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Members include Brandon Boyd, "circa=y" c. 1976, vocals;Michael Einziger, c. 1976, guitar; Alex Katunich, (DJKillmore), c. 1976, bass, turntable; DJ Lyfe, c.1976,bass, turntable, (joined band in 1995); and Jose Pasillas, c.1976, drums; all raised in Calabasas, CA. Addresses: Record company-Immortal/Epic Records, 2100 Colorado Avenue, SantaMonica, CA 90404;> (310) 449-2870 Fax: fax (310) 449-2559.
Funk, thrash-rock, and hip-hop band Incubus combine elements of various music styles toforge their own unique musical identity. Incubus mixes speed rock with funk and hip-hop, metalmusic with rap, jazz with thrash-rock, and 1970s-sounding riffs with chanting and funk music.The band is comprised of vocalist Brandon Boyd, guitarist Michael Einziger, bassist AlexKatunich (DJ Killmore), and drummer Jose Pasillas. Band Members purposely avoid musicalcategorization, preferring instead to play a combination of whichever musical styles inspire them.Mike Savoia of the Rocket described Incubus as, "a '90s melting pot of the Red Hot ChiliPeppers, Sugar Ray, War, Faith No More, Devo, Average White Band and the kitchen sink."Pete Prown of Guitar Shop wrote, "Picture a funkier, more street-savvy Alice in Chains, andyou'll be on the right Incubus track. This ain't your father's heavy metal."
Vocalist/percussionist Brandon Boyd and drummer Jose Pasillas went to elementary schooltogether in Calabasas, California, a semi-rural bedroom community north of Los Angeles. Inmiddle school, they met guitarist Mike Einziger and in high school the three became friends withbassist Alex Katunich, who was playing in a jazz band at the time. They formed Incubus in 1991when they were all fifteen.
As teens, the four members of Incubus loved a variety of music. They listened to and wereinfluenced by Iron Maiden, Ella Fitzgerald, Slayer, Santana, Steve Vai, Primus, and RageAgainst the Machine. The band played for parties for a year and, by 1992, they began playing atall-ages clubs in the San Fernando Valley and at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip. One day Einzigerfound a hundred-dollar bill on the ground. "That's when you had to buy tickets and sell them inorder to play the Strip," Einziger is quoted in and Epic press release. The day he found themoney, he went to the Roxy, bought tickets, booked a show, and the result was an expandedaudience for Incubus.
DJ Lyfe joined the band in 1995 and was later replaced by DJ Killmore. Band membersprefer to use the turntable as an instrument with its own distinct sound as opposed to the sound ofsomeone scratching a snare drum. In 1995, the band released the EP Fungus Among Us on RedEye Records with Jim Wirt as producer. Only 1,000 copies were released and the EP has beenunavailable since. The band's high-energy live performances, growing fan base, and flexibleamalgamation of musical styles sparked a bidding war between labels. Immortal/Epic Recordssigned the band, and Incubus released the EP Enjoy Incubus in early 1997. The EP contained sixremixed songs that were previously recorded as demos, and the band toured with Korn, the Urge,311, and Sugar Ray to support the release of their EP and their debut album S.C.I.E.N.C.E., aswell. Incubus was also featured on the soundtrack for the film Spawn in 1997.
Debut Album Praised
S.C.I.E.N.C.E., the band's 1997 debut release, featured an underlying positive theme throughstories of space, relationships, and socio-political issues. The lyrics were penned by Boyd and hisviews were most strident in "My Favorite Things" is a song about the constricting influence oforganized religion, "New Skin" addresses the benefit of creation through chaos, and "Redefine"is about the importance of taking control of your life. Sliver Magazine's Z.A. wrote ofS.C.I.E.N.C.E., "In my opinion, this is up for album of the year. Just flat out amazing.Combining brutal, funkesque slap bass, slick drums with a slight jazz influence and thick, hard-hitting guitars, Incubus are playing a sound pioneered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but arebeating the innovators at their own game.... Overall, this album is one of the best of 1997."
Savoia wrote, "S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is high-energy ... with phat beats and grooves ... psycho poprock ... smooth low-rider sounds ... and jazzing soulful rock overtones ... they boldy go wheremany rock bands have feared to tread in rock music. Don't let a friend borrow this CD, Iguarantee you won't see it again for a long time!" Prown mused, "Bands like Run D.M.C. andSan Francisco's Mordred pioneered the coming together of hip-hop and metal, and today thatlegacy can be heard in Incubus.... Clearly, there's no shortage of fine musicianship in thisquintet."
Incubus is part of a new generation of bands that are creating alloys with a diverse spectrumof influences; bands such as Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Sevendust, Coal Chamber, and System of ADown also reflect far-reaching influences and a trend toward "melting pot" music that fuses rap,rock, jazz, hip-hop, funk, metal, and ska. Boyd told Alternative Press' J.P., "I think that the vastmajority of youth today are into a lot of different things-and not just metal, or just rap. Thereare certain scenes, but I think that this generation is more eclectic." Most musicians usually haveone style in mind when they start a band, but Boyd told Alternative Press that he and hisbandmates got together to play "any" music.
Work in Progress
The band's live performances have warranted media attention, primarily because of theirhigh energy levels, teeming mosh pits, and exuberant, head-banging fans. Boyd's vocal style is a combination of singing, screaming, and even screeching-which seems appropriate for a bandwith such diverse influences as Ella Fitzgerald and Iron Maiden. Sliver Magazine's Z.A. wrote,"If you get a chance, catch their live show, as you will not regret it." Jennifer Clay of Guitar ForThe Practicing Musician summed up the Incubus performing style when writing, "Whatseparates this SoCal-based group apart from the others is the charismatic stage presence ofvocalist Boyd and the quirky guitar bites Einziger creates. In fact, some of the freaky noises the guitarist makes-like the bird chirps in 'My Favorite Things'-ring like they'recoming from a disc.... While not traditional guitar rock with traditional guitar solos, Einziger stillgets his metal 'solo' in on 'Shaft,' his rock moves on in 'Hiliku,' and his jazz noodle on in 'DeepInside.'"
Boyd told J.P. of Alternative Press, "Incubus will always be a work in progress because weare constantly evolving, and we're not really conscious of direction." He then added, "I thinkbecause we've never had just one sound, our audience respects us. We're out to take them on alittle adventure that's just ours."
by B. Kimberly Taylor
Band was formed in 1991 when they were all fifteen; began playing at all-ages clubs inthe San Fernando Valley and at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip; released the EP Fungus Among Uson Red Eye Records, 1995; released the EP Enjoy Incubus, on Immortal/Epic Records, 1997;toured with Korn, the Urge, 311, and Sugar Ray; featured on the soundtrack for the film Spawn,1997; released S.C.I.E.N.C.E., on Immortal/Epic Records, 1997.
- Selected discography
- Fungus Among Us , Red Eye Records, 1995.
- Enjoy Incubus , Immortal/Epic, 1997.
- S.C.I.E.N.C.E. , Immortal/Epic, 1997.
- Alternative Press Magazine, , July 1998.
- Billboard , December 6, 1997.
- Guitar For The Practicing Musician , June 1998.
- Guitar Shop , May 1998.
- The Rocket , November 5, 1997.
- Sliver Magazine , Winter 1998.
- Additional source material was provided by the public relations department at Epic/ImmortalRecords.
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