Incubus brought together hard rock, metal, funk and pop melodies to great success in the first decade of the 21st century. A hit with both modern rock and mainstream audiences, Incubus conquered radio with a series of relationship songs that may have sanded down the band’s rough edges but secured a large fan following. Along the way, Incubus have had four singles reach No. 1 on the Billboard modern rock chart.
Incubus - The Early Days:
Incubus formed in the early 1990s in Calabasas, California. The principal band members all met in high school, led by frontman Brandon Boyd. The band self-released their first album, Fungus Amongus
, in 1995. At this early stage, Incubus just sounded like a tired rehash of Rage Against the Machine
and Red Hot Chili Peppers
. Still, because their funk-metal sound was popular at the time, Incubus managed to land a deal with Sony for the release of their next effort, a 1997 EP entitled Enjoy Incubus
Incubus finally made their full-length major-label debut with S.C.I.E.N.C.E., which arrived eight months after Enjoy Incubus. Featuring DJ scratching from onetime band member Gavin Koppell and funk-influenced vocals by Boyd, S.C.I.E.N.C.E. was the band’s most successful record to this point, but that still wasn’t saying much since the band still felt highly generic. S.C.I.E.N.C.E. failed to attract much of an audience and only went gold five years later when Incubus started to become popular thanks to their subsequent albums.
Going for Melody:
Incubus began to establish their identity on 1999’s Make Yourself. Powered by the hit mid-tempo ballad “Drive,” Make Yourself found Incubus writing in a more melodic vein and eschewing some of their previous funk-metal tendencies. Headbangers were disappointed, but the move to a more pop-friendly approach paid off with a growing fan base and an engaging, layered sound. Make Yourself eventually went double platinum and put Incubus on the national map.
Focusing on Relationships:
Incubus continued to build on the momentum created by Make Yourself with their next record, 2001’s Morning View. Now firmly a mainstream rock band, Incubus sang about relationships with a sensitivity often lacking in their peers. Audiences responded, sending Morning View to No. 2 on the Billboard album chart, their best chart performance to that point.
Incubus went through a major personnel change after Morning View
, as longtime bassist Dirk Lance left the group. Replaced by current bassist Ben Kenney, Incubus returned in 2004 with A Crow Left of the Murder
. Produced by Brendan O’Brien
, who had worked with Pearl Jam
and Stone Temple Pilots
, A Crow Left of the Murder
represented an attempt by Incubus toward artier, less easily accessible material. The band’s ambitions hardly scared away fans – the album quickly went platinum.
No Signs of Slowing Down:
Teaming again with O’Brien for 2006’s Light Grenades
, Incubus opted for a more streamlined approach after the art-rock of A Crow Left of the Murder
. In the process, Incubus enjoyed their first No. 1 album. If there was any question of the staying power of this band, Incubus answered those doubts when “Love Hurts” became a huge hit
on the modern rock charts two years after Light Grenades
had been released, eventually going to No. 1.
'Moments and Melodies':
'If Not Now, When?':
On July 12, 2011, Incubus returned with their first studio album in five years, If Not Now, When?
The lead single was “Adolescents.”
Brandon Boyd – vocals
Mike Einziger – guitar
Ben Kenney – bass
Chris Kilmore – turntables, keyboards
Jose Pasillas – drums
Essential Incubus Songs:
“Anna Molly” (Purchase/Download
“Love Hurts” (Purchase/Download
A Crow Left of the Murder
Monuments and Melodies
(greatest hits) (2009)
If Not Now, When?