Jose Pasillas and Mike Einziger formed Incubus in 1990 while they were still in eighth grade in Calabasas, CA. Bassist Alex Katunich joined up when they were all in high school together and he had just been kicked out of jazz band and the three began playing Metallica and Megadeath covers, making them the perfect local party band. In 1995, with help from Mark Shoffner, who later became the band's manager, they recorded a self-titled demo tape and later that year released their first album, Fungus Amongus. While touring to promote their album, DJ Lyfe joined the band, adding hip hop tracks to the bands already metal sound. This evolved style helped group's fan-base exponentially, including international tours with Korn and The Urge, which, in turn, sparked the interest of major labels, leading to their 1997's S.C.I.E.N.C.E. released by Sony. While the album was successful, including a world-wide tour with 311, the band asked DJ Lyfe to leave in 1998 to allow themselves more musical freedom, later replacing him with Chris Kilmore. After relentlessly touring in 1998, including dates on the Warped Tour, Ozzfest, and the Family Values Tour, the band released their next album, Make Yourself, in 1999, including the single "Pardon Me," which went platinum a year after its release. 2001's Morning View followed, spawning the hits "Wish You Were Here," "Warning," and "Nice To Know You." With the departure of Katunich in 2001, the band forged on with former Roots guitarist Ben Kenney, but were stalled with lawsuits against Sony due to poor compensation for their three successful albums. The group's departure from their standard sound with 2004's experimental A Crow Left of the Murder, was overshadowed by the controversy over the video for their song "Megalomaniac," which appeared to be an attack on the Bush administration. Their new album, Light Grenades, is expected in late fall 2006.
With an eclectic combination of metal, rock, jazz, funk, blues mixed with underplayed hip-hop beats, Incubus creates an intriguing, heavy but fun sound that you cannot help but rock out to. Even with their unconventional influences, the ways in which the band uses their own instruments are unique, such as the guitars on S.C.I.E.N.C.E., which scream of psychedelic effects to a more forthright, Primus-esque bass line, while the vocals range from spacey and jazzy to pop-tastic. After 14 years playing together, the band certainly has learned to experiment, as shown by their latest fare in A Crow Left of the Murder, which leans more to the jazz-metal side of things than anything they've done before, giving us a range of schizophrenic tracks that blend Einziger's off-beat guitar riffs fused with hip-hop scratching in a way that no band other than Incubus could ever dream of.