Left to right: Mike Einziger, Jose Pasillas, DJ Kilmore, Ben Kenney, Brandon BoydIncubus
are an Alternative Rock
band formed in 1991 in California. They released seven studio albums (and one Greatest Hits Album
), and have reached multi-platinum sales.
Over the course of their career, Incubus have grown to be quite the Genre Roulette
outfit - they went from Mr. Bungle-esque Funk
mixed with Jazz
and other genres, to more melodic alternative rock, at times slipping to retro, ethnic and art-rock areas. More recently, they've mellowed their sound out a bit to some less visceral modern rock.
The band currently consists of:
- Brandon Boyd - lead vocals, lyrics, also played guitar, didjeridoo, djembe and other percussion in some songs, both studio and live
- Mike Einziger - guitar, backing vocals, pipa, piano
- Ben Kenney - bass, backing vocals, drums for some live performances
- Jose Pasillas - drums, percussion
- Chris Kilmore - DJ, keyboards
- DJ Lyfe - DJ, keyboards. Fired in 1998.
- Dirk Lance - Bass. Left in 2003.
- Fungus Amongus (1995)
- S.C.I.E.N.C.E. (1997)
- Make Yourself (1999)
- Morning View (2001)
- A Crow Left of the Murder... (2004)
- Light Grenades (2006)
- Monuments and Melodies (2009)
- If Not Now, When? (2011)
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: It happens quite a lot. The best examples are in "Clean" (where Brandon repeatedly pronounces the word like "cLAYn" for some reason) and "Have You Ever" ("unabaSHED honeSTAY would be idee-HELL").
- Aerith and Bob: Most band members have gone by their common first names (Brandon, Mike, Jose, Ben), and their current DJ simply adds "DJ" before his last name (Kilmore). But former bassist Alex Katunich used the rather quirky nickname "Dirk Lance", and their former DJ Gavin Coppell used the nickname "DJ Lyfe".
- Artifact Title: The name Incubus seemed more appropriate for their heavier, wilder early music than for their considerably more restrained later sounds. Indeed, the band members have been less than thrilled with the name in recent times.
- Their only reason for picking that name? Randomly skimming a dictionary, and seeing its definition had the word "sex" in it.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Pistola" is Italian slang for "penis". The song may or may not be about that.
- It's spanish for gun too.
- Book Ends: Light Grenades has "Earth to Bella", Parts 1 and 2 (though Part 1 is in the middle of the album instead of at the beginning). Averted when they are played as a single song in concert.
- Broken Record: Quite a few of their songs feature one line repeated several times in the chorus. Perhaps the most notable example: "Wish You Were Here", where the chorus consists of "I wish you were here" repeated four times. "Nice to Know You", from the same album, also has this.
- B-Side: The second disc of the Monuments and Melodies album consists largely of these. Another one, not included on that album, is the Make Yourself B-side "Crowded Elevator" (which was included in an EP, "When Incubus Attacks Vol. 1").
- Careful With That Axe: The end of "Circles". "Round and round and round and round and ROUND!!!!!!!!"
- To a slightly lesser degree in "Anna Molly", at the very end. Brandon lets off a yelled note that's pretty appropriate for an axe attack.
- Their earlier songs had a lot of these. One of Brandon's most impressive screams can be heard on the bridge of their song "New Skin", off of "S.C.I.E.N.C.E."
- Cluster F-Bomb: The title track from "Make Yourself" ("So when I make me/I won't be papier-maché/And if I fuck me/I'll fuck me in my own way/I'LL fuck me in my own way..."). Also "Leech".
- "Clean" features no swearing in the actual lyrics, but the guy seems to be telling his girl that he'd rather have the Cluster F-Bomb unleashed upon him than get the silent treatment.
- Cover Version: The only cover that the band has recorded in the studio is Prince's "Let's Go Crazy". But the band has done many live covers of artists ranging from Soundgarden to Massive Attack to TLC.
- Darker and Edgier: A Crow Left of the Murder was a turn in this direction compared to its predecessor Morning View, and while it wasn't as musically heavy as their earlier album S.C.I.E.N.C.E., it did feature some of the band's most pointed social commentary; "Megalomaniac" being a prominent example.
- The End of the World as We Know It: "Warning". While the song itself doesn't really overtly refer to this trope, the video plays with it: it takes place in 2012, in three days; each day a mysterious girl weirdly obsessed with a number (10:24) screams at the top of her lungs in different crowded places. On the third day, when the digits on her watch reach that number, the Earth is still there, but all the humans have disappeared.
- Also alluded to in "A Certain Shade of Green" with the lyric "Are you gonna stand around 'til 2012 AD?"
- Epic Rocking: Most of the band's songs are radio-single length, but every now and then they get a little exploratory:
- "Sick Sad Little World" from A Crow Left of the Murder.
- The band worked on a 20-minute epic called "Odyssey" during the sessions for that album, but it didn't make the cut. It's split into 4 parts on the Halo 2 soundtrack. And it's very epic.
- On the softer end of the spectrum, there's "Aqueous Transmission" (if the soothing Japanese guitar riff, light violins and flute melodies count as epic rocking) and "In the Company of Wolves".
- Fungus Humongous: Rather, one of their albums uses the word-play.
- Genre-Busting: A pretty good description of S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
- Genre Roulette: A staple of their career post-Make Yourself, but special mention goes to Light Grenades, which Brandon Boyd described as sounding like "13 different bands playing 13 different songs".
- Greatest Hits Album: Monuments and Melodies.
- Hidden Track: S.C.I.E.N.C.E. has a rather ridiculous one after "Calgone".
- Intercourse with You: At least once per album. "Stellar" ("I need you to see this place/It might be the only way/That I can show you how/It feels to be inside of you") and "Anti-Gravity Love Song" are this trope... In Space!
- Last Note Nightmare: "The Odyssey" ends abruptly with some electronic static-like noise, creating a comparable effect to what you'd find on corrupted MP3 files from file sharing services.
- Inverted with "Megalomaniac". It's a First Note Nightmare: the song starts off with crackling and wobbling noises, before the intro riff kicks in. It lasts exactly 30 seconds.
- Lighter and Softer: Morning View still features some heavy tracks, but the lyrics are PG-rated and there are several more ballads, including the fully acoustic "Mexico" and the exotic Eastern lullaby "Aqueous Transmission".
- Their later stuff (e.g. Morning View, Make Yourself) are more alternative rock-ish than the heavily Faith No More-influenced earlier, Funk Metal works (Fungus Amongus, S.C.I.E.N.C.E.).
- If Not Now, When? makes Morning View sound downright heavy by comparison.
- Love Hurts: The song of the same name, maybe.
- Meaningful Name: The Incubus was an ancient Roman demon who gave people nightmares by...having intercourse with them while they slept. The band chose the name on a dictionary and liked it because of the vaguely sexual connotation. It's also similar to the Italian word for nightmare, "incubo", of the same origin.
- Metal Scream: Evident in songs like "Make Yourself", "Out From Under", "Light Grenades", and much of the S.C.I.E.N.C.E. album.
- Miniscule Rocking: The titular track of "Light Grenades" lasts only 2:20.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: They are almost all over the scale, from a 3 ("Drive", "Wish You Were Here" and the entire album "If Not Now, When?"), all the way to a 7 ("Megalomaniac", "Light Grenades")
- Mood Whiplash: On Morning View, "Echo" is a softer song that ends with a long fadeout consisting of mellow ambient noise... leading right into the loud opening chords of "Have You Ever?".
- "Drive" comes right after the defiant and up-tempo "Make Yourself", making the minor-key acoustic guitars sound all the more jarring.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Incubus fuses a lot of diverse genres.
- New Sound Album: "A Crow Left of the Murder" had a new bass player and guitarist Mike Einziger replacing his high-end guitar rig with old-school vintage gear.
- Actually, this can apply to all of their albums to a certain degree. Make Yourself and their latest album If Not Now, When? also brought about significant changes in their sound.
- Non-Appearing Title: Not a common occurrence, but some examples include "Calgone", "Aqueous Transmission", "Agoraphobia", and "Talk Shows on Mute". (Although these titles all relate to the song's lyrical content.)
- Non Indicative Name: With a name like Incubus, you'd probably expect them to be a death metal band. That's totally not the case.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is a pretty Genre-Busting album as it is, but its sixth track, "Magic Medicine", is a drum and bass track completely unlike anything else on the album.
- Protest Song: "Megalomaniac" is a huge flip-off addressed to dictators.
- The Problem with Pen Island: Intentionally, though subtly, invoked in the chorus of "Pistola".
- Porn Names: Dirk Lance. Seriously.
- Punny Name: "Anna-Molly" and possibly "A Crow Left of the Murder".
- Refrain from Assuming: "Drive", not "Whatever Tomorrow Brings".
- Room Full of Crazy
- Scare Chord: "Out From Under" could classify since it begins with the quiet sound of drumsticks and then explodes with a loud screeching sound, accompanied by equally loud guitars with no warning.
- Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Brandon Boyd's enunciation isn't usually the best (see Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable above), but "Make A Move" is probably the biggest offender, since the chorus, the bridge and few random words are the only clear parts.
- Spontaneous Human Combustion: The subject of "Pardon Me". Actually, part of it is him actually wanting it to happen, rather than put up with the rest of his life.
"A decade ago, I was having a look in a book, and I saw a picture of a guy fried up above his knee
I said, 'I can relate,' cause lately I've been thinking of combustication as a welcome vacation from
The burdens of the planet Earth, like gravity, hypocrisy, and the perils of being in 3D,
But thinking so much differently..."
- Take That: The band has implied that "Megalomaniac" is at least partly about Scott Stapp from Creed.
- Thoughtcrime: Alluded to in "When It Comes" and "Talk Shows on Mute". Not letting others tell you what to think is a favorite topic for the band in general, especially on Make Yourself.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Pendulous Threads", from E minor to F minor for the last chorus.
- Uncommon Time: "Make Yourself", "Nice to Know You" (both this song and "Make Yourself" have alternating measures of 7/4 and 4/4), "Mexico", "Priceless", "Quicksand", "Paper Shoes", "Follow".
- Unusual Euphemism: From "Here in My Room": "Pink tractor beam into your incision."
- Verbal Tic: Brandon Boyd is fond of these, but "Zee Deveel" is particularly notable.
- Viewers Are Morons: Discussed in "Idiot Box", "Talk Shows on Mute", and possibly "Made-for-TV Movie".
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Brandon in the videos for "Take Me To Your Leader", "Drive" and "Wish You Were Here", and several times during concerts.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Much of their earlier output, especially "Take Me To Your Leader".