000.
On January 15, 2001, the band released "Drive," the fourth single from Make Yourself after "Privilege" was released (which then went to the top 20 where it stayed at #3 for 6 weeks.) It moved quickly up to the top of the Modern Rock Charts, eventually hitting the #1 spot. The single was a huge success and helped the band break into the mainstream. The single eventually reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Morning View (2001?2002)
The band took a break during the first part of 2001 before heading to a beachside mansion in Malibu, California, to record their follow-up album, which would later become known as Morning View.
They hit the road with Hundred Reasons in Europe from June until the first week of July. At this time, the band was invited to play with the Area Festival, which featured Moby, Outkast, The Roots, Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, and Nelly Furtado. Also, in July, Make Yourself was certified double-platinum, selling 2 million copies. In August, the band got to play their first shows in Australia and Japan, before returning to the United States to begin their long-awaited headlining tour with their long-time friends from California, Hoobastank. Meanwhile, the band's video for "Drive" was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in the category of Best Group Video.
Continuing to tour, Incubus released their first single, "Wish You Were Here", from their upcoming record, Morning View, on August 21, 2001. The single instantly began to climb up the Modern Rock charts, reaching #2 by early September. The music video was released at the end of that month, after being re-cut to make it more viewable in the wake of the 9/11 disaster. The video earned viewings on MTV's TRL, VH1, and MuchMusic. Their follow up single was "Nice to Know You."
On October 23, 2001, the band released their fourth full-length major label album. The name was taken from the street on which the band's recording studio was situated. Incubus continued to headline dates after its release, and "Wish You Were Here" continued to sit among the top 10 on Billboards Modern Rock Charts. Morning View debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at the #2 spot (266,000 copies were sold in its first week). This was the highest ever placement for Incubus. At the same time, "Wish You Were Here" was at #2 on the Modern Rock Charts, and "Drive" sat at #48 on the Hot 100 chart. The band won an award for Billboard's Modern Rock Single of the Year for "Drive". By December, Morning View was certified platinum, "Wish You Were Here" was #4 on modern rock charts, and Morning View was #38 on top 200.
On December 11, Incubus released When Incubus Attacks (Vol. 2), a DVD that featured music videos for "Take Me to Your Leader", "A Certain Shade of Green", "Pardon Me", "Stellar", "Drive", "I Miss You", and "Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)", live footage, backstage video, and more.
To begin 2002, Incubus was #9 with "Drive", #12 with "Stellar", #20 with "Wish You Were Here", #75 with "Nice To Know You" and #31 with the album Morning View. On January 24, 2002, MTV's TRL premiered the "Nice to Know You" video, and Boyd called in from Europe where the band was on tour with 311 and Hoobastank. The band was then featured on MTV's Becoming, TRL, The Tonight Show, and played the Letterman show on February 14, 2002, all before heading off to play dates in Japan and Australia for the remainder of February and March. While in Sydney, the band shot the video for their next single, "Warning", from March 7 until March 11. The band then released the DVD Morning View Sessions on May 28, shortly before playing the Weenie Roast on June 8 for KROQ.
Incubus issued a limited edition version of Morning View on October 1 to coincide with their fall headlining tour. The new version of the album contained a DVD dubbed the "Morning After View Session". It featured the U.K. video for the group's track "Are You In?", tour footage, new artwork, behind the scenes material, and more. Incubus' last performance in 2002 (on November 1) brought several eras for the band to a close. Their last show of the tour would be their last show touring behind 2001's Morning View, as the band looked on to playing new music. The show would also prove to be their last with bass player Dirk Lance, who left the band due to personal differences.
Lance was quietly replaced by former The Roots guitarist Ben Kenney, who began working with Einziger on new songs for a psychedelic jazz-funk project called Time Lapse Consortium. Incubus ended the year on the charts, having "Wish You Were Here" (#10), "Warning" (#16), and "Nice To Know You" (#26) on the alternative rock format chart, joining "Wish You Were Here" (#25) and "Nice To Know You" (#36). Morning View was the 40th best selling album of 2002.
A Crow Left of the Murder... (2003?2004)
On January 6, 2003, the band began writing for their next record.
On February 7, the band began renegotiations on their record contract. The band, which had been signed to Epic/Immortal for seven years, cited the fact that state law limits the amount of time that an artist can be bound to a company. The band had been signed to the label for 7 years, and used California's "Seven Years Law" as a negotiating tool with Epic/Immortal. After releasing 3 highly successful albums, the band had been compensated poorly compared to the revenue that they had generated for Sony. The band entered a lawsuit against their label in order to break from their contract, to which Sony responded with a lawsuit of their own.
Boyd in San Sebasti?n, Spain in 2004.
On March 1, Einziger, along with Scott Litt, Dave Holdredge, and Rick Will, was nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Engineered Album (Non Classical)" category, for their work on Morning View.
On April 3, after weeks of circulating rumors about Dirk Lance's departure from the band, an official announcement was made by the band. A decision had been reached amongst members of Incubus in a face-to-face meeting at the end of the Morning View tour to discuss his involvement in the band. The band said that the split had become necessary due to "irreconcilable creative differences". Almost immediately after the announcement of a new bass player, the 2003 Incubus vs. Sony case had been settled. The two sides settled on a new contract that delivers three albums to Epic/Immortal with an option on a fourth. The first album would be worth $8 million in advances to the band, with another $2.5 million for each one thereafter.
By December the new album, which was recorded at Southern Tracks Recording Studios in Atlanta, GA was recorded live, opposed to recording each instrument at separate times, and was produced by Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots) was completed and scheduled for release. Titled A Crow Left of the Murder..., the album was to be an enhanced CD with behind-the-scenes video. In the videos, Einziger and Boyd discussed their new songs. Einziger described them as "like the old shit, but older. It's very different. It's very energetic and fast, and a lot of it is more technical. I guess maybe in the vein of more of our older songs; they don't sound like our older songs. They are more exploratory."
On December 15, 2003, the first single, "Megalomaniac", was released. It raised controversy when it was said to be an attack on the Bush administration, and was banned from daytime view on MTV (despite the band saying that it was not an attack on a particular person, rather a comment on some people's negative attitudes). However, the band was actually pleased with this nighttime viewing restriction. Says Boyd, ?When we heard our video had been relegated to late night rotation, I think that all of us were secretly like, ?Yes!? ?. Pasillas reflected Boyd's sentiments, saying, "I think it's okay if people think that we're trying to make a political statement. Whatever anyone conjures up or takes from our music is good; I mean, our point is to get people thinking."
A Crow Left of the Murder... was released in 2004, showcasing a new turn for the band. The second single released was "Talk Shows on Mute", featuring a video that was inspired by George Orwell's Animal Farm. After this release, Incubus hit the road again.
Incubus toured worldwide in 2004 with many bands, including Ben Kweller, The Walkmen, Hundred Reasons, The Music, Brand New and Sparta, to promote their new album. One song left off the album, the 27-minute long instrumental entitled "The Odyssey", was later featured on soundtrack for the Xbox game Halo 2.
In November 2004, the band released a live DVD entitled Alive at Red Rocks, filmed in Red Rocks Park, Colorado, during their world tour for A Crow Left of the Murder.... Along with the DVD came a bonus CD featuring five tracks, including a studio version of live favorite "Pantomime", "Follow" (a lyrical version, different from the First Movement of the Odyssey version), and the U.K. B-Side "Monuments and Melodies". Two live tracks were also included. The performance was also sold in high definition via Bluray Disc. A high definition version of the entire song "Pardon Me" is also available for free download from the Playstation Store, an online service for Playstation 3 users.
In December 2004, at a gig in Los Angeles the band played The Police hits "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da", "Message in a Bottle" & "Roxanne" with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers from the former band. This sparked performances of the songs at most shows throughout the fall.
Light Grenades (2005?2008)
In the spring of 2005, the band went back into the studio with Brendan O'Brien. Three new songs were released in late July 2005 as part of the soundtrack album to the Sony film Stealth. The track "Make a Move", was released to radio in late May, and song reached #17 (Modern Rock Charts) and #19 (Mainstream Rock Charts). Fan reaction towards "Make a Move" was lukewarm, but the other two new songs, "Admiration" and "Neither of Us Can See" (a duet with Chrissie Hynde), seemed to be much more well-liked.
Incubus in Baltimore in 2007.
In January 2006, the first of a series of Incubus podcasts was released by the band via internet. Among other things, the podcast featured the band's thoughts about their 2005 South American tour, some information on their new album, a mash-up of "Drive" and Tupac's "Better Dayz", a cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun", and a few live interludes.
On August 1, 2006, the band announced that album number six, Light Grenades, was soon to be released and that it was being produced by Brendan O'Brien. A few weeks afterwards, the release date was confirmed to be Tuesday, November 28. Upon release, Light Grenades debuted #1 on the Billboard charts, the first time Incubus has ever sat atop the album charts, despite only selling 165,000 copies (their lowest debut for an album since Make Yourself) in the first week.
In November, Incubus played two exclusive European shows in Berlin and London. These were both in less than 2000 capacity venues ? a special occasion for the band and the fans (due to Incubus's mainstream success, the band now usually plays at large arenas worldwide). The band used these shows to showcase new material from Light Grenades.
The bands first single, Anna Molly, had a music video which had mainstream success.
On December 27, 2006, Incubus launched the "I Dig Incubus" contest, in which participants cut together clips of the band performing their single "Dig," to form a complete music video. On February 1, 2007, five finalists were announced for the "I Dig Incubus" contest. In a video interview on Blender, bassist and vocalist Ben Kenney said, "It's almost something that will happen whether or not we want to do it. People will make their own videos for songs. It's kind of a cool way for us to get together with fans out there who are artistic." On August 4, 2007, Incubus played on the first day at Baltimore's Virgin Festival along with bands such as The Police and Beastie Boys.
Michael Einziger had been suffering from Carpal tunnel syndrome and although he had an operation that has corrected the problem, he needed to recuperate for a few months, hence recent tour plans were postponed. Incubus apologized to fans and continued the tour in the summer and autumn.
In February and March 2008, Incubus hit the road again starting in New Zealand and headlining the Soundwave Festival in Australia alongside The Offspring and Alexisonfire, and toured Asia performing to sell-out crowds. In Singapore, they met fans at a Meet and Greet session at Changi Airport and performed at Fort Canning Hill. In April, Incubus performed at the Festival Imperial in Costa Rica, along with the bands The Smashing Pumpkins and Duran Duran, and later in Venezuela at the Poliedro de Caracas. Incubus will also be performing a number of shows throughout Europe this summer including the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park Festivals in Germany, the Nova Rock Festival in Austria, Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands and the Download Festival in England. In July 2008, the band played in a VH1 tribute to The Who alongside Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and The Flaming Lips.
In April 2008 the band took a break from touring and recording while its members concentrated on school, family and other activities. Brandon Boyd enrolled in a university art program, while guitarist Mike Einziger went to Harvard music school to study composition. Drummer Jos? Pasillas was also "having a baby, so there's a lot of normal life stuff going on right now?school, babies, mortgages," Boyd said. "I'm of the mind to say it wouldn't be a bad thing to disappear for a year or two years," he said. "A lot of people would say culture moves too fast and you need to remind people, but I would argue there's not any rush."
Monuments and Melodies and Pending Seventh Studio Album (2008-present)
In mid January 2009, Incubus posted a video to their official site, describing what each band member was currently occupied with (eg. Mike Einziger's experiences studying music at Harvard University) in the form of letters to each other. The resolution of the video was that the band was planning on getting back together soon, excited to create new music with their diverse experiences over their respite.
On March 11, 2009, Incubus posted an update to their official site detailing the new Greatest Hits album, Monuments and Melodies. The first single for the album is "Black Heart Inertia" expected on April 7, 2009 with the album coming two months later on June 16, 2009. Disc one of the album includes the new singles "Black Heart Inertia" and "Midnight Swim" as well as the top radio hits of the last decade. Then Disc 2 of the album contains songs that have not been released officially on an album, or were rejected demos on prior albums, as well as an acoustic version of "A Certain Shade of Green," and a cover of the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy." The band also announced many confirmed dates for a Summer Amphitheater Tour of the US.
On March 26, 2009, it was announced that Incubus would be a performing at the second annual Mile High Music Festival. The band is scheduled to play during the first day of the two day event, which is held at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
On April 1, 2009, the band posted a fake "making of" video for their upcoming single, "Black Heart Inertia." In the video, Brandon and his double "swapped places". Brandon fetched coffee for his double, and his double also imitated Christian Bale when the DP annoyed him, shouting at and violently chasing him out off of the set. After the short film, the first full stream of "Black Heart Inertia" was uploaded, clocking in at 4:17. On April 2, the full song was streamed on the band's official site. The song has peaked (to this date) at #7 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, making it the band's 15th Top 10 standing on the list.
On June 16, 2009, the official Monuments and Melodies Greatest hits CD was released to the public. The first CD includes singles of the previous albums and the second CD includes rarities and music never released on any albums.
On June 25, 2009, Monuments and Melodies opened at #5 on the Billboard Music Charts, this is their 4th album reaching at least #5 on the charts.
On July 1, 2009, Boyd stated to North County Times, "We are definitely going to be writing ... in hopes of putting out a record sometime in 2010. That's the hope. We can never force anything. I definitely have the suspicion that we're going to get on the road together this summer, and we're just going to start playing and stuff is going to start brewing, and we're going to light that fire again."
Style and Influences
Over the course of their career, Incubus has utilized elements from a variety of genres and styles; with many critics praising the band's ambition, it has also made them difficult to correctly classify, though most conclude that Incubus is, at its basis, an alternative rock band. The band has used many unique instruments, including a djembe, sitar, didgeridoo, and bongos on many of their earlier tracks and during live performances, and with the use of a pipa (played by Einziger) in the song "Aqueous Transmission".