'Incubus is a Grammy-nominated alternative rock band based out of Calabasas, California. Formed by vocalist Brandon Boyd, lead guitarist Michael Einziger, and drummer Jose Antonio Pasillas II while in high school, the band grew 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.
They are known for their eclectic sound, balancing experimental and progressive qualities with pop appeal, earning praise for their ability to change and evolve their music with every subsequent release. Their lyrics touch on a number of different subjects, from their earliest works which touch on drugs and anti-conformity to the later albums where they often sing about politics and romance, although they primarily stress an optimistic view.
Incubus has received both high 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. By 2001, Incubus became hugely successful with the single "Drive" and their follow up album Morning View. Their latest studio album, Light Grenades, has reached Gold certification and #1 in the U.S. Their music has also appeared in other media, such as the video games Halo 2 and Guitar Hero, and the films Stealth and Final Destination 2.
Vocalist Boyd, drummer Pasillas, and guitarist Einziger had been friends since middle school. At the age of fifteen, In 1993, Incubus was introduced to Jim Wirt, a local record producer. Jim agreed to record demos for the band during unbooked studio time and eventually many of these demos were compiled to create the band's first album - the independently released Fungus Amongus (initially distributed by both the band and Red Eye Records and then ultimately re-released by Epic Records). It was at this time (1993–94) that the band was introduced to Mark Shoffner, a close friend of Jim Wirt, who then became the band's first manager. In 1995, Gavin Koppell saw the band play and asked if they would be interested in using some of his tracks, which incorporated the use of turntables. Gavin joined full-time after his first rehearsal. Shortly thereafter, Incubus' unusual amalgamation of styles and high-energy shows, combined with its growing fan base, attracted labels and put the band in the enviable position of a bidding war. Incubus finally landed a record deal in the summer of 1996 with Immortal Records, a label distributed by Sony's Epic Records, whose top artists in those days were Korn and Far. Touring throughout the remainder of 1996, Incubus established themselves as a top drawing live act, gaining a dedicated following all over the United States. To start off the new year, Immortal Records released Incubus' EP entitled Enjoy Incubus on January 7, 1997. The EP featured updated and mastered versions of four tracks from Fungus Amongus, plus two recently written tracks. These were the first recordings to include the newly acquired Gavin Koppell a.k.a. 'DJ Lyfe'. After the release of Enjoy Incubus, the band completed several mini-tours in its support. Their first major tour was with Korn in Europe and their first major US tour was as support act on the Black Sabbath/Pantera tour.
True to form, Incubus was asked to play a handful of dates with 311 in support of the album. They had only expected to tour with them for 3 weeks, but things went well and 311 asked them to stay on for the remainder of the tour, totaling six weeks of arena-level shows.
In February 1998, Gavin Koppell was asked to leave the band due to personal and creative differences. Their attorney, Todd Cooper, recommended they check out Chris Kilmore of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to fill Gavin's position. Mike Einziger said that "After letting go of Gavin, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to acquire another member into the band, but then we met Chris and my opinion instantly changed." The band loved his style and attitudes on life, and asked him to join the band permanently. After a very productive first tour with the band Far, Incubus began tours with many other bands such as System of a Down, Korn and Black Sabbath, and participated in festivals such as the first Family Values Tour, Ozzfest and the Warped Tour.
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 of 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.
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)", 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.
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.
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. It combined the more experimental leanings of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and Fungus Amongus with the mainstream rock of Make Yourself and Morning View. 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.
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 follows performances of the songs at most shows throughout the fall.
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, their latest album was confirmed to be titled Light Grenades and to be produced by Brendan O'Brien. A few weeks afterwards, the release date was confirmed to be Tuesday, November 28. 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.
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 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.
Einziger stated that the band is likely to get together in late 2009 to record an album for release in 2010.
Vocalist Brandon Boyd has called avant-garde artist Mike Patton a major influence, with many of his traits appearing both within Incubus' music and within Brandon's vocals. With their earlier albums in particular the band displayed a large amount of experimental qualities, mixing traditional genres such as metal, punk, and grunge with funk, jazz, and psychedelic (and with the introduction of DJ Gavin Koppell and later Chris Kilmore, electronic) influences. The bands later albums saw them developing a cleaner, more mainstream hard rock sound, while still showing experimentation and growth, drawing in elements and influences from pop, hip hop, surf rock, post-grunge, progressive, folk, and space rock.
|Year||Title||U.S. Billboard Hot 100||U.S. Bubbling Under Hot 100||U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks||U.S. Modern Rock Tracks||U.S. Pop 100||UK||NZ||Album|
|1996||"Take Me To Your Leader"||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||Fungus Amongus|
|1997||"A Certain Shade of Green"||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||S.C.I.E.N.C.E.|
|2000||"Pardon Me"||-||2||7||3||-||61||-||Make Yourself|
|2002||"Wish You Were Here"||60||-||4||2||-||27||45||Morning View|
|"Nice to Know You"||-||5||9||9||-||-||-|
|"Are You In?"||-||-||-||-||-||34||5|
|2004||"Megalomaniac"||55||-||2||1||-||23||30||A Crow Left of the Murder...|
|"Talk Shows on Mute"||-||16||18||3||-||43||24|
|2005||"Make a Move"||-||-||19||17||-||-||-||Stealth soundtrack|
|2006||"Anna Molly"||66||-||4||1||81||109||-||Light Grenades|
|"Oil and Water"||-||-||38||8||-||-||-|